My Family Member Was Killed in an Accident. Can I Sue?
First and foremost, if you lost a family member we would like to extend our deepest condolences to you. It is incredibly difficult to lose a family member, and that pain can be even more intense when it is sudden and due to the carelessness / negligence of another.
If you are wondering if you can sue those who caused your loved one’s accident, the answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no. To truly know your answer you would have to speak to an attorney, but knowing what a wrongful death claim is and how it works is a great place to start.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
The first thing you need to know is that a wrongful death claim is a civil court claim that does not result in criminal charges or punishment. The only punishment for the opposing party is monetary.There may be the option to sue after a criminal case has returned negative results, but to know for sure you will need to speak to an attorney.
Wrongful death claims exist so that family members can get some justice against the person whose actions (or inactions) caused the untimely death of their loved one. The primary function of a wrongful death claim is to provide some financial stability to the surviving family members. It allows opportunities for compensation in a variety of areas, including economic (medical bills, burial costs, etc.) and non-economic (companionship, assistance, love, etc.).
Filing a Claim in Colorado
There are a lot of things to know before filing a wrongful death claim, the first of which is who can file. In Colorado, who can file changes depending on how many years it has been since the accident:
- Within the first year, only the spouse of the deceased can file.
- The second year, it can be the surviving spouse or children.
- If the deceased did not have a spouse or children, it goes to the surviving next of kin. This is usually the parents.
In Colorado, as in most states. there is a statute of limitations. You must file within two years of the accident. After that, there is nothing you will be able to do. It may be difficult, but if you think you loved one’s death could be classified as a wrongful death under the law, you need to act quickly.
To ensure you file your claim correctly, it’s best to retain a lawyer who will take you through the steps and enter that claim into a court of law. At Gama Law Firm, we have decades of experience in personal injury and handling wrongful death lawsuits. We know how difficult it is, and we will handle your case with the ferocity and care it deserves.
Possible Compensation for Wrongful Death
The possible compensation for a wrongful death claim varies for each case, but there are some things to know. One thing is that in the State of Colorado there is a compensation cap of $468,000 for things like the pain, suffering, and emotional grief (non-economic losses) that results from a death. As ridiculous as this sounds, our legislature has decided that your grief over a loved one is never worth more than that amount. Fortunately, however, there is no cap for the past or future financial (economic) losses suffered by loved ones as a direct result of the wrongful death.
We briefly mentioned economic and non-economic damages before, but they deserve a little more detail. Non-economic losses encompass the emotional side of your loss. They include payment for the loss of love, companionship, assistance, and more. Economic damages address the financial side of your loss. They are for medical costs, burial costs, and, in the case of surviving dependents or spouses, the loss of income in the future as a result of the untimely death.
There is a large range that compensation could fall between, and that is why it’s important to have an experienced attorney by your side. You need somebody who will advise you and protect you during this emotional time. Contact Gama Law Firm in Aurora to discuss your case today. There is NO FEE for the initial consultation and no matter where you are in Colorado, whether it's Pueblo or Grand Junction or Burlington, we will travel to you for your convenience if we believe you have a case.