Colorado Springs CO Wrongful Death Lawyer
The loss of a loved one is a tragic event. It’s made more tragic when it’s caused by the negligence of another. You don’t, however, have to lament the loss without seeking justice. In cases where negligence is a factor, the other party may be liable for damages. A Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney at Brylak Law can help you seek justice for a family member who would still be alive had it not been for the negligence of another party.
We Can Help You Get Justice for Your Family
Brylak Law has successfully litigated several cases in which a negligent party caused a wrongful death. If you and your family demand justice for your loved one, call us today to begin preparing your case.
If your loved one suffered a death because of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, then you may have a valid wrongful death claim. When another person or entity takes wrongful actions that result in a death, then they may be legally liable for losses as a result. They would have to make amends in a financial manner.
A wrongful death claim is a civil case that is taken to civil court. This is different than a criminal case that is prosecuted by the government. Even if there is a criminal case associated with your loved one’s death, you would have to file a separate civil wrongful death claim to obtain compensation. The outcome of a civil case and criminal case may be different. In a criminal case, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. In a civil case, you only have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is at fault. Your Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can help you determine if a civil lawsuit is right in your wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Colorado, if you are your deceased loved one’s spouse, then you can file a lawsuit immediately after they pass. If you are child, parent, or another relative you must wait for one year before you can file a lawsuit.
A representative of the deceased’s estate may file a claim that is related to damages to the estate. The representative of the deceased’s estate may be someone the deceased person named in a will or that the court assigned after death. In most cases, the estate representative will be named soon after death. However, if there is a challenge or other issue, this can be delayed. The court will make a final determination about who will serve as the representative of your loved one’s estate.
The Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorneys at Brylak Law can help you through the process of litigation and ensure that your loved one’s case is made before the jury and the court.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Many incidents can result in wrongful deaths. The one common characteristic of wrongful deaths is that a person or entity conducted wrongful actions that resulted in a death. Common examples of situations that result in wrongful deaths include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Defective Products
- Work-Related Accidents
- Dangerous Premises
- Medical Mistakes
- Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
- Criminal Activities
When you make a wrongful death claim, you will have to determine exactly what caused your loved one’s death. A Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can help you investigate the situation and determine what happened to your relative.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
What damages you can collect will depend on your relationship to the deceased. Generally, however, surviving family members can collect damages on the following:
- Wages that the deceased would have likely earned had they remained alive
- Loss of love, companionship, affection, assistance, society, and consortium
- Medical expenses and pain and suffering of the deceased
In the event that the defendant has acted with a callous disregard for the rights and safety of your loved one, family members may be able to collect punitive damages.
An experienced Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can help ensure that the court holds defendant liable for the maximum amount allowed by law.
Wrongful Death Survival Actions
You may also be able to obtain compensation on behalf of your loved one for losses they incurred prior to death. This would take place through a survival action, which is described in CO Rev Stat 13-20-101. Through a survival action, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses your loved one incurred
- Lost wages
- Other expenses your loved one incurred
You can only recover compensation for actual money lost. You cannot recover compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering, future wages, or disfigurement. A Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can guide you through the process of filing a survival action on behalf of your loved one.
You may be able to file a wrongful death claim and a survival action at the same time. In some cases, those court cases will be combined into one claim. However, if the plaintiffs are different or if there are other circumstances, they may be allowed to continue separately through the court system.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim in a Lawsuit
Wrongful death cases are a branch of personal injury law. In the vast majority of personal injury cases, the question of negligence determines whether or not a defendant can be held liable. In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney must show the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- Injury or death resulted as a consequence of that breach
Each case is different, and different cases may have different standards for proof. For instance, in a product liability case, there may be no need to show negligence at all. The plaintiff need only prove that the injury was caused by a defective product.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff would need to show that the doctor failed a basic standard of care as established by other doctors. If that failure results in either an injury or death, then you’ve proven the grounds for medical negligence.
Very often, inebriated driving results in a preventable death. When that happens, negligence is very easy to establish because the driver knew that they were putting others at risk when they decided to drive drunk.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases in Colorado
Like other legal claims, wrongful deaths have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a time limit within which you must file a lawsuit in order to have a valid case. If you do not file your case within that time period, then you may forfeit your right to compensation.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations on wrongful death cases is two years. That means that you must file a lawsuit within two years of the death of your loved one. Otherwise, your case could be thrown out of court. Insurance companies may deny your claim based on the timeline as well.
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations; however, they are not common. If the defendant acted in a fraudulent manner and hid their wrongful actions, then you may get an extension on the statute of limitations. For example, if a doctor caused the death of your loved one, but then covered up their mistakes, then the time limit may be extended until the date that you discover the doctor’s wrongful actions. A Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can help you understand the statute of limitations in your case.
Wrongful Death Claims Process
All court cases can be complex; however, a wrongful death is particularly difficult because the person who was wronged is not there to speak up. If your loved one passes away due to someone else’s wrongful actions, then a Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney can help you through the wrongful death process. That will likely include the following:
- Conducting an investigation to collect evidence about the incident that resulted in the death of your loved one;
- Discussing your case with experts;
- Determining a value for your case;
- Assessing whether the defendant would be able to compensate you;
- Making a demand to the insurance company;
- Evaluating initial offers from the insurance company;
- Filing court documents related to your case;
- Making legal arguments related to your claims;
- Negotiating with insurance companies;
- Corresponding with judges and other attorneys;
- Going to hearings on your behalf;
- Keeping you updated about your case; and
- Taking the case to trial, if necessary.
Your Colorado Springs CO wrongful death lawyer is experienced in dealing with wrongful death claims, and they can help you through the process.
Contact a Colorado Springs CO Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If your loved one died as a result of another party’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your loss. As your personal injury lawyer, our job is to show that your loved one’s death was the result of another party’s negligence. Call Brylak Law today to speak to a Colorado Springs CO wrongful death attorney who will fight tirelessly for justice for you and your family.