What is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

  • November 25, 2019 | Read Time: 3 Minutes
What is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

If you've lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, you may be considering legal action.

For example, drivers acting negligently on the road often cause accidents and sometimes, in the worst cases, death. As the family member of a loved one who passed away, you may be entitled to compensation.

If you are considering filing suit, you may be wondering about the Colorado wrongful death statute of limitations and wrongful death claims in general. If you think you may have a claim, it's essential to contact an experienced attorney for guidance and counsel.

Here, we'll discuss the Colorado wrongful death statute of limitations and what you need to know.

What is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute?

The Colorado wrongful death statute, codified at Colorado Revised Statutes §§ 13-21-201 through 13-21-204, known as the Colorado Wrongful Death Act, allows family members of victims to bring suits against the party that caused their loved one's death.

In Colorado, wrongful death suits are only available if the victim would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.

The following are common situations from which wrongful death lawsuits can arise:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice

Economic damages, such as those to cover the deceased’s medical and funeral expenses, may be available. There may also be a possibility for recovery of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Who Can Bring a Claim Under the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute?

In Colorado, only specific individuals can bring wrongful death claims within certain time periods.

Within the first year after a person's death, only the spouse may file under the Colorado wrongful death statute. The deceased's children can join, but only if the spouse gives written consent.

Within the second year, the spouse or children can bring the claim. If there is no spouse, and there are no children, the deceased's parents can file a claim.

A representative of the deceased person's estate may be able to file a survival action. This type of action would be to seek damages for losses the estate may have experienced.

What is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

The Colorado wrongful death statute of limitations provides for two years in which family members can bring a claim. The two-year period begins to run on the date of death.

Colorado does have some exceptions to this two-year rule. If the deceased died as a result of a car collision, the family has three years, instead of two, to file a claim.

Additionally, if the defendant tries to hide facts so that relevant evidence can’t be discovered, the two-year statute of limitations may be extended. If the defendant engages in fraud, this is another circumstance where the statute of limitations may be lengthened.

Regardless of the statute of limitations, it's important to contact an experienced Colorado wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Setting up your case early on will allow for the best chance of success. Contacting an attorney will also give you time to understand your options and help you decide how best to move forward.

Consult With a Wrongful Death Attorney in Denver, CO

If a loved one has been killed by someone else's negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through the Colorado wrongful death statute. Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Denver Trial Lawyers ® ® today to learn more.