Many people lose loved ones to fatal car accidents in Denver every year. After decreasing for three consecutive years, Colorado traffic fatalities rose to 622 in 2020, up from 597 in 2019.
In 2022, the number of fatalities increased sharply to 745, including a 7% increase in impaired driving fatalities. While some accidents are inevitable, others occur due to a specific party’s misconduct.
If another driver caused the death of your loved one, you may be able to hold them financially liable for the losses you suffered due to your loved one’s death by filing a wrongful death claim.
While no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back, it can help you make ends meet while you process your grief. Additionally, making the at-fault party pay financially offers one way to hold them accountable for their negligence.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action that compensates certain loved ones for the losses they sustained due to the wrongful death of their loved one.
Many people want to know the difference between a personal injury vs wrongful death case.
While the victim could have filed a personal injury claim to recover their losses if they survived, a wrongful death suit reimburses surviving loved ones for the financial damages they suffered from their loss.
The wrongful death statute does not allow just anyone to file a claim. It restricts filing the wrongful death lawsuit to certain members of the decedent’s family.
For the first year after the decedent’s death, only the surviving spouse is entitled to file the wrongful death claim. If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, the decedent’s children can file the wrongful death claim within the first year.
Once the year expires, any surviving children of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse or children, their parents can file a wrongful death claim.
Many people want to know who can seek compensation in a wrongful death claim and when they can do so. Contact our team at Tenge Law Firm today to discuss your case with one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers.
Proving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death occurs when someone commits an intentional or negligent act that causes the death of another. To prove negligence, you need to establish four distinct elements:
- Duty of care,
- Causation, and
A qualified attorney can help gather information to prove the opposing party’s negligence caused your loved one’s death.
Duty of Care
First, you need to prove the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances.
Generally, drivers owe a duty to everyone using the road to act in a reasonably safe manner. Therefore, proving the first element is typically straightforward.
Next, you need to prove the defendant breached their duty of care. You can do this by presenting evidence that the at-fault party was:
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals,
- Driving recklessly,
- Texting while driving,
- Eating while driving,
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Failure to signal when changing lanes, or
- Driving aggressively.
You can demonstrate the opposing party breached their duty with eyewitness testimony, traffic camera footage, or statements from the police report. Our team can independently investigate the fatal accident to determine what actions caused the crash.
Third, you need to prove that the at-fault party’s breach was the direct cause of your injuries. This element prevents parties from recovering if their own actions or an outside factor causes their loved one’s death.
For example, if the roads are icy at the time of the fatal crash, the defendant may claim the weather conditions, not their misconduct, caused the collision.
A knowledgeable Colorado wrongful death lawyer can help connect the defendant’s actions to the fatal accident that took your loved one’s life.
Lastly, you must prove you suffered actual losses due to your loved one’s death. Damages in a wrongful death claim include things like funeral costs and medical expenses.
Remember, these are losses suffered by the decedent’s surviving loved ones after their death, not losses suffered by the decedent before they passed away.
Contact an attorney at the Tenge Law Firm today so we can start building your case.
Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Colorado
Causes of fatal car accidents include:
- Unsafe lane changes,
- Reckless driving,
- Disobeying stop signs,
- Running red lights,
- Driving without headlights at night, and
- Aggressive driving.
Committing a traffic violation does not automatically mean that a driver breached their duty of care. However, it can represent strong evidence that the driver was not operating their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.
Our attorneys possess decades of combined experience recovering compensation in wrongful death claims. Contact our office today so we can put our experience and resources to work for you.
Contact a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer at Tenge Law Firm Today
Losing a loved one can leave you emotionally devastated and financially depleted.
While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot numb your grief, your recovery can help you pay for the expenses you incur as a result of the death. Our team will focus on obtaining a favorable outcome in your case while you worry about grieving your loss.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you by:
- Gathering evidence to prove the opposing party’s negligence,
- Negotiating with opposing parties and their insurance companies, and
- Preparing your case for trial when we cannot reach a favorable settlement.
Our wrongful death lawyers at the Tenge Law Firm have the tools and experience necessary to hold the opposing party responsible for the loss of your loved one.
We are committed to giving our clients the care and attention their legal claim deserves. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.