Lakewood Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one can be devastating under any circumstances, but when their death is the result of someone else’s negligence, the loss can be even more upsetting. Mounting grief coupled with the economic impacts of funeral expenses lost earnings, and loss of benefits can add to your burden.
While no amount of money can begin to make you whole, fair compensation could help alleviate some of your stress and possibly help with healing and moving forward. A credible injury attorney could help you hold those responsible for your loved one’s death liable in civil court, so you could recover damages for your losses. Get in contact with a Lakewood wrongful death lawyer today.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
Colorado Revised Statutes §12-21-202 allows for a civil action to be brought for damages even though the victim is deceased. An action for an unnecessary death may arise from the negligent or intentional actions of the defendant in a wide range of situations—essentially, any scenario that may have led to a personal injury lawsuit if the victim had survived.
Even if the deceased’s negligent actions contributed to their death, their loved ones can still recover damages as long as the decedent is not found to be 50 percent or more at fault. However, the final amount of damages awarded would be diminished in proportion to the amount of the deceased’s negligence.
Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Action?
In Lakewood, family members and beneficiaries who were economically dependent on someone killed by a negligent or intentional act may file a wrongful death claim for the loss of their loved one. Specifically, under Colorado law, the following parties are eligible to bring a claim:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s heirs
- The deceased’s designated beneficiary
- The deceased’s parents if there is not a surviving spouse or children
It is important to note that, during the first year after death, the surviving spouse has the exclusive right to bring a wrongful death action. A knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer in Lakewood could further clarify the rights of certain family members to file a wrongful death suit.
Damages in Wrongful Death Suits
In Lakewood, a plaintiff can sue for both economic and non-economic damages. Allowable compensatory damages under the law include:
- Medical expenses incurred from the time of the incident until death
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of support
- Loss of insurance benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional stress
In lieu of non-economic damages, the plaintiff may sue instead for a solatium, which is a fixed sum in an amount set by statute. This option may be chosen in order for a grieving family member to avoid having to testify about their loss, or if non-economic damages may be difficult to prove because of the nature of their relationship with the deceased.
In addition to compensatory damages, the court may also elect to award punitive damages for willful and wanton conduct to both punish the wrongdoer and prevent others from acting in a similar way.
How Does a Lawyer Calculate Non-Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
An experienced attorney will often resort to what is called the “jury verdict reporter” and look for similar cases in similar jurisdictions where juries have awarded damages in the past. This is another good reason why surviving family members should consult with a well-versed legal advocate so they have a realistic number and one which is not to too low or too high in the particular jurisdiction where the decedent suffered the wrongful death.
Assistance from a Lakewood Wrongful Death Attorney
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for wrongful death is two years from the date of death. However, for a wrongful death action against a defendant who committed vehicular homicide and left the scene of the accident that resulted in the death, the suit must be brought within four years.
Trusted guidance from a knowledgeable Lakewood wrongful death lawyer could help you recover compensation to alleviate the financial hardship caused by the loss of your loved one. During this emotional and challenging time, we are available and willing to help. When you are ready, call us to get started on your case.