When a family member or loved one is killed in an accident, the surviving family may have cause to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the accident. Although legal action won’t bring back your loved one, you can hold the careless parties accountable with the help of a skilled wrongful death lawyer in Colorado.
One can find Colorado’s wrongful death laws in the Colorado Revised Statutes §§ 13-21-201 to -204. These laws identify which members of the decedent’s family are eligible to bring a wrongful death suit and outline the time restrictions (statute of limitations) on doing so. The statute of limitations in Colorado for wrongful death and personal injury is two years.
The two different components of a wrongful death case include:
In Colorado, laws make a distinction between those who may file a wrongful death claim and those who can be considered beneficiaries. Therefore, only specific individuals are able to file these claims; however, those who can may do so on behalf of others. To be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado, you must be able to prove:
There are particular limitations in Colorado that govern who can file a claim and under what circumstances.
To understand this better, let’s consider a hypothetical victim, Mr. Stevens who passed away in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. His surviving spouse, Mrs. Stevens, has the exclusive right to bring a wrongful death claim in the first year after Mr. Stevens’ death.
Should Mrs. Stevens not bring a claim, or waive the right to do so, the surviving children may bring an action to the courts. If there are no surviving children, or perhaps if the decedent was a minor, then Mr. Stevens’ parents may bring a claim. However, if Mrs. Stevens does not file suit and has not waived the right to do so within the first year, she still has the right to join any action brought by the other heirs in that second year.
We understand that navigating the laws and restrictions surrounding a wrongful death can be complex, especially for those dealing with the emotional burden of a loss. At Zaner Harden Law, we are here to support both your legal and personal needs.
Call Zaner Harden Law for a free and confidential consultation at (303) 563-5354, or complete our Free Case Evaluation Form and we will contact you.