Wrongful Death Attorney in Colorado Springs
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience for the surviving family. Families lose the love, companionship, assistance and guidance that the loved one provided. They may also lose the loved one’s crucial financial contributions. When a loved one’s death is caused by the wrongful acts of another person, the pain of losing a loved one is that much sharper.
If you and your family have lost a loved one due to the intentional, reckless, or negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to seek compensation. You may be owed compensation for your and your family’s financial and personal losses after the loved one’s death. However, it can be difficult to pursue a legal claim. You may still be grieving and recovering emotionally from the loss of your loved one.
You do not have to go it alone. Let an experienced wrongful death attorney in Colorado Springs fight to get you the justice and financial compensation you deserve.
If your loved one was wrongfully killed by the acts or omissions of another party, contact Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC in Colorado Springs. You can schedule a consultation to learn more about your family’s rights and options. Our law firm can help you recover the compensation and justice that your family and loved one deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, only certain family members may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one.
- The spouse of a deceased individual has the first opportunity to file a wrongful death claim.
- The surviving children also gain the right to file a wrongful death claim if after a certain period the deceased person’s spouse does not file the wrongful death claim. (The surviving spouse always retains the right to file the claim).
- The parents of the decedent may file the wrongful death claim if the decedent has no surviving spouse or children.
In addition, the personal representative of the decedent, usually the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate, may file what is known as a “survival” action. This action is to recover damages that were incurred by the decedent immediately before death.
Types of Wrongful Death Accidents
Wrongful death accidents can arise from a wide variety of fatal injuries or illnesses. Examples of wrongful death accidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective product accidents
- Child injury accidents
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
If your family has a wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to compensation for these damages and losses:
- Income that your loved one would have earned and contributed to your household had they lived
- Benefits lost by your family, such as health insurance coverage or life insurance benefits
- The loss of love, companionship, society, care, guidance and assistance provided by the loved one to the family and household
In addition to the compensation that the family of a wrongfully deceased individual can recover, your loved one’s estate may be entitled to seek compensation. That compensation would cover the damages your loved one incurred prior to and as a result of his or her death:
- Medical care expenses arising from your loved one’s final injury or illness
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
In rare cases where your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s egregious, reckless, or intentional acts or omissions, your family may also be entitled to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for causing your loved one’s death. Punitive damages also deter others from similar conduct and prevent future instances of wrongful death.
Colorado Wrongful Death Cap
Colorado’s wrongful death statute puts a cap on the amount of non-economic damages in a wrongful death case. Non-economic damages in a wrongful death suit compensate the deceased individual’s family for losses such as grief, pain or suffering. Those damages also cover the loss of companionship and society caused by the loved one’s untimely death.
The statutory cap was set at $250,000 but by law can increase with inflation. Today, that amount exceeds $450,000.
Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Under the Colorado wrongful death statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Colorado law also limits who may file a wrongful death claim during that two-year period.
- In the first year following your loved one’s death, the children or parents of your loved one may not file a lawsuit if the deceased person’s spouse is still alive.
- During the second year, a surviving spouse may still file a wrongful death lawsuit, but the deceased person’s children may also file an action.
- If a deceased person has no surviving spouse or children, his or her parents may file a wrongful death suit at any time within the statute of limitations.
If your family fails to file a wrongful death lawsuit during the statute of limitations, the court can permanently dismiss your lawsuit. That means you have lost your right to seek compensation from those responsible for your loved one’s death.
Wrongful Death FAQs
The following are answers to some of the common questions clients have about their wrongful death claims.
In a wrongful death case, you must prove that your loved one’s death was directly and proximately caused by the intentional, reckless, or negligent acts of another party. Put another way, a wrongful death case can be thought of as a personal injury case that your loved one could have brought for the injury or illness that killed them.
Most wrongful death cases arise from a claim of negligence. In a negligence claim, you must prove: 1) the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care; 2) the at-fault party engaged in acts or omissions that did not meet that duty of care, and; 3) that breach caused your loved one’s death, resulting in compensable damages.
The value of your family’s wrongful death case will depend on multiple factors. Those factors include:
- The amount of damages that your loved one incurred prior to and as a result of their death (such as medical costs and funeral/burial expenses).
- The amount of damages you and your family have incurred, such as the loss of your loved one’s financial contributions to the family, the loss of benefits (such as health insurance), and the loss of the loved one’s companionship, care, guidance and assistance.
Many wrongful death attorneys represent the estate and family of a deceased individual on a contingency fee arrangement. In this arrangement, the attorney does not get paid unless and until the attorney secures compensation for the deceased person’s family and estate. The attorney will also typically cover the costs of the wrongful death case, such expert witness fees or court fees. The attorney’s fee is usually a percentage of the total recovery. Any costs paid for by the attorney are deducted from the recovery. The balance is paid to the deceased victim’s estate and family.
Although you may want to accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company, keep in mind that the first settlement offer rarely represents the maximum compensation the insurance company can offer. Nor does that settlement usually represent full and fair compensation for your and your family’s losses. Before accepting any settlement offer, tell the insurance company that you must first consult with an attorney.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can review the offer and advise you as to whether it represents full and fair compensation for your family’s loss. An attorney can communicate with the insurance company on your family’s behalf to potentially secure the full financial recovery and justice that your family deserves.
Talk to a Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Attorney Now
If you and your family have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless acts of another party, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your loss. Contact Colorado Springs wrongful death attorney Jeffrey Scott Lasswell today. Schedule a consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.
Learn more about how Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC can help you and your family secure the financial recovery and justice that you need and deserve for the loss of your loved one.