Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else, you know nothing can bring them back. But you might be wondering, “What now?” In a time like this, that question has many answers. If you are considering legal action, we are here to explain and clarify your options.
Our wrongful death attorneys in Denver, Colorado can help you and your family in the event a loved one passes away from an accident. By bringing a claim, you can secure your family’s financial future and seek justice on behalf of your loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit can help bring closure for your grieving family as well as the financial relief that you need and deserve.
Bachus & Schanker Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here to Help
The Colorado wrongful death attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, know from personal experience that losing a loved one in an accident is devastating. That’s why our professional and compassionate attorneys are here to stand by your side and pursue your wrongful death claim. When you need help from the legal system, our wrongful death lawyers have the training and experience to work through the legal process on your behalf.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Helpful Wrongful Death Legal Terms:
- Civil case/claim: One person claims they have been wrongly harmed by another person or business. Unlike a criminal charge where the government alleges a person has committed an act harmful to society as a whole.
- Plaintiff: The person that claims to have been harmed by the actions of the Defendant who must respond to the claim.
- Negligence: A failure to act reasonably under the existing circumstances to reasonably protect the safety and wellbeing of those around you. This standard is called reasonable care.
- Damages: Injuries, harms and losses resulting from the act of another. Common examples are economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages like pain, suffering, grief, loss of guidance and support, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
What Are Examples of Wrongful Death Cases – Do I Have a Case?
You have a wrongful death case if your spouse, parent or child passes away as a victim of negligence. The legal standard is how the accident occurs. If a person or company contributes to the accident through their negligent conduct, they may have legal liability. The standard is whether the person or company is not as careful as a reasonable person should have been in the same situation.
Negligence, damages, and causation are the three major questions that judges and juries will decide in a wrongful death case. Some examples of wrongful death cases include deaths that resulted from:
- Car accidents
- Work accidents/On-the-job accidents
- Trucking crashes
- Motorcycle crashes
- Birth injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and falls
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites/Animal attacks
- Intentional harm to someone else
- Reckless driving/Drunk driving
Any kind of accident resulting in death may give the surviving family the legal grounds for a wrongful death claim. The standard that must be present is a failure to act with due care and caution on the part of the responsible party. Our Colorado wrongful death attorneys can help you determine what the law has to say about your case and what you might stand to receive in compensation.
What Can I Receive in a Wrongful Death Case?
This is perhaps the most technical question. Before we begin, it is helpful to remember that a wrongful death claim is a civil claim so the only damages you will receive is monetary compensation. This claim will not put anybody in jail.
That being said, there are two types of damages you can seek, compensatory damages and punitive damages. As the name may suggest, compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for any financial losses or emotional anguish you might suffer. Punitive damages (sometimes called exemplary damages), however, are intended to punish the person who inflicted that loss. Punitive damages may only be sought in the most egregious of cases: if the person who caused your loved one’s death acted recklessly or intentionally.
The purpose of a wrongful death case is twofold. First, it allows the surviving family to pursue justice on behalf of their loved one. A fair settlement for the victim and their grieving family. Second, a wrongful death case allows the surviving family to get the compensation that they may need. The family often relies on the victim to bring income and personal help to the family. The settlement payment you receive from your legal case can help to secure your family’s future. There are several types of compensation available in a wrongful death claim, including:
- Lost income – Your loved one may have earned an income that your family relied on to live. The amount that the victim could have earned to support minor children or a spouse is a large part of any claim.
- Help and guidance – Without your loved one contributing to the family, you may have unexpected expenses. Children may now need child care. It may become necessary to hire home maintenance or housekeeping services that used to be done by your loved one. These expenses can be a part of the claim.
- Funeral expenses – The legal claim can include financial compensation for the deceased person’s funeral expenses.
- Medical expenses – When a person is in an accident, they almost certainly have medical expenses. A legal claim can include compensation for medical bills.
- Companionship and guidance – Losing a loved one in an accident is a traumatic event. Whether your loved one is a parent, child or spouse, they are no longer there to provide help, companionship, parenting to a child, assistance to a parent or support as a spouse. The personal loss that you have is a part of your legal claim.
Our Colorado wrongful death attorneys know that a wrongful death claim must be comprehensive. The other party, or their insurance company, may try to resolve the case quickly for a low amount. However, our attorneys know that wrongful death laws are complex. We want you to take all the relevant factors into account to get full compensation. Let our attorneys take a detailed approach and go the extra mile to ensure that your case is resolved in the best way possible.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado and When Can They File It?
In Colorado, the laws surrounding who can file a wrongful death claim can appear quite complicated because whether and when you can file a claim depends on your relationship to the deceased. However, there are some broad and easy rules to understand. First, no claim can be filed later than two years past the date of your loved one’s death. Second, only one claim can be filed per deceased person. This means if there are multiple interested parties, say a spouse and multiple children who are eligible under the law to bring a wrongful death claim, then one or more of these eligible parties can bring the formal claim. Under Colorado law, it only takes one eligible party to bring the claim. Others with eligibility can choose to formally join the wrongful death claim or not.
Regardless of whether others with eligibility choose to formally join, the person or persons who actually do bring the formal wrongful death claim are required to recover damages for ALL of those who were eligible – even for those who decided not to formally participate. Again, this is because under Colorado law there can never be more than one wrongful death claim and as a result, the damages suffered by ALL eligible family members must be recovered in that one claim. And when any money is recovered on the wrongful death claim, Colorado law requires that the money be split or shared among only the eligible family members who had a right to bring or participate in the wrongful death claim.
Colorado law is very particular about how the money is split, but this split will depend upon which family members are eligible to bring the claim, how many total eligible family members there are and upon whether the person who died has a surviving spouse. For more detailed information regarding which family members are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim under Colorado law, follow the flowchart below.
The information on this chart is no substitute for legal advice. Sometimes, the time periods in which you can file a claim are different depending on who caused the death of your loved one. No matter your relationship with your loved one, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure there are no special circumstances in your case.
What Are Other Options Besides a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you are not one of the family members with the right to file a wrongful death claim, you may still be able to file a survival action. A survival action is different than a wrongful death claim because it is filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate rather than by an individual. Like a wrongful death case, it requires the same three elements we discussed earlier: negligence, damages and causation. However, the only damages that can be recovered are financial damages incurred by the deceased between the time of the accident and death.
Common examples include medical bills, lost wages, personal property damage and funeral expenses. Notice there is no recovery available for pain and suffering or loss of consortium in a survival action. Also important is that these damages are recovered by the estate, not any individuals. However, if you are a beneficiary of the estate, you may ultimately receive a portion of these damages.
Why Choose Bachus & Schanker As Your Lawyers?
The lawyers at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, are here to represent you with kindness and compassion. Our leaders, Kyle Bachus and Darin Schanker, have carefully built their team of qualified professionals. They are here to serve you with skilled and compassionate legal services.
In the end, all the factors of a wrongful death case we have discussed vary widely depending on each case’s unique facts. Sometimes, however, even the facts can be muddled, confusing, overwhelming, and perhaps even hidden from you by the individual or corporation that caused your loved one’s death. Seeking legal advice can help you clarify the facts of your case, understand your options, and discern the procedure for each option. With all the information you need, we hope you will feel empowered to make the decision on how to proceed, feel confident in that decision, and know that we have your back.
Colorado Wrongful Death Attorneys – Free Consultation
Call our Denver, Colorado wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation of your case. There’s no obligation, and you have attorney-client privilege from your consultation to the end of your case. Let us help you understand the value of your case and what’s involved in claiming compensation. See how we can represent you with no upfront fees and no cost unless you win. That’s our dedication to you. Call us today to connect immediately with our legal team.
Free Case Consultation
No risk and no cost to you or your family
Free Case Consultation
No upfront fees, no risk, and no cost to you or your family