Pueblo CO Wrongful Death Attorney
As you and your family attempt to manage the grief and loss of a loved one, the counsel of a Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney can be both helpful and necessary. A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal lawsuit, but a civil one. In effect, you or your family members are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a defendant. You are alleging that the defendant is responsible for the death of your loved one.
In addition, wrongful death lawsuits are a branch of personal injury law. Most personal injury cases revolve around the question of negligence. In other words, your attorneys will attempt to prove that the defendant, be they are a person or a company, is liable for the death of your loved one.
For that, you will need skilled Pueblo CO wrongful death attorneys who have a history successfully litigating cases. If you believe a negligent party was responsible for your loved one’s death, give Brylak Law a call and we can begin discussing your case right away.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death is a death that is caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another person or company. These wrongful actions cause the death of another person, and the person or entity responsible should be held legally liable. Legal liability includes paying for losses caused by wrongful actions and making amends in a financial way.
A wrongful death claim is one that is filed in a civil court alleging that someone else caused your loved one’s death. It’s important to work with a Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney to make a claim, as they can become extremely complex.
What Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
Many different types of incidents can result in a wrongful death. However, one similar characteristic is that wrongful deaths are caused by the actions of another person or entity. Some examples of what can cause a wrongful death include:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Slips and Falls
- Defective Products
- Work Injuries
- Dangerous Premises
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
- Criminal Activities
It’s important to determine exactly what caused the death of your loved one. A Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney can help you conduct an independent investigation and determine the cause of your loved one’s death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Colorado, the only person who may file a wrongful death claim within the first year of a family member’s death is their surviving spouse. In the second year, their spouse and children may file a claim. If the deceased had no spouse and left no children, parents of the deceased may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In addition, a representative of the deceased’s estate may file a claim related to damages to the estate. The representative of a decedent’s estate may be name such at a hearing or named prior to the death of the deceased. Many people name their personal representative in a will. If there is no will, then the court will name an estate representative. The family may challenge the estate representative, but the court will make a final determination.
The experienced Pueblo CO wrongful death attorneys at Brylak Law can help you through the process of litigating on your loved one’s behalf.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
After a wrongful death, the last thing on your mind may be money. However, you are likely incurring expenses due to the loss of your loved one. You shouldn’t have to shoulder those burdens when someone else caused their death. Depending on your relationship to the deceased, you can collect damages on the following elements:
- 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
- Benefits you would have received if your loved one had not died, such as retirement
- Expenses for funeral and burial costs
In some cases, the family may be able to pursue punitive damages against a defendant if their conduct showed a blatant disregard for the rights and safety of others. Punitive damages do not compensate you or your deceased loved one for losing anything. Instead, they are awarded to punish the person who did wrong for their wrongful acts. When a person is extremely negligent or reckless, they may be punished with punitive damages.
An experienced Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney will ensure that the defendant is held liable to the maximum degree allowed by law.
Wrongful Death Case vs. Survival Action
Although you can collect compensation for losses you’ve incurred due to the death of your loved one, you may also be able to recover for the losses your loved one actually experienced in a survival action. If your loved one would have had a lawsuit against someone, but they died before they could bring a lawsuit, then that action survives pursuant to CO Rev Stat 13-20-101 (2016).
In a survival action, you may be able to recover for:
- Medical costs your loved one incurred
- Lost earnings
- Other expenses incurred due to the defendant’s actions
In a Colorado survival action, you cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, or future earnings. A Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney can help you file a wrongful death claim or a survival action.
Although you may file one or the other, many people choose to file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action. The court may choose to combine the cases into one. However, they may maintain them as separate, especially if there are different plaintiffs.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim in a Lawsuit
In most cases, your Pueblo CO wrongful death attorneys will need to prove that the defendant acted negligently. Only in strict liability claims will a plaintiff not have to prove negligence. Negligence can happen either by action or inaction. For instance, if a proprietor does not clean up a spill, and someone slips and falls, that is negligence that results in injury.
To prove negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit, three criteria must be satisfied. Those include:
- The defendant owed a duty of care
- There was a breach of that duty of care
- Death resulted as a consequence of that breach
For instance, a common cause of preventable death is medical malpractice. In these cases, the doctor owes his patients a standard of care. When the doctor fails this standard of care, he has breached his duty as a doctor. If an injury or death result, he can be held liable.
Another instance in which death may occur as a result of a defendant’s negligence is a drunk driving accident. There, the defendant owes it to the public to operate a motor vehicle with a clear mind. When a death or injury results from that breach, the defendant can be held liable.
In some instances, products can also cause injury or death. In some cases, it will not be necessary to prove negligence, only that injury occurred. That’s what’s known as strict liability.
Statute of Limitations in Colorado Wrongful Death Cases
Most legal claims have a statute of limitations, which is a time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death of your loved one. That means that you must file a lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death or your claim could be thrown out of court.
Although this sounds like a long time, it is not. It can take years to conduct a proper investigation and conduct negotiations with insurance companies. It’s best to call a Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney right away.
There are exceptions to a statute of limitations, but they are rare. Most exceptions include things like fraud or intentional misconduct on the part of the defendant. For example, if your loved one died due to the error of a surgeon and that surgeon hides their misdeeds, then your statute of limitations may not begin to run until you find out what the surgeon did. However, it is difficult to determine whether or not your statute of limitations would be extended. Call a Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney to find out.
Understanding the Wrongful Death Claim Process
After your loved one dies due to someone else’s wrongful actions, you may reach out to a Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney. Your attorney will immediately begin the wrongful death claims process. That will include the following:
- Gathering evidence about the incident that caused your loved one’s death;
- Consulting with experts about the value of your case;
- Assessing the ability of the person responsible to pay your claim;
- Making a demand upon the person responsible or their insurance company;
- Reviewing any initial settlement offer from the insurance company;
- Filing court documents to submit a wrongful death case;
- Determining legal grounds for your claims;
- Negotiating with the insurance companies involved;
- Conducting discovery throughout the civil court case;
- Talking to the judge, court personnel, and other attorneys;
- Appearing at hearings on your behalf;
- Keeping you updated about all occurrences in the wrongful death claim;
- Making a final demand upon the insurance company; and
- Taking the case to trial, if necessary.
These steps can be extremely complex and should be undertaken with the help of a skilled Pueblo CO wrongful death attorney.
Contact a Pueblo CO Wrongful Death Attorney Today
At Brylak Law, we help grieving families get justice for their loss. If someone you loved died as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to hold that person or company responsible for their death. An experienced Pueblo CO personal injury attorney can help you make your case.