If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident or due to a wrongful act, seeking justice through a Colorado wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated. Only specific individuals are allowed to file these actions, you have a small window to act, and proving who is liable for your family member’s death can be challenging. If you are pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is recommended that you hire an attorney with specific experience handling these types of cases in Colorado.
The Denver wrongful death lawyers at the Larson Larimer Schneider have more than 20 years of experience helping grieving families seek answers and justice. Call us or reach out to us online now for a free consultation to discuss your rights and legal options.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, wrongful death is defined as any death by another person or entity’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. A wrongful death action will be handled in a civil court, not a criminal court. A wrongful death lawsuit cannot send someone to prison for their actions. Instead, these lawsuits aim to compensate the deceased’s family members for their suffering, as well as their financial losses related to the loss of an immediate family member.
An all-too-familiar example of wrongful death is when someone dies in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. If the driver who caused the accident was speeding, impaired by drugs or alcohol, distracted, ran a red light, or failed to follow the rules of the road in some other way, that driver would likely be found negligent. In this example, the deceased’s family might have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado?
Colorado’s wrongful death statute gives the deceased’s surviving spouse priority to file a lawsuit. For the first year after the deceased’s death, they are the only party who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Once one year has passed, any of the deceased’s surviving children can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children, their parents can file a wrongful death claim. Finally, the deceased’s designated beneficiary may bring a wrongful death suit if the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
These are the only parties eligible to file a wrongful death claim under Colorado law. Extended family members and friends are unable to file this type of claim. If the deceased did not die immediately from their injuries, the representative of their estate might be able to file a survival action on behalf of the deceased’s estate.