What is Wrongful Death and What to do Next?
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is any death which results from the negligence or wrongful act of a third party. In most personal injury cases wrongful deaths are caused by automobile accidents or defective products. Other situations which can precipitate a wrongful death include commercial trucking accidents with semi-trucks and tractor trailers, gas explosions, inhalation toxicity, construction accidents, incorrect prescription medication fills or refills, nursing home neglect, physical abuse, and substandard medical care. Wrongful acts usually include negligent acts that can border on criminal activity, intentional torts, general negligence, carelessness, or incidents involving a willful disregard for the safety of others. In Colorado, the state prosecutor can bring a separate criminal case against the defendant, separate from the personal injury civil action by the family for monetary damages, if the circumstances resulting in the wrongful death are criminal in nature. Plaintiff attorneys can seek punitive damages in the civil case for monetary damages based on that conduct.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim filed in civil court by the relatives or loved ones affected by the deceased person’s death. If a person’s death is due to the legal fault of another person or corporate business, the victim’s relatives and loved ones may be entitled to economic compensation from the party or entity responsible for creating the circumstances that led to the death. If you believe there has been a wrongful death of a family member or loved one, you should contact a personal injury attorney to assist you in filing a wrongful death claim.
When is a wrongful death claim necessary?
You should file a wrongful death claim when someone suffers a personal injury that results in death, is intentionally killed, is killed unexpectedly, dies as a result of medical malpractice, or dies from injuries received in a car or commercial trucking accident. Almost any kind of personal injury situation that results in death can precipitate a wrongful death claim – depending on the specific circumstances of what happened and led to the death causing event. Sometimes the facts aren’t always clear and should be investigated by your lawyer to see if there is a reasonable basis to pursue a legal claim.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In Colorado, the individuals who can bring a wrongful death claim within the first year are the spouse or heirs with the spouse’s consent, the heirs of the deceased if there is no spouse, or the designated beneficiary. In the second year after the wrongful death, the spouse of the deceased, heirs (children) of the deceased, or the designated beneficiary can bring a wrongful death claim. If the person who died has no spouse or children, then the parents of the deceased can file a claim for wrongful death within two years. There is a two year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Colorado.
If you have suffered the wrongful death of a spouse, parent, child, or loved one, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney. At Whalen Hersh, our personal injury firm specializes in helping those who have suffered personal injury. Our lawyers are accomplished trial attorneys who have successfully represented hundreds of clients in personal injury matters and have obtained over $25,000,000 in settlements, judgements and verdicts. We work closely with you to ensure that you get the support you deserve, and the representation your families rely upon in difficult times.
When you need a compassionate wrongful death attorney with a proven track record of success who will fight for your best interests in the courtroom, contact us today. As mentioned above, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit in Colorado is two years, which can mean two years from the time of death or two years from when the actual cause of death is discovered. It’s critically important to hire an attorney immediately after the loss of a loved one and have your attorneys promptly investigate what happened and whether there is a reasonable basis to pursue a claim for wrongful death. You can reach us in Denver at (720) 307-2666 or in Colorado Springs at (719) 644-7000 for a free consultation.