Below are some frequently asked questions about wrongful death claims. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Wrongful Death summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.
When a family member dies as the result of the negligence of another person, the surviving family members may have a Wrongful Death action against the person or parties who caused the death. The death could be caused by an automobile accident, train accident, trucking accident, bus accident, defective or unsafe products, inappropriate medical care or treatment, or careless and reckless conduct. There are specific laws in each state related to these types of claims, whom can file such claims, and limits on what damages may be recovered by family members.
In Colorado, the Wrongful Death Act provides that the surviving spouse may bring a claim for wrongful death. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s children then have standing to file the lawsuit. If there is no spouse and there are no children, the parents of the deceased are entitled to bring a claim. Any eligible party must bring their claim within two years of the death or the family will lose the right to make a Wrongful Death Claim.
The Colorado Wrongful Death Act (C.R.S. 13-21-201) limits the type and amount of damages that could be recovered in such an action. Damages that may be awarded in wrongful death cases include compensation for loss of support and lost benefits, including insurance. The surviving family member may also be entitled to compensation for lost companionship, affection, love, comfort, care, assistance, etc. Under certain circumstances, the court may even award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for his/her reckless behavior and to deter similar behavior in the future.