While it is never easy to lose a loved one, the emotional reaction to a loss is often made more complex when the loved one in question died as a result of another’s actions or inactions. While no amount of compensation can make up for such loss, it is important for surviving loved ones to hold responsible parties accountable for the harm that they have caused. The law in Colorado allows surviving loved ones to pursue compensation from those responsible for a loved one’s death. If you have recently suffered such a loss, know that an Aurora wrongful death lawyer from Lee, Myers & O’Connell, LLP can help you demand justice.
Our attorneys have dedicated themselves to fighting for the rights of injured Coloradans and their families. We understand how confusing and daunting the legal process may seem, which is why we’ll take the time to sit down with you and explain the process of pursuing legal action, answer your questions, and tailor our approach to representation to meet your unique needs. Our proven record of dedicated client service is reflected by our firm’s many 5-star ratings on Yelp, Google, and other such platforms. Our staff speaks Spanish, French, and Korean, in addition to English, and we have represented clients whose primary languages include Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Mongolian, Amharic, Vietnamese, Persian, and Tigrinya.
If your family has lost a loved one because of the wrongful acts of another party, turn to an Aurora wrongful death lawyer from Lee, Myers & O’Connell, LLP. We want to help you secure the compensation your family is entitled to and the justice that your departed loved one deserves.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that allows certain surviving family members of an individual whose death was caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional harm to recover compensation for those family members’ financial and emotional losses. A party does not need to have committed a criminal act to be held liable in a wrongful death case. Instead, grounds upon which a wrongful death claim may be filed can arise under any circumstances that would otherwise have permitted the deceased to pursue a personal injury claim had they survived their injuries.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Aurora
Generally speaking, any circumstances that could give rise to a personal injury case may also inspire a wrongful death case, should the injured party die as a result of the harm they’ve suffered. Wrongful deaths in Aurora, CO, are commonly the result of:
Who Can File an Aurora Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under Colorado’s wrongful death statute, only certain individuals are authorized to bring a wrongful death claim. In the first year after a decedent’s death, only a surviving spouse may file a wrongful death lawsuit. A surviving spouse may elect in writing to allow the decedent’s surviving children to join them in a lawsuit or to allow the surviving children to file suit in lieu of the spouse. If a decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, then the decedent’s surviving children may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
After one year has passed from a decedent’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by any of the following eligible family members:
- A surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- The decedent’s eligible designated beneficiary
When one of these eligible parties files a wrongful death lawsuit, all other eligible individuals have 90 days from the filing of the suit to join the case.
Finally, if a decedent left no surviving spouse or surviving children, the wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the decedent’s surviving parent(s) or a representative of the deceased’s estate.
Types of Compensation Awarded for Wrongful Death
A wrongful death claim may allow eligible surviving family members to recover compensation for the losses they suffered because of their loved one’s passing. Financial recovery in a wrongful death case can provide you with compensation for:
- Medical bills stemming from the decedent’s final injury or illness
- Loss of the decedent’s income and financial contributions to the family, including the loss of other compensation or assets the decedent would have earned had they lived
- Loss of benefits provided by the decedent to the family, such as health insurance
- The value of the services the decedent performed around the household
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Grief and emotional pain and distress caused by the decedent’s death
- Loss of the decedent’s companionship, affection, society, and guidance
There is no limit on the dollar amount of economic losses a family may claim, such as the loss of a decedent’s income or job benefits. However, Colorado law caps the amount of compensation that can be recovered for non-economic losses such as emotional distress, grief, and loss of the decedent’s company. For wrongful death claims that arise after January 1, 2022, compensation for non-economic losses is capped at $642,180. By law, this cap increases every two years according to inflation. However, there is no statutory cap on non-economic compensation when a wrongful death claim arises from murder or manslaughter.
Who Can Receive Compensation for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Colorado, the compensation recovered in a settlement of a wrongful death claim or at trial in a wrongful death lawsuit is paid to the eligible family member or members who filed the claim or lawsuit. This may include the decedent’s surviving spouse, surviving children, designated beneficiary, or surviving parent or parents.
Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Under Colorado’s statute of limitations, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within a certain period after a decedent’s passing. In most cases, a suit must be filed within two years of a decedent’s death. However, if the wrongful death occurred in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations is extended to four years.
Filing suit once the statute of limitations has expired on your family’s claim will most likely result in your case being dismissed by the court as untimely. If this happens, you and your family will have lost the right to hold the party or parties at fault for your loved one’s passing accountable for their actions. This is just one reason why it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer who knows how to meet deadlines and keep your case on track.
How Our Aurora Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
If you have grounds upon which to file a wrongful death claim because of a loved one’s passing, the Aurora wrongful death lawyers of Lee, Myers & O’Connell, LLP can help you to recover the compensation and justice you need by:
- Thoroughly investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death to recover evidence we can use to prepare your family’s wrongful death case
- Identifying the party or parties who might be held liable in a wrongful death case, along with potential sources of compensation, such as applicable insurance coverages
- Discussing your legal options with you and preparing you for what to expect at each stage of your family’s claim
- Documenting your family’s losses that have resulted and will result from your loved one’s passing, so we know how much to demand from the at-fault party
- Consulting expert witnesses in accident reconstruction, engineering, medicine, finance, or other relevant fields to help provide persuasive arguments in your case
- Preparing and filing your family’s wrongful death case and aggressively pursuing a settlement that provides you with the fair financial recovery your family deserves
- Pursuing your case all the way to trial, if necessary, to demand the kind of favorable outcome that you deserve
Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be both complicated and emotionally draining. Let us seek justice and compensation on your behalf so that you can concentrate on grieving and taking care of your surviving loved ones.
Why Many Families Find Comfort in Taking Legal Action for a Wrongful Death
Although no amount of money can bring back a departed loved one, pursuing a wrongful death case can provide your family with an important measure of closure and a sense of justice. Practically speaking, the death of a family member can also leave you with significant financial burdens, including a loss of income and the loss of the services and chores they performed around the household. A wrongful death compensation award can ease the burden of these losses.
Furthermore, because wrongful death claims have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, they can be the best and only way to hold someone accountable for their wrongdoing.
Our Aurora Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Ready to Discuss Your Situation
If you have recently lost a loved one and another’s actions or inactions are (at least partially) to blame, you and your family deserve justice and accountability. The Aurora wrongful death lawyers at Lee, Myers & O’Connell, LLP can help you demand what you are owed.
Contact us today to discuss your case in detail and find out how we can help. Initial consultations are always free, and we work on a contingency basis, which means you only owe us a fee if we secure compensation on your behalf.