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Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers

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Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers

Losing someone you love in a fatal accident can be crippling. It’s hard to move forward, difficult to know what to do, and knowing where to turn can be a challenge. And if that death was the result of someone’s negligence — through a car accident, a fire, a faulty product or another type of fatal accident — your loss can feel insurmountable.

While no monetary award can bring back the love, affection and companionship another person provided you, it can give you justice for their loss and help make you whole after suffering such a profound experience.

The Lamber Goodnow injury law team, together with our partner firms throughout Colorado are sensitive to the victims of wrongful death cases. We work with grieving families each week, gently taking them through the process of filing a claim, fighting for their rights and gradually rebuilding their lives. We know a fatal injury does more than end a life. It can destroy a family. With our assistance, we hope to help you rebuild and restore.

Wrongful Death Incidents

We know that seeking monetary damages or punitive damages after a wrongful death can feel unseemly — money cannot bring back your loved one and can’t take away your pain. But this is the way our legal system is set up to assign liability, prove negligence and compensate an estate or loved ones for a fatal accident.

Through our help and expertise, we can establish who was negligent and ultimately responsible for your loved one’s death. If it’s a fatal car accident, we’ll investigate every element of the crash — from the actions of the liable party to any possible malfunctions of safety equipment on vehicles. Any fatal accident is a puzzle, one that we put together piece-by-piece through assembling facts, understanding distractions, and determining liability and/or negligence. 

Your Case

When you file a wrongful death case, you’re seeking financial recovery to not only help you re-establish your life, but also to make it clear that someone was negligent, and that negligence resulted in a tragic death.

Awards in wrongful death claims cover these expenses and/or costs:

  • Medical costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages

But in addition, a wrongful death judgment or settlement will also compensate a spouse or family for these factors:

Loss of emotional support, companionship and affection

Pain and suffering

We know it can feel impossible to attach a dollar amount to your suffering. But the hope is that, through a settlement or a verdict, you’ll be able to regain your footing and move forward in life, while the negligent party will be prevented from inflicting similar pain on another family.

You Have Questions  — The Lamber Goodnow Legal Team Has Answers:

What is wrongful death?

A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the deceased was killed as a result of negligence, neglect or wrongful action of the defendant and that the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct. 

Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit?

If a family member dies because of the accident, certain heirs may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A wrongful death action may be brought by:

“(a) The spouse of the deceased,

(b) The heir or heirs of the deceased,

(c) By the decedent’s designated beneficiary, or

(d) If the deceased is unmarried and without descendants or a designated     beneficiary, [1] then the parents or parent of the deceased.”[2]

However, regardless of who brings the action, the judgment obtained is to be shared by such persons who are heirs of the deceased.

How long do certain family members have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado?

All wrongful death actions must be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.[3]  Further, a cause of action for wrongful death accrues on the date of death.[4]

However, all statutes of limitations are subject to tolling provisions when the owner of the right of action is a person under disability at the time the right of action accrues.[5]  “Persons under disability include a minor under the age of 18 years and a mental incompetent.[6]  The statute of limitations will begin to run when the disability is ended, the person under the disability dies, the minor turns 18, or a legal representative first represents the person under disability.”[7]

May I bring a wrongful death claim if my baby dies after birth?

Yes, parents may bring a wrongful death claim if their baby dies after birth as a result of prenatal injuries.[8]

What may I recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

In a Colorado wrongful death action, the heirs may receive compensatory damages.[9]  This includes economic and non-economic damages.  The pecuniary loss that the heirs may receive is equivalent to the monetary benefit that the plaintiff and heirs “might reasonably have expected to receive”[10] from the decedent, less the normal costs of consumption.[11]  When making this determination on economic damages, a jury considers the “age, health, and life expectancy” of the plaintiff and heirs, and the decedents “habits of industry,” “ability to earn money,” “disposition to aid or assist” plaintiff and the heirs and “the nature of the relationship” between the decedent and those that are seeking recovery.[12]

A wrongful death plaintiff may also recover non-economic damages.  Non-economic loss is “pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, and impairment of the quality of life.”[13]

If I have to prove someone was negligent in a wrongful death case what do I do?

In order to establish fault of the other party in a wrongful death lawsuit you must prove the party caused the underlying tort (the wrongful act). In most wrongful death cases the underlying tort is negligence.

In Colorado negligence is defined as “the failure to do what a reasonably prudent person would do under similar circumstances.”[14] In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove: “(1) a duty recognized by law requiring a defendant to conform its conduct to a standard of care to protect others from unreasonable risks or harm; (2) a breach of that duty—that is a failure by the defendant to conform to the standard; (3) causation; and (4) damages.”[15]

Do I have to file a lawsuit to get a positive result in a wrongful death situation?

No, not all wrongful death disputes result in a lawsuit being filed.  Your attorney may draft a demand letter, which presents facts about the wrongful death in order to persuade the at-fault party to provide adequate compensation. The demand letter is sent to the at-fault party, or their attorney (if they have retained an attorney) with supplemental documents, which the party will analyze and then respond with their settlement offer.

What is Solatium?

Solatium is a type of damage that may be recovered in a wrongful death case in Colorado when the plaintiff cannot prove economic loss or when a plaintiff was estranged from the decedent at the time of death.

This is an alternative to putting proof of various categories of non-economic loss, and a plaintiff may elect in writing to sue for “solatium” in the amount of $50,000[16] to be awarded in addition to economic damages and reasonable funeral and burial expenses.[17]

Our Process

Not only are we exceptional litigants at the Lamber Goodnow legal team, we’re excellent in our research and investigations. Through our team, we partner with experts who can reconstruct an accident scene, fire, or other circumstance that resulted in a fatal injury. Our experts can help trace the source of a poisoning, or narrow down how a defective product caused the fatal injury.

Throughout this entire process, you won’t be paying us bills. We have a No-Fee Promise, and under this agreement, you’re not responsible for funding the investigation or paying us bills. We’ll only receive compensation if and when we secure a judgment or settlement in your favor. It’s as simple as that.

If you’re grieving the loss of a family member and need advice, please call us today at (303) 800-8888. It won’t cost you a penny to have a no-obligation consultation with us. You’ll speak with one of our team members, get a chance to tell your story, and find out about your rights. We’ll also ask you some questions so we can understand the full ramifications of the wrongful death, and we’ll give you an idea of what you can expect when you file a case. It’s totally up to you to move forward.

Call us today, and let us help you and your family.

[1]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 15-22-103(1).

[2]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-201(1).

[3] Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102(1)(d).

[4]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-81-102(1).

[5]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-81-103.

[6]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-81-101(3).

[7]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-81-103.

[8]  Pizza Hut of American, Inc. v. Keefe 900 P.2d 97 (Colo. 1995).

[9]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-203(1).

[10]   Colo. Jury Instr., 4th Civil 10:3 and 10:3A.

[11]   Mosley v. Prall, 158 Colo. 504, 408 P.2d 434 (1965).

[12]   Colo. Jury Instr., 4th Civil 10:3 and 10:3A.

[13]   Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-102.5(2)(b).

[14]   Matt Skorey Packard Co. v. Canino, 142 Colo. 411, 350 P.2d 1069 (1960).

[15]  Id.

[16]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13020-203.7.

[17]  Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-203.5.

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