Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?

Any death is tragic, but it can be especially difficult to swallow when it could have been avoided. In the event that a loved one is killed as a result of another party’s negligence or misconduct, their passing is deemed a “wrongful death.” A bereaved family has the right to file a claim on the behalf of their deceased loved one against the party they believe is liable for their death. During this pursuit of legal recourse, it is important to understand who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful Death Claim Eligibility

According to Colorado law, the surviving spouse of the deceased is the only person who is legally permitted to file a wrongful death claim within the first year of the person’s death. If the surviving spouse fails to file a wrongful death claim in that time, then, both the surviving spouse and the surviving children can file a wrongful death claim within the duration of the second year of death. If the deceased was not married and did not have children, the parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition to family members, a representative of the deceased person’s estate may also file a separate claim. This is known as a survival action claim and is pursued in order to seek damages for estate losses. Regardless of who is eligible to bring the claim, there can only be one action for wrongful death.

Statute of Limitations

In Colorado, family members or representatives have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. If you attempt to file a wrongful death claim after the time limit, the court will dismiss your case and you will lose your right to compensation.


If the court finds a third party liable for the death of your loved one, you are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to tangible losses, such as funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and lost benefits and earnings. Non-economic damages are intangible losses, and they may include loss of companionship, pain and suffering, emotional distress and pain and suffering.

If a loved one has been killed by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation. Contact our Denver personal injury attorneys at Denver Trial Lawyers ® today to learn more.

Call (303) 647-9990 or contact us online discuss your options.