Denver Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one is always a difficult situation to experience. When your loved one dies as the result of negligence at the hands of another, it can be overwhelming. Speaking with a wrongful death lawyer can help ease some of the stress and help you focus on your family. The wrongful death lawyers at Bachus & Schanker are here to help you understand your rights and options when dealing with a wrongful death case. We can answer all of your questions and help move you forward on the road to healing.
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Common wrongful death causes in Denver
Bachus & Schanker always puts the client first and works diligently to ensure all deserved compensation is granted, regardless of the nature of your wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims can occur in a number of situations that can include but are not limited to:
- When an individual is intentionally killed or other criminal acts
- Cases involving medical malpractice
- Car accidents resulting in fatalities as a result of negligence
- Defective products, which can include medications and medical devices
- Work-related and construction accidents
- Watercraft accidents
- Premises liability cases such as slip and fall and aircraft accidents
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death is a civil claim brought against an individual or entity that caused the death of another, due to some form of negligence or as the result of some intentional action. Statutes in wrongful death cases allow for surviving relatives of the decedent to receive damages.
An experienced wrongful death attorney will fight to guarantee that you receive proper and fair compensation based on the facts of your case. Damages of a wrongful death case can consist of financial compensation as well as punitive damages or the punishment of the defendant. Given the severity of a wrongful death claim, it’s only fair for the plaintiffs to be compensated as much as the legal system may allow.
As with any lawsuit, it’s important to understand the elements necessary to establish your case. These elements consist of the various facts that the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate in order to prove their lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, there are four elements that must be established by the plaintiff.
The four elements necessary for a wrongful death claim include:
- Negligence – A failure to act with ordinary, reasonable care. Intentional conduct to purposefully harm another person can satisfy this element in place of negligence.
- Death of another person – Wrongful death cases are the action that applies because of another person’s death
- Causation – The death must be the result of the negligent act
- Damages – The victim’s family must suffer substantial loss because of their family member’s death
If you are capable of proving these four elements, it’s likely that your wrongful death claim will be successful. However, it’s important to understand that, in addition to providing evidence for each of the four elements, you must also be prepared to respond to any defenses or particular issues that may come about within each element.
Wrongful death liability
In order to prove the defendant’s liability for the wrongful death, you must be able to provide ample evidence for each of the above elements. By proving the defendant’s negligence, you’ll be able to satisfy one of the key elements required for a wrongful death claim. Once you have established negligence, you need to be able to show that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of death and/or damages you have suffered. If proven guilty, the defendant will be liable to compensate the plaintiff for any damages set forth in the settlement and, in some situations, may also be subject to criminal sentences.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit is typically brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This may usually include any immediate family members, the surviving spouse, or the decedent’s children.
Though similar to a wrongful death lawsuit, a “survival action” case comes about when a deceased person’s estate looks to receive compensation for pain and other harm that may have been experienced by the decedent prior to their death as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
What damages can I recover?
Since a wrongful death lawsuit can be overwhelming and there are so many things to take into consideration, it may be difficult and confusing to keep track of all the possible damages you may be eligible to recover. Below are the most common types of damages that a plaintiff may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.
While some wrongful death cases may result from the instant death of the victim, others may result from injuries that put the victim in the hospital and ultimately lead to their death. In the latter situation, a plaintiff may be compensated for any medical bills that were incurred as a result of the accident prior to the deceased’s death.
While death is a horrible and difficult thing for any family to endure, there are many unexpected financial costs that are often forgotten about and create even more stress for the grieving families. Final expenses, such as funeral and burial costs can be compensated for in the final settlement value of the wrongful death lawsuit.
Loss of wages for as long as decedent would have lived
In many situations, the decedent’s death can harm their surviving family members in a financial aspect. Whether or not the family depended on the income of the decedent, that loss of income that they had anticipated for the remainder of the decedent’s life can be a significant issue to overcome. By compensating the decedent’s lost wages for the remainder of their life, their family will not have to deal with the financial burden of losing their loved one’s financial contributions.
Loss of companionship
Loss of companionship, also known as loss of consortium, is the compensation that a plaintiff can receive when they have been deprived of the deceased person’s love, support, and companionship. This type of damage is often allocated for in wrongful death claims in an effort to make up for the loss that the decedent’s family has experienced.
It’s no secret that losing a loved one can be an emotionally difficult and traumatizing experience. One of the damages allocated for in a wrongful death lawsuit includes the emotional distress that the plaintiff has incurred as a result of the decedent’s untimely death. The pain and suffering that the decedent’s surviving relatives are forced to experience as a result of their death is unfathomable, and calculating this type of damage into the settlement amount may at least ease some of the emotional trauma that has been done.
Whether the deceased is survived by children, a spouse, their parents, or other close relatives, the emotional trauma will be present nonetheless. By retaining an experienced wrongful death attorney, you’ll be able to ensure that you are properly compensated for in this incredibly difficult aspect of your wrongful death lawsuit.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages in Colorado, are an additional type of damages that a plaintiff may seek in a personal injury case. Rather than compensating the victim for any kind of loss, these types of damages are designed to punish the defendant for engaging in extremely dangerous conduct that causes harm, similar to the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
There are two purposes for punitive damages. The first reason is to punish the defendant for extremely reckless conduct, and the second is to serve as a deterrence to others to keep them from engaging in similar conduct.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Denver?
According to the Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-201 regarding damages for death by negligence, the spouse of the decedent may file their wrongful death lawsuit within the first year of the decedent’s death. The children of the decedent then may also file in the second year after such death.
Statute of limitations
Regardless of what type of case you are looking to file, you must be mindful of the statute of limitations. Every type of lawsuit has its own statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to ensure that cases are filed in a timely manner while evidence can be easily gathered and while events are fresh in the minds of those involved.
The statute of limitations may vary based on lawsuit and state, so it’s important to be aware of what your state’s laws say about when you may file a wrongful death claim.
How long does a wrongful death case take?
Similar to other lawsuits, it’s difficult to determine exactly how long your wrongful death lawsuit may take. This is because there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration and no two wrongful death cases are the same.
Discovery — the period where evidence is gathered — may take longer than expected, or there may be communication issues with the opposing counsel that delays your depositions. It’s safe to anticipate your case may take anywhere between one and four years.
Denver wrongful death settlements
Given the nature of wrongful death lawsuits, it’s difficult to determine an average amount for a wrongful death lawsuit settlement. Each settlement value is different and is unique to the elements of that particular case.
Some cases may only be compensated for a few thousand dollars, whereas other cases may reach a multi-million dollar settlement. It’s important to discuss the elements of your particular case with your wrongful death attorney to get an idea of what compensation you may be entitled to in your settlement.
Our wrongful death lawyers are here for you
If you have a wrongful death claim, the Colorado personal injury attorneys at Bachus & Schanker are eager to help you understand the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit and gather the evidence to prove your claim. Having an experienced personal injury attorney guide you through this difficult experience can make a world of a difference, both emotionally and financially. Contact the legal team at Bachus & Schanker today for a free no-obligation evaluation of your case.
Bieber, C. (2023). Wrongful Death Lawsuit Guide 2023.
Goguen, D. (2023). How Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Settlements Work.
Goguen, D. (2023). Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Settlements: An Overview.
Goguen, D. (2023). Wrongful Death Lawsuit Damages.
Tikriti, A. (2023). Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Related Wrongful Death Resources
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