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Denver Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is already painful enough. Trying to recover compensation for your losses can add to the trauma after a wrongful death. Fortunately, your Denver attorney can work to give your family the guidance, comfort, and justice you need.

Denver families may find themselves grieving recently because of a death in the family. You may have lost a loved one because of a careless driver, a negligent property owner, an unsafe product, a reckless mistake by a doctor at a Denver healthcare facility, or even a personal attack. These losses can feel overwhelming.

When you believe that someone was at fault for these losses, it adds another layer of grief. Unfortunately, juggling mourning and a lawsuit isn’t easy, which is why your family could use a Denver wrongful death lawyer. At Roberts Accident Law, we understand how difficult dealing with your grief is, so we’ll help you work to get the closure you deserve.

What is Considered Wrongful Death

A death in the family is always brutal for everyone involved. However, one that comes unexpectedly can feel even worse. Add in the potential for wrongful death, and it can be heartbreaking with the knowledge that if something was done a little differently, they could still be alive with their family today.

Learn more about what is considered wrongful death by the courts and what you can potentially expect if you suspect that misconduct or negligence was involved in the incident that resulted in your loved one’s death.

What is Wrongful Death?

According to the courts, wrongful death involves another person or an entity performing an action that can be deemed negligent or against the typical conduct expected, which resulted in the death of a person. This action that shouldn’t have been allowed to occur, such as not performing proper upkeep on a party bus that resulted in a fatal crash, is directly linked to the accident. Had the maintenance been completed, the accident may not have happened in the manner that it did.

Examples of Wrongful Death

Some examples of wrongful death include:

  • Deaths that occur during the commission of a crime
  • Instances of medical malpractice
  • Improper manufacturing of an item
  • Fatal car accidents

This list is not complete, and it’s highly recommended to speak with a legal professional about a particular situation that occurred to your loved one due to the burden of proof in these cases.

How is Wrongful Death Proved?

Proving a wrongful death case is not always easy. First, it’s necessary to verify that the negligent actions that occurred directly resulted in the individual’s death. For instance, with the party bus example, it can be said that the person responsible for the upkeep of the vehicle had a standard of care towards the paying passengers, and by not fixing the brakes, which resulted in a fatal crash, is a direct link to the death of the passenger.

If you believe that your loved one’s death was the result of misconduct or negligence and want answers. Contacting the knowledgeable attorneys at Roberts Accident Law is a great first step.

What Qualified as a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A death in the family can be crushing to deal with, but what happens if there is some doubt about the way that the person died? It can be even more devastating when an intentional or negligent act results in death. Learning more about what qualifies as wrongful death and whether or not a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued can help you and your family start to get closure during the grieving process.

Understanding Duty of Care

Duty of care is important when it comes to a wrongful death lawsuit. You can’t just argue that a person caused your loved one’s death. Instead, you must demonstrate that the person had a duty of care that they ignored or didn’t follow.

An example of a breach in duty of care that can help illustrate this concept is getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. When doing so, you have the duty of care not to be impaired while driving due to drinking. Drunk drivers can be shown to have breached their duty of care towards other drivers and the community because they are not exercising reasonable care and are acting recklessly. During a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s then necessary to show how their breach of care in driving while intoxicated resulted in the death of your loved one.

Another example would be in a situation where a dog attacks a person and results in their death. The owner of the animal had a duty of care in keeping their dangerous animal away from the public. If the dog escaped and attacked a person, the owner would have breached their duty of care regarding the animal.

Wrongful Death Circumstances

There are a variety of circumstances when a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued:

No Criminal Charges?

You may ask yourself, what happens if the person isn’t charged with a crime? While a criminal charge where the person is found guilty can certainly help with a civil wrongful death lawsuit, there is no need for the person at fault to be charged in the criminal courts. A Colorado wrongful death suit can stand on its own merit in situations where the person isn’t charged or is found innocent of the charges brought against them in a criminal court. As there are many differences between how criminal and civil cases are pursued, don’t be discouraged if there are no criminal charges being brought against the person.

Are you in a situation where a loved one died, and you believe that their death was the result of a breach of duty? It’s vital that you reach out to Roberts Accident Law as soon as possible to find out more about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Every situation is different and gathering evidence early in the process can often help determine if you have a case to go forward with and the next steps. Contact us today to discuss your loved one’s circumstances.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one is always difficult, but for some, it comes too soon because of a willful, careless, or negligent action taken by someone else. Learning more about the common causes of wrongful death can help you to understand whether or not you may have a wrongful death case to pursue for your family member.

Automobile Accident

One of the most commonly thought of causes of wrongful death is automobile accidents. A driver causing an accident due to drunk driving, texting while driving, or other distracted driving means that their negligent behavior to get behind the wheel of a car, truck willfully, or another vehicle placed the public in danger. Their direct actions resulted in the accident that caused the death of your loved one.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents involving vehicles and people outside of other cars are often devastating. As with automobile accidents, if the driver was involved in a careless or negligent action that caused them to strike a pedestrian, there is the potential for a wrongful death case against them.

Aviation Accidents

Plane accidents may not be as prevalent as car or truck accidents, but they can occur. Due to the very nature of flying, these accidents can often result in fatal consequences. Pilot error and mechanical issues are two areas where the death may be more than just an accident but was the direct result of someone’s negligence.

Medical Malpractice

Another common cause of wrongful death is medical malpractice. Some instances that can be considered medical malpractice include medication mistakes, birth injuries, surgical errors, defective medical devices, and similar health care issues. Physicians are kept to a high standard of care when treating patients for a good reason.

Product Liability

Manufacturers can be held liable when their products result in the death of a person using the item. In these cases, there is typically either a problem with the design or a problem with the material used to make the item. Product liability can also include when manufacturers don’t notify the public of a defect promptly to recall the item.

Workplace Accidents

Everyone is entitled to work in a safe workplace. While accidents that occur due to the fault of no one can happen, there are times when workplace accidents could have been prevented but occurred due to s negligent or careless action. Some examples include employers not providing the right safety equipment, an employer not providing proper training, and other activities that put employees at risk that resulted in a death.

Criminal Acts

When a person commits a criminal act that results in the death of a person, they were negligent and can be found to be responsible for their untimely death.

Nursing Homes

Often overlooked due to the victim’s age and health, nursing home abuse and negligence can also be considered a case of wrongful death when the staff at a nursing home don’t follow through on their duty of proper care.

If you believe that the death of your loved one was the result of one of these common causes of wrongful death, it’s essential that you speak to a legal professional. They can guide you toward the steps that you need to take as we advance with legal action. It can be beneficial to seek out legal assistance as early as possible in this situation. Contact our staff today to discuss your potential case.

Wrongful Death Process

After the death of a family member, it’s completely understandable to feel numb in the beginning stages of the grieving process. However, in instances when a wrongful death was involved, it’s essential that you understand the wrongful death process due to the legal system having particular deadlines that need to be met to litigate your case. Let’s go over the wrongful death process step by step to help you identify what will come next.

  1. The first step you should take when you suspect that someone is liable for the death of your family member and that a wrongful death lawsuit should possibly be filed is to seek out legal representation. You want to speak with someone familiar with wrongful death lawsuits that can help guide you through the steps of what’s to come. It can be valuable to do this early on because it’s easier for your legal team to gain fresh access to any witnesses and evidence in the case.
  2. Once you’ve found legal representation, they’ll need you to provide them with several documents to help with your case. Some examples of what they may require you to supply them with include the death certificate, medical and other bills, and other similar documentation. Your legal team should lay out everything they need for your particular case.
  3. After your representation has gathered their evidence and laid out the foundation of your case, the defendant in the case may seek to create a settlement meaning that your case would be settled without going into the courtroom. Your lawyer can help you understand the different possibilities between a settlement offered and what may happen if a case goes to court. While they can advise you on what they think about your chances, it’ll be up to you to decide what comes next.
  4. If a settlement is not offered or not accepted, the next step is to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant with the court. This stage officially starts your wrongful death suit in the court system.
  5. Once the lawsuit is filed, your case will go through the stages of litigation. It may be a bench trial where a judge makes a decision or a jury trial. Some of the stages of litigation you can expect during this step include any pre-trial events, the trial itself, and the potential for arbitration. At the end of the trial, your wrongful death case against the defendant could be dismissed, or they could be found liable for the death and required to pay damages. Damages often include the cost of medical bills, the funeral, loss of income, and other losses along with any pain and suffering.

The unfamiliar territory of any legal matter can be scary for anyone. Going through the grieving process while also handling a wrongful death lawsuit can seem daunting. Speaking with a legal professional as soon as possible is in your best interest. Contact our office today to discuss the particulars of your situation to learn more about how you can move forward.

Finding the At-Fault Party

When a loved one is killed in an accident, knowing who’s responsible is key. Unfortunately, it can be tough, too. You may not have even been present at the accident, and if the responsible person was at work, it can be even more complex.

Fortunately, that’s where your attorney in Denver comes in. We understand that finding liability can be a challenge. That’s why we’ll start by going over the evidence for your claim and reviewing any accounts of the fatal injury. That way, we should be able to determine who caused this wrongful death and who is responsible for it.

Determining Negligence in Wrongful Death

Going through a wrongful death lawsuit can be hard on the person’s loved ones. One of the most challenging elements of the lawsuit is determining negligence, as, without proof of the person being negligent, there is no case. Let’s discuss how the courts assess negligence regarding wrongful death cases and what you can expect.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

There are four elements of a wrongful death lawsuit that play a part in whether or not a case is possible. These elements include negligence, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Negligence means that a person’s action or inaction was careless or reckless and resulted in the death, such as not answering a call light at a nursing home. They acted in a manner that they shouldn’t have in the circumstance.

Breach of duty means that the person had the responsibility toward the individual, such as getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol. A lawsuit needs to show that the person had to abstain from a bad action or provide a positive action and that they were duty-bound to do so.

Causation is the linking between negligence and breach of duty to the death of the individual. It’s showing that these actions or inactions caused the death to occur, such as an accident with someone driving impaired on a day when the weather didn’t contribute to the accident. It’s necessary to prove that the death was directly due to negligence and the breach of duty rather than some other circumstance.

The final element is the damages that occurred due to the death. That element relates to any damages that are created by the wrongful death, such as hospital bills from the accident that caused the death or the funeral costs. As the death of a family member often has damages that aren’t as easily seen as a hospital bill, damages can also be awarded to make up for the loss of this person to the family.

Proving Negligence

A wrongful death lawsuit needs to be able to string each of these elements together to paint a picture of how the person’s negligent action or inaction was a breach of duty towards the victim where it directly caused their death and that there have been damages that occurred due to their death. While it can seem easy to pinpoint each of these elements in your particular case, a lawyer can go through and ensure that each component is supported enough by the rules of law.

Are you in a situation where you believe that a loved one’s death occurred due to someone’s negligence? One of the best things you can do is speak to a professional familiar with wrongful death cases right away. Getting legal advice early on can be beneficial when it comes to gathering evidence for your case. In addition, you can learn more about the laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits and learn more about your specific situation and whether or not a wrongful death case is suitable in your circumstances.

Who Can File For Wrongful Death

A wrongful death occurring in the family can be a stressful time. There are often so many unanswered questions, swirling emotions, and painful tasks to be handled. One question that can come up often is who can file the paperwork for a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. Depending on the family dynamics, it can be a touchy subject, but Colorado law helps narrow down your options when it comes to the individuals that can start the paperwork.

Determining Who Can File

In Colorado, the timing of the lawsuit plays a significant role in determining who can file it.

1st Year

During the first year following the wrongful death, several individuals have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. The current spouse is the primary individual to file. The children of the individual can file during the first year if they have permission from the spouse. In some cases, the spouse and children can file jointly.

In the situation where there is no spouse or children, two other parties are also able to file. The parents of the deceased may file on behalf of their child that has passed. The designated beneficiary of the deceased individual can file the wrongful death lawsuit, as well, in cases where no other family members are available.

2nd Year

The critical difference between the first year and the second year and who can file the lawsuit is when it comes to the children of the deceased. Everyone that can file in the first year can also file during the second year.

However, the requirements for filing in the first year, the children have to have permission from the spouse to file a wrongful death suit. During the second year, the children no longer need this permission to move forward with a lawsuit. Therefore, they can file independently without any input necessary from the spouse after the first year has passed.

Individuals Not Eligible

In Colorado, some individuals are not eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends cannot file unless they are legally the beneficiary of the individual that passed.

Waiting Too Long

Keep in mind that while only some parties are eligible to file in the first year and others in the second year, waiting too long can be an issue. A statute of limitations is put into place to create timelines for determining when too long has passed for legal action to take place.

Typical Statue of Limitation for Wrongful Death in Colorado

In Colorado, the statute of limitation for a wrongful death case is two years. What this exactly means is that you have two years from the date of the person’s death or two years from the discovery of the cause of death to bring about a lawsuit against the individual that is deemed to have caused the death. Waiting past this time period means that you’re too late in most instances to start the paperwork. You may even find that the defendant can use the delay as a way to dismiss your case.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the rule regarding the statute of limitation for wrongful death in Colorado.

In circumstances where an individual is believed to have died from natural causes, but it’s determined that homicide or medical malpractice was involved, the two years start at the time of discovery of the evidence that disputes the natural cause determination rather than when the person died. As it may take time for this evidence to come to light, this exception helps to make it possible to get justice in these cases later.

Some additional circumstances where the statute of limitation is more extended, such as birth injuries. In addition, cases of auto accidents especially hit and run cases, that resulted in a wrongful death may also have circumstances that cause there to be a longer statute of limitations for your wrongful death lawsuit. Finally, there are also incidents where it’s found that the defendant tried to hide evidence or other fraudulent action. Therefore, the statute of limitation can be extended.

The best thing to do when it comes to understanding the wrongful death statute of limitation is to speak to an attorney.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait

While you do have two years, it’s often not a good idea to wait until the last minute to start this process. The sooner you get in touch with a legal professional, the better. Getting the process started earlier means that evidence, witnesses, and more will be able to be gathered sooner rather than later and will better support your case. As time passes, witnesses may forget vital details, or evidence may get lost in the shuffle. The quicker a lawsuit is started, the more complete it can be compared to waiting.

Are you considering a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado? It’s beneficial to contact the professionals at Robert Accident Law who has experience with similar cases to go over the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. Let us help you determine if you have a valid claim and help you plan the next steps in filing a lawsuit.

Compensation Offered for Denver Families

Once you’ve found whether you’re eligible to file a fatal accident claim, you’ll need to know what your claim is worth. Your family deserves compensation for all the losses suffered, both financial and emotional.

The economic losses you’ve suffered will typically cover any funds you’ve lost through the situation. For example, if your loved one passed away because of a car accident, the vehicle may have been totaled. That leaves you struggling with those property losses on top of everything else.

However, you’re primarily also grieving. You lost a family member, and that can take an emotional toll. The damage to your enjoyment of life can be serious, so you’ll need a wrongful death attorney in Denver to help you find how much these kinds of intangible losses are worth.

If you’re dealing with a wrongful death claim, you may be eligible for the following damages:

In addition to these losses, the estate’s representative can also seek other damages. They may also ask for compensation for the deceased’s final hospital bills, as well as the costs for a funeral and burial.

Colorado Laws Affecting Your Fatal Accident Claim

You’ll also need to speak to your lawyer not just about getting your full compensation but about protecting your claim. Colorado law can dismiss your claim if you’re not careful, leaving you struggling to overcome your losses without resources.

For example, you may already know that there are certain time limits for an injury claim in Denver. You will only have two years total to file your claim after the accident. If you’re a child of the deceased, that means you’ll essentially have one year to file your claim, so let your lawyer know quickly about your case.

Why It Is Important to Have a Wrongful Death Attorney

Your loved one’s death was due to the actions or inactions of another person, but what comes next? It’s possible, depending on the circumstances surrounding their wrongful death, that you may have different parties offering you a settlement directly, such as an insurance company representing the defendant. So, do you really need to have a wrongful death attorney when you could settle without one? The short answer is yes. You probably should speak with a wrongful death attorney before making any decisions about a settlement or other offer.

Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

Their expertise is invaluable when it comes to a wrongful death case. They understand how these types of cases work, the settlement you should be entitled to based on your situation, and the best way to move forward. You may think that the insurance company would be fair in their settlement offer, but that might not be the case. An insurance company seeks to protect themselves as much as possible from having to pay out more than they think they should have to pay. Having a legal representative sends a strong message that you’re protected by someone ready to fight for you from start to finish.

You also get the benefit of their experience. As a legal professional that’s dealt with similar cases before, they understand what your claim should be worth, they know what evidence needs to be gathered, and other information that will help strengthen your claim. Their experience can steer you in the right direction.

A wrongful death attorney can provide a level head when things seem like they are spinning out of control when it comes to your case. Grief and loss can impair your actions and potentially cause you to make a decision that you’d regret later on, such as not moving forward with a wrongful death suit or taking the first settlement offered. As an unbiased party, they can best help guide you through the legal world.

You benefit from knowing that no matter what happens with your case, your wrongful death attorney can handle every aspect. They can go through helping you create a fair settlement offer, and if rejected, they can conduct the duties necessary for a trial. Not having a legal representative from the start can cost you time if you decide that you eventually want to take your case to trial. You will have to wait to find someone to represent you, and it may take them time to build a case from what information you have available to you at that time.

Protect yourself and your family by speaking with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Speaking with a legal professional can give you the peace of mind that you’re doing the best thing possible for your future after such a significant loss in your life. However, it can be beneficial not to wait for legal advice in this situation. Evidence can go missing or not be gathered. Witnesses can move or fall out of touch. Time can be of the essence for building a case. Contact Roberts Accident Law today to discuss the specifics of your situation.

At Roberts Accident Law we know a lawsuit may not bring your loved one back, but it can help you recover your losses and focus on your grief, not on your finances. We want you to know that we’re the right law firm for you before you begin. In our free consultation, we’ll review your claim first, showing you what you need to know and how we’ll handle your case.

When you’re ready for your free consultation, your Denver wrongful death lawyer is waiting for you. To begin, reach out by calling 720-515-7058 or by filling out the online form below.

Denver Wrongful Death FAQ

What is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought regarding the death when someone dies?

A civil case generally will have to do with a dispute between individuals or organizations where there is a disagreement over the rights and duties owed to each other. A criminal case occurs when the government seeks to punish an individual for a crime. During a criminal case, the burden of proof is higher, and the punishment sought is imprisonment. During a civil case, the penalty is generally a monetary judgment.

Can I bring a wrongful death action if my spouse didn’t contribute to our family’s monthly income?

Yes, even if your spouse does not have a job, they contribute to your family in other ways. For example, if your spouse is a stay-at-home mother or father, they contribute service, nurturing, and guidance to the family; these contributions are classified as “pecuniary losses.”

Can you sue for the pain and suffering of the decedent?

Yes, if the decedent suffered prior to their death, the family can recover damages for their pain and suffering.

How to Win a Wrongful Death Suit?

There are a few factors that help to elevate your odds of being able to win a wrongful death suit. The first is getting an experienced legal representative early on in the process. Getting witness accounts and gathering evidence as soon as possible can make a difference in the quality of evidence presented in this type of case. Over time, witnesses may move or start to forget critical details, and evidence may be harder to find. Your legal counsel will be able to build a case using the different elements of a wrongful death case: they can show the person being named in the suit had a duty of care towards your loved one, they will demonstrate how the person’s action or inaction caused a breach in their duty of care, and that this action or inaction directly caused the death of your loved one. So, the bottom line when it comes to increasing your chances of a successful wrongful death suit is finding a lawyer who can help you build the strongest case possible based on your particular situation.

What Are the Odds of Winning a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

One question that is often asked is about the odds that a person has in winning a wrongful death lawsuit, and the truth of the matter is that there isn’t a simple answer to this question. It’s difficult to define or assign a percentage to the chance of being able to win a wrongful death lawsuit because there are so many different variables involved. The best way to have this question answered is by speaking with an attorney experienced in wrongful death lawsuits. They can weigh all of the evidence in your particular situation and help you understand whether or not you may be successful in winning such a lawsuit. Keep in mind that there is never any guarantee that a case will be successful or not.

When contacting a legal professional, they will want to determine if your case will have all the elements needed to prove a wrongful death lawsuit. First, they have to show that the individual that is to be named in the suit had a duty of care towards your loved one. There must be evidence that they somehow breached the duty of care. The case must also demonstrate a link between the death of a loved one and that breached duty of care. The best way to increase your odds of winning a wrongful death lawsuit is to get the help of an experienced attorney as early as possible in the process.

How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?

Negligence is at the heart of every wrongful death lawsuit, as it was the negligent behavior that is said to have caused the death of the person. Still, it must be proven that the person was negligent in their behavior to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit. The key to proving negligence in a wrongful death case is evidence. That evidence can be physical evidence gathered by police or other investigators. It can also be eyewitness statements.

In some cases, the evidence of negligence is easy to prove, such as in a car accident where the individual that was at fault for causing the fatal crash was intoxicated at the time they were driving. Every driver has a duty of care to not illegally drive while they are impaired by drugs or alcohol, and by driving while drunk, they breached that duty of care. By causing an accident, their negligence was directly involved in the crash that resulted in your loved one’s death. Evidence that shows they were intoxicated would be how negligence would be proved in this particular case. In other cases, the evidence may be harder to gather, and that’s why legal representation can be so vital as they know what types of evidence to look for in a particular situation and how to best safeguard it.

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