Understanding Colorado Springs Survival Actions

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Wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions take a similar amount of time and is usually decided by the court docket. Regardless of the amount of time a case takes, it is important to have a caring and dedicated attorney by your side during the entire process. A legal representative could explain the different legal steps and establish what damages you may be able to recover. Our experienced attorneys could help you understand Colorado Springs survival actions and their legal process.

Establishing Liability in a Survival Action

Understanding how to establish liability is an important part of survival actions in Colorado Springs. Liability in a survival action is proved the same way as an ordinary personal injury case. The attorney must prove that:

  • The defendant had a duty of care
  • Breached that duty of care
  • This breach of duty caused injury to another person
  • Those injuries caused the plaintiff to suffer damages

For example, motorists have a duty to maintain control of their vehicles. If they breach that duty by losing control of their vehicle and running into another driver, that collision most likely caused injuries to that individual. Therefore, it could be said that the defendant’s breach of duty cause damages to the other person.

A survival accident may arise if the person injured in the accident dies. Their estate is then responsible for proving that the defendant had a duty of care, violated that duty, and that breach caused the deceased to die. Once liability is proven, the question for the jury or for the insurance company is how to calculate those damages and determine the amount of money to which the estate is entitled.

Survival Action Legal Process

Under state Probate Code, all claims against a decedent’s estate that arose before their death and the funeral or cremation expenses are paid first. If the decedent passed away after a lawsuit was filed against them, and then the plaintiff dies, that action will be held in abeyance until a Person Representative is appointed.

The parties typically decide whether a survival cause of action brought by a decedent’s estate will end up in court. Generally, the estate representative contacts the insurance company to put them on notice of a potential lawsuit and hopefully negotiate a settlement out of court. If that does not happen, the estate may file a survival action in the appropriate court.

At all times, up to and including jury deliberation, the insurance company and the representative of the estate can settle the matter. Often the insurance company holds out to see what the plaintiff has for losses and how sympathetic the jury is. When it appears that the jury is leaning toward the plaintiff, the insurance company may make the estate a decent offer to settle.

On some occasions, the parties settle at that time, and in other situations, they may take it right to the end. An experienced survival action attorney could advise an estate representative on:

  • What a good settlement offer looks like
  • What the estate should be willing to accept
  • What the costs and risks of litigation are
  • Whether they want to settle or go to and complete a trial

Recoverable Damages

In Colorado Springs survival claims, a plaintiff should understand the purpose of monetary damages is to compensate the estate for the losses it sustained, and the pain the deceased suffered prior to their death. If a person dies after a jury verdict, but before judgment, different types of damages can be recovered. In a survival action, a claimant may be able to recover:

  • The medical expenses that were incurred prior to the person’s death
  • Ambulance bills
  • Hospital charges
  • Doctor charges
  • Emergency services billing
  • Any other costs incurred prior to the person’s death.

These are the types of damages that claimant may look to recover because the estate is responsible for these medical bills, and they may need to receive compensation to be able to pay them. The estate of the deceased also may be able to recover for any funeral or burial costs. The components of funeral costs depend on whether the decedent was cremated or buried and whether or not there was a viewing at a funeral home.

An experienced wrongful death attorney could outline the various categories of damages that a claimant may be able to recover and then help gather the substantiating documentation to support those losses. A lawyer also could present their documentation properly to the insurance company in the pre-trial stages, or a jury, if need be.

Contact an Attorney in Colorado Springs for Help Dealing with a Survival Action

One of the most important things a claimant can do is follow their attorney’s instructions and cooperation is crucial as well. A legal professional could describe to an estate representative what needs to be done to prosecute their survival action properly. Additionally, an attorney could gather documents that support the injuries sustained by the decedent and the damages claimed by the deceased’s estate. For help understanding Colorado Springs survival actions, contact our firm and the guidance and support you deserve.  

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