Weld County Wrongful Death Lawyer
In certain situations, another person or company may carry legal liability for someone else’s death, whether it occurred by accident or intent. However, just because a death is unexpected does not necessarily mean that another party is at fault. A lawsuit alleging wrongful death must be an extension of a similar suit that the decedent would have been able to file if they survived, and Colorado state law strictly controls who may bring these suits and which damages they may claim.
A Weld County wrongful death lawyer may be able to help bring peace of mind and financial stability following the loss of a loved one. Your well-versed personal injury attorney could help you investigate the incident that led to the death, identify the proper defendants, and pursue your claim for proper compensation. En Español.
Classifying a Death as “Wrongful”
Death is an inevitable part of life, but some deaths are premature in that a person does not die because of natural causes. In general, a death is considered “wrongful” if the situation that led to the death would have justified a personal injury lawsuit had the decedent survived.
For example, landowners have a duty to keep their land safe from hazards and may even need to warn a visitor of any danger. If a landowner fails to perform this duty, and a visitor is injured as a result, that landowner likely carries civil liability.
The landowner in this example would be legally liable regardless of the extent of the injury, so even cases that end in death by accident would not absolve the defendant of blame. A Weld County wrongful death attorney could help a deceased person’s family member examine the facts that led to the death and evaluate whether another party is at fault. En Español.
Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Lawsuits alleging wrongful death are among the most complex in personal injury law. Since the subject of the suit is now deceased, another party must take up the responsibility for pursuing compensation.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes §13-21-201, there is a strict hierarchy of who may pursue a wrongful death suit. In the first year following the death, a decedent’s spouse has priority to pursue damages, but if there is no surviving spouse, the heir(s) of the decedent—meaning direct descendants—may serve as a plaintiff.
Only if no spouses or heirs are available may a parent of the deceased bring the suit. Once the case reaches its second year, either a spouse or an heir may file a claim.
This timing of the case is also a vital portion of a successful claim. C.R.S. §13-80-102 says that all wrongful death suits must be in court no more than two years after the date of death. However, a rare exception applies to cases involving criminal homicide.
Finally, C.R.S. §13-21-203 limits the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff may claim. This amount changes over time, and a Weld County wrongful death lawyer could help plaintiffs calculate the applicable amounts.
Hiring a Weld County Wrongful Death Attorney
On top of the emotional pain associated with the unexpected death of a family member, the economic burden of such a loss can be quite significant. The required medical treatment before the death and the funeral costs may add up to more than you have the ability to pay, and the loss of income from the deceased may affect your family for years to come.
If another party is responsible for the death of a loved one through negligence or homicide, you may have the right to file suit for financial damages. A Weld County wrongful death lawyer could help you pursue the compensation needed to bring stability back into your life. Call today to see how legal counsel might be able to help you.