| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations: What to Know

If you lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to bring legal action. While no amount of money will bring your loved one back, it can help with the sudden and unexpected financial burden your family is facing. When someone causes another person’s death, the injured party can hold them responsible through a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you only have a limited amount of time to file. The Colorado wrongful death statute says you generally have two years from the date of death to bring a lawsuit. These claims can be challenging to pursue independently. You need a Colorado wrongful death lawyer who understands the challenges in these matters and will ensure you don’t inadvertently miss the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Colorado. While the general rule is two years from the date of death, some situations may alter the deadline. Working with an experienced attorney is the only way to verify that you file within the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Colorado. What Is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute? The Colorado wrongful death statute is discussed under Colorado Revised Statutes Sections 13-21-201 through 13-21-204. It’s commonly referred to as the Colorado Wrongful Death Act, and it allows certain surviving family members the right to pursue legal action against the party who caused their loved one’s death. Not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit, nor is it available in every situation. For example, you can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased victim would have had legal grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit if they were still alive. Any legal defenses that would’ve applied in the victim’s personal injury lawsuit will still apply in a wrongful death case. For example, comparative liability or assumption of risk are defenses the other party’s insurance company may raise. Some of the most common personal injury situations that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit include: Motor vehicle accidents; Large truck accidents; Motorcycle and bicycle accidents; Pedestrian accidents; Boating accidents; Slip and fall injuries; Construction site and other workplace accidents; Swimming pool accidents; Medical malpractice; and Defective products. Potential recovery under the Wrongful Death Act will vary based on the circumstances of the case. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado? Colorado law only allows certain people to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. Within the first year following the victim’s death, only a spouse is legally entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased’s children can join the case, provided the spouse gives written consent. In the second year following the victim’s death, the children or the surviving spouse can bring a claim. If the deceased did not have a spouse or children, the victim’s parents could file a lawsuit. Recovery is limited to lineal descendants. Family members such as brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts typically cannot bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The representative of the estate can also file a survival action. What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and a Survival Action? A survival action differs from a wrongful death lawsuit in the type of damages they seek. With a wrongful death lawsuit, family members are seeking compensation for their own damages, such as: Funeral expenses; Loss of deceased’s services; Loss of financial support; Emotional loss of support; and Pain and suffering. With a survival action, the estate representative is pursuing damages that the deceased would have been able to sue for had they survived. These damages include their medical expenses and lost wages while still alive. However, damages such as pain and suffering or future loss of income, disfigurement, etc., are not available in a survival action because they do not survive the victim’s death. Damages Cap on Wrongful Death Cases in Colorado Colorado limits the amount of damages you can recover in a wrongful death case in some instances. For example, Colorado law doesn’t cap economic damages such as loss of financial support. But the law subjects non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, to a maximum amount or “cap.” Currently, that figure is $571,870 for claims occurring on or after January 1, 2020. The legislature adjusts that figure every two years so the cap will increase again for claims accruing on January 1, 2022, or later.  The cap can vary in some situations. If the person died and had no surviving spouse, minor children, or dependent parents, then the law caps the total damages award. If the victim died due to a “felonious killing,” then all caps are lifted. Felonious killing is when the defendant is charged with first or second-degree manslaughter or murder.    Contact a Colorado Wrongful Death Lawyer If you fail to bring a lawsuit within the Colorado wrongful death statute of limitations, you could lose your family’s right to recovery. Please don’t risk your case by trying to handle it independently. Let the skilled legal team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC help. We have three decades of experience representing grieving family members in Colorado wrongful death lawsuits. We have worked hard to earn the reputation as one of the finest personal injury law firms in Colorado and we will be there for you every step of the way. To learn more about how we can assist you with a Colorado wrongful death lawsuit, contact Tenge Law Firm, LLC., today.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Wrongful Death

Can I Sue for Wrongful Death in Colorado

If a member of your family lost their life in an accident caused by another’s negligence or willful act, you may wonder who can sue for wrongful death in Colorado. If you are the surviving spouse, child, beneficiary, or, in certain cases, the surviving parents of a loved one killed, you have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  There are few situations in life more emotionally devastating than losing a loved one. But that pain may be magnified by the fact that their loss could have been avoided. An experienced wrongful death attorney understands that no amount of money can replace the loss of your family member. However, recovering in a wrongful death claim may assist you in the healing process, so you and your loved ones may move forward.  What Is Wrongful Death? Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, which the injured person brings on their own behalf, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the loved one of the person killed due to another’s negligence. Several key elements must be established to prevail on a wrongful death claim based on negligence, including:  Duty of care. A wrongful death claim requires proving that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care. A duty of care requires an individual to behave reasonably in situations where they may harm others.  Breach of duty. A breach of duty occurs when a person with a duty fails to behave reasonably.  Causation. Causation requires proof that a person’s failure to act reasonably resulted in the death of another.  Damages. There must be damages to support a wrongful death claim, such as loss of financial support and loss of companionship. A wrongful death claim may also exist in situations where someone causes a death intentionally. It’s important to reach out to a wrongful death attorney to analyze the facts of your wrongful death claim. Establishing the key elements for a wrongful death claim builds a strong case and will help you recover compensation for your devastating losses. Types of Wrongful Death  Wrongful death can have many causes. However, some types of wrongful death occur more commonly than others.  Traffic Accidents More than 38,000 people die every year in road-related accidents. Some of these fatal accidents may result from the negligent acts of another. Medical Malpractice Many deaths each year result from medical malpractice. Medical malpractice, or medical mistakes, require evidence that a health care provider violated a set of rules required to ensure the safety of patients. Dangerous or Defective Products When filing a lawsuit claiming that a product is defective, you must establish that the defect caused the wrongful death. There are several different types of product defects including: Manufacturing defects, Design defects, and Warning defects. An experienced wrongful death attorney works to establish the type of defect relevant to your wrongful death claim. Nursing Home Neglect Nursing home neglect, resulting in death, requires an extensive investigation to establish your wrongful death claim. Nursing home neglect cases often include federal and state law violations and criminal investigations, in addition to your wrongful death claim. Therefore, don’t go through this process alone. A wrongful death attorney can work to establish your claim so you can recover for the harm to your loved one.  Premises Liability  For premises liability cases where an accident on another’s property resulted in the death of a loved one, certain elements must be established to determine the duty of the property owner.  The duty owed by a property owner under Colorado law depends on what your loved one was doing on the property at the time of their death: Trespasser. Property owners owe no duty to trespassers except to refrain from willfully or intentionally harming them. Licensee. A licensee is someone whom the owner permits to be on the premises, such as a party guest or a salesperson. Property owners owe licensees a duty to disclose a dangerous condition if they know about it.  Invitees. Invitees are those invited onto property for the benefit of the owner, such as customers at a store. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care. Property owners must fix all dangerous conditions and take additional steps to prevent dangerous conditions.  Premises liability represents a complex area of law for a potential wrongful death claim. In some situations, you may be filing a claim against grocery store chains or other large companies. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your representation by a qualified wrongful death attorney.  Workplace Accidents Employers must take steps to keep their employees safe while they work. These requirements are federally enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  A wrongful death caused by a workplace accident has the potential to financially devastate a family. If the loved one killed was the sole breadwinner for the family, the loss is not only emotional but economic.  While family members can typically recover for a work-related wrongful death only through Colorado’s workers’ compensation system, there are some circumstances where you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. A qualified wrongful death attorney works to analyze the facts of your case and help identify your options.  Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit  Colorado sets a deadline for when a loved one may file for wrongful death, known as a statute of limitations. Colorado’s statute of limitations provides that a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the date of death. Although two years may seem a long time, after experiencing the loss of a loved one, that time period may sneak up quickly. During this period, important evidence may be lost and events surrounding the death may be forgotten. Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Colorado Who may bring a wrongful death claim under Colorado law depends on the decedent’s family situation. First Year After Wrongful Death If the decedent was married, only the surviving spouse of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim in the first year following the death. During that...

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