Denver Wrongful Death Attorney
How Our Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
When someone you love is killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, nothing can right the wrongs you’ve experienced.
No amount of compensation could ever replace the loss of your loved one. Yet, you and your family should not have to suffer financial burdens in your time of grief.
You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party and recover compensation to pay for funeral expenses, past medical care, and loss of future earnings.
Wrongful death cases can be very complex, therefore they are best left to an experienced, knowledgeable Denver wrongful death attorney. Additionally, if the negligent person responsible for the death has very low insurance policy limits, a skilled attorney can instigate a thorough investigation.
This investigation could potentially reveal additional defendants who are more able to pay damages. Denver Trial Lawyers ® has more than 175 years of combined experience and is more than capable of providing the experienced representation needed to effectively obtain compensation.
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Practice Areas that Deal with Wrongful Death Cases
Understanding whether or not you have a wrongful death case if your loved one has died can be confusing, and you may be wondering whether some accident types justify a wrongful death action.
As stated above, a wrongful death claim may be warranted when a person is killed by the wrongful act or neglect/negligence of another party. As such, there are a myriad of accident types that, if the accident results in death, may justify a wrongful death claim.
Some of the common practice areas that deal with wrongful death cases, and with which our Denver wrongful death lawyers are familiar and experienced, include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Truck and commercial vehicle accidents;
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Dangerous premises accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective products;
- Workplace accidents and injuries; and
If you have lost a loved one, it’s important that you hire a Denver wrongful death lawyer who is familiar with the laws regarding the type of accident in which your loved one was involved. At Denver Trial Lawyers ®, our team has more than 175 years’ worth of combined legal experience, and is ready to serve you.
How Long Do Wrongful Death Cases Take?
Filing a wrongful death claim is not only an emotional task, but one that you should plan to commit time and energy to, too. While the duration of a wrongful death claim can vary on a case-by-case basis, some of the most time-consuming elements that you should expect to encounter include:
- Investigative process. One of the most time-consuming parts of a wrongful death claim is the investigative process. Remember, in order to win a wrongful death suit, you must be able to present evidence that proves that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of your loved one’s death. This may require working with various experts and medical professionals, and building your claim and organizing evidence could take multiple months, if not upwards of a year.
- Calculating damages. When an accident results in death, surviving loved ones often suffer significant damages in the form of medical expenses prior to death, lost wages, loss of household services, and more. These damages must be calculated before a demand letter can be issued.
- Negotiating a wrongful death claim. Once you have gathered evidence of negligence and causation, as well as damages, you will need to negotiate your wrongful death settlement. Settlement talks can take many months, especially if the value of your claim is significant.
- Litigation. While settling your case out of court is ideal, sometimes, you may need to file a lawsuit and litigate a case in order to recover the damages that you deserve. If a case goes to court, it will likely take well over a year to conclude.
Considering all of the information above, a wrongful death claim could take between one and three years (or more in some cases) to settle.
Why You Need a Denver Wrongful Death Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Case
Losing a loved one is a shocking experience, and while you may want to seek justice for your losses, you may be unsure of where or how to start.
If you are thinking about filing a wrongful death claim on your own without legal representation, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the reasons why working with an attorney is so important.
How An Attorney Can Help
Indeed, working with an attorney can significantly improve the outcome of your case. The main ways in which your Denver wrongful death attorney will support you and your wrongful death claim include:
- Managing the investigation. As stated above, the investigative process is one of the most important elements of a wrongful death claim. But investigations are time-consuming and expensive, and without the proper training and education, you may be unsure of the elements of a wrongful death claim or what type of evidence you’re looking for (or how to use that evidence to prove your claim). Your attorney will manage all elements of the investigation on your behalf, including paying for the upfront costs of experts’ fees and other expenses associated with an investigation. An attorney will also have a staff that’s dedicated to the safe-keeping and preservation of evidence, as well as its proper organization and documentation.
- Representing you during negotiations. There are few things more frustrating than losing a family member due to someone else’s negligent actions and then being offered a settlement amount that is much less than you deserve. Your lawyer will act as your advocate and your representative, aggressively negotiating your settlement and rejecting any settlement offers that are unfair.
- Answering your legal questions and ensuring compliance. Finally, an attorney is knowledgeable in the law, and will be available to answer any questions that you have about the wrongful death claim process. Further, your attorney will also make sure that all rules related to your claim are followed. For example, your attorney will make sure that you file your claim within Colorado’s wrongful death statute of limitations.
PROVING NEGLIGENCE IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
Negligence involves establishing four elements before a court of law. The party bringing the claim must prove negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, there must be a greater than 50% chance that plaintiff’s claims are true, given all the evidence.
The four elements of negligence are:
- Duty (the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty);
- Breach (the defendant breached that duty);
- Causation (the breach of the duty caused the plaintiff’s injury); and
- Damages (the plaintiff was harmed).
In a wrongful death case, the family must prove the elements of negligence. These will be the same elements the deceased person would have had to show.
For example, in a traffic accident case, the family would base the negligence on the defendant's conduct towards the deceased person. They would need to show duty, breach, causation, and damages.
All drivers owe other drivers a duty of care. Usually, the plaintiff can show that the defendant breached this duty if they were not following traffic laws or rules. If the deceased person died as a result of defendant's breach, the family can receive monetary compensation for the loss.
There are many ways to prove negligence in a wrongful death accident. Our personal injury lawyers prove fault through demonstrative evidence, subject matter experts, and exhaustive research about the facts of your case.
If you would like to speak to one of our award-winning Colorado wrongful death attorneys, contact our firm to schedule your free consultation.
POSSIBLE COMPENSATION IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
In the state of Colorado, family members may receive economic and non-economic damages for a wrongful death claim.
Economic damages are those which cost the family something financial because of the wrongful death.
Compensation for economic damages can include those costs which the family must handle immediately. For example, medical expenses prior to your loved one's death or funeral expenses.
It can also include streams of income that the family lost due to the death of your loved one. These would include their income or future expected income. You may also be able to receive compensation to cover lost benefits, such as your loved one's insurance.
Calculating Economic Benefits
Calculating certain economic benefits can be challenging. Although direct costs, like incurred medical expenses and funeral expenses, are clear, future potential costs are harder to quantify. In these cases, the plaintiff's attorney will call an expert, such as an economist. The economist will assess what the deceased person's future income could have been. The economist will analyze several different factors, including:
- How old your loved one was at the time of their death;
- Your loved one’s health when they died;
- An estimate of your loved one’s life expectancy, which they might analyze based on their health, gender, and lifestyle;
- Your loved one’s financial circumstances when they died, including what their potential future earnings looked like.
Wrongful death damages shift the loss that the family experiences to the responsible party. Because of this, a damage award will also take into account the deceased person's relationship to their family when they died. If they were providing financial support, wrongful death damages will be more likely.
Even if your loved one never held a job, it is likely he or she made other types of contributions. For example, consider a stay-at-home mom who, while not bringing in a regular paycheck, contributed extensively to the family.
Taking care of children, cleaning the house, managing the household finances, buying groceries, cooking, etc. are all quantifiable losses. You may have to demonstrate that you now have to pay for additional services, such as childcare or household maintenance. If you can, you may be able to receive compensation for these expenses, as well.
Non-economic damages are those that may not be as easy to calculate. They include damages for pain and suffering. You may also be able to receive damages for loss of companionship. Additionally, family members may be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering the deceased person endured before their death.
In certain circumstances, exemplary damages (sometimes referred to as punitive damages) may be available. If the deceased person died because of fraud, malicious, willful, or wanton conduct, you might be eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are those designed to punish the defendant for their behavior.
Possible Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
Even if your loved one never held a job, it is likely he or she made other types of contributions to family members. For example, consider a stay-at-home mom who, while not bringing in a regular paycheck, contributes extensively to the family.
Taking care of the children, cleaning the house, managing the household finances, buying groceries, cooking, etc. are all quantifiable losses.
In addition to the wrongful death lawsuit, family members may be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering the decedent endured before his or her death.
Our Approach to a Wrongful Death Case
At Denver Trial Lawyers ®, our Denver wrongful death attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation in which we will interview witnesses, take photographs and engage in any other actions which will help build your wrongful death case.
Our goal is to ensure your rights are both protected and preserved in our pursuit of compensation on your behalf. Our firm is known for thorough preparation and powerful case presentations that effectively communicate your circumstances to the jury.
Contact our Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
In Colorado, you generally have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. There are exceptions, however, so it is important to review your case with an attorney before proceeding.
Do not delay – vital evidence can be lost or destroyed if you wait too long. At Denver Trial Lawyers ®, our Denver wrongful death lawyers can evaluate your case and help you pursue compensation. Contact us today for a case evaluation.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another, contacting an experienced lawyer is advisable.
By letting our Denver wrongful death attorneys handle all the legal details, you are giving yourself the time to grieve without worrying about your future.