If you recently suffered the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident, you know all too well how devastating and disorienting a sudden death in the family can be. What you should also know, however, is that depending on the circumstances under which your loved one died, you may have legal options at your disposal for pursuing civil compensation.
While monetary damages cannot possibly replace your loved one, the recovery a Fort Carson wrongful death lawyer could help you seek may be crucial to maintaining your family’s financial security in the years to come. Once retained, our compassionate personal injury attorneys could offer guidance and support throughout any legal action you wish to undertake.
Colorado Revised Statute §13-21-201 establishes that a deceased person’s spouse has priority regarding the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. A decedent’s children may file a claim in the second year following that person’s death, but they can only pursue legal action in the first year if given permission by the spouse. A decedent’s children also may have the option to file within the first year if this person did not have a spouse. Finally, the decedent’s parents or a legally designated beneficiary may file suit if neither the decedent’s spouse nor children are available.
Regardless of which party files suit, the applicable statutory deadline is two years from the date of the decedent’s death, as per C.R.S. §13-21-204. A Fort Carson attorney could help identify who may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim and help them file within the legal deadline.
Since claimants file wrongful death cases on behalf of a deceased individual for someone else’s negligence, the criteria for proving liability are essentially the same as they would be for any personal injury case. The filing party must demonstrate that the defendant violated a duty of care in such a way that it directly led to the deceased’s injuries and, in this case, premature death. The process of recovering damages, however, differs slightly in a few key ways.
First, there are two different types of civil claims that a person can file after someone’s death, each of which may pursue different types of damages. The decedent’s family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for lost income from the deceased’s employment, loss of companionship and consortium, and financial benefits such as life insurance payments. Alternatively, a person representing the decedent’s estate may file a survival action to recover on behalf of that estate for medical bills, funeral expenses, and other losses related to the decedent’s injury and physical suffering prior to their death.
Noneconomic damages, or losses that do not have a designated quantity, have a maximum limit of $250,000 plus inflation, according to C.R.S. §13-21-203. A qualified wrongful death lawyer could determine what forms of recovery a claimant may be able to receive in a particular case in Fort Carson.
You should not have to bear financial losses due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions, especially if those actions had fatal consequences for a family member. However, filing a wrongful death case to pursue compensation for those losses can be an emotionally draining undertaking. This is why having dedicated legal assistance could be so important.
A Fort Carson wrongful death lawyer could work with you every step of the way through your claim, answering every question you have and working relentlessly to pursue a fair outcome. If you are ready to take action, schedule a consultation to discuss the options available to you.