Colorado Wrongful Death Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with Colorado personal injury lawyers
Losing a loved one under any circumstances is devastating. Losing a loved one in an accident caused by the negligence of another can compound the tragedy and leave a family with many more questions than answers. If you are looking for a lawyer for someone who died, Colorado has many law firms to choose from; you may be overwhelmed by the options. Countless billboards line I-70 into Denver, and a Google search elicits thousands of results.
Though it may be difficult, it is critical that you and your family take the time to find a Colorado personal injury lawyer who will take your case as seriously as you do. If you and your family are dealing with the loss of a loved one after a wrongful death accident, call (800) 863-5312 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Zinda Law Group today.
What is wrongful death?
Simply put, a wrongful death case comes from a death that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another party. Most commonly, these kinds of cases involve proving that the other party acted negligently. Proving that another party was negligent requires four key elements.
First, you must prove that the party from whom you are looking to recover had a duty to act in a certain way. For example, drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road to drive in a safe way, obeying all laws and rules of the road.
After establishing precisely what the duty is, you must then show that the other party breached it. If you were able to establish that a ski lift operator, for example, was required to have their lifts inspected at regular intervals and did not do so, then they may be liable for damages caused by an accident involving a ski lift failure.
Once it is determined what the duty was and that the other party breached it, the victim must be able to show that this breach was what caused their damages. If someone is acting negligently but there is an entirely different cause of the victim’s injuries, then it is unlikely that the negligent party will be liable to pay any damages.
Finally, the party who is seeking compensation must be able to show that they suffered actual damages. This can take the form of medical bills, damage to your personal property, or lost wages from being unable to work for a period of time.
Who can file a Colorado wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death cases are obviously different from most other personal injury claims in that the victim is not able to bring their own case. This means that an important first step in a Colorado wrongful death case is determining who, exactly, is legally allowed to bring a claim for damages. In Colorado, the answer to this inquiry is determined by statute.
In the first year after the person’s death, only the deceased’s spouse may bring a claim, subject to certain exceptions. The surviving spouse may elect in writing to let the deceased’s children file a claim or they can join with their children to file a claim together. If the person was unmarried, then their children or any other designated beneficiary may bring a claim.
In the second year after the person’s death, if no one else has filed a claim, then the list of potential claimants grows larger and does not require exceptions to be made in writing. This list includes the deceased’s surviving spouse, the deceased’s surviving children, and the deceased’s eligible designated beneficiary.
If you are someone whose family member has died recently and you believe you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, you may be wondering, “Someone died… who do I sue?” A good first step is to speak with a Colorado wrongful death lawyer to determine if you are even a party who is allowed to sue.
Types of wrongful death cases
A wrongful death can result from a large variety of circumstances. However, a few types of accidents lead to wrongful death claims more often than others.
When talking about wrongful deaths, car accidents top the list, given how often people drive and the sheer number of vehicles on the road. In Colorado, there are hundreds of fatal crashes on the state’s roadways each year. Though there are accidents that can occur without any fault, the vast majority of car accidents happen because of the negligence of one or more drivers, which can take the form of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or driving while texting. If any of these apply, then the negligent driver may be liable for the injuries that they cause.
Doctors follow a strict licensing procedure and the vast majority of them are highly skilled and extremely cautions, but mistakes do happen. Mistakes can occur when medical professionals cut corners or don’t follow the proper procedures; some of the more common mistakes include misdiagnoses and errors during surgery.
The term “workplace accident” can conjure up images of huge pieces of machinery or explosions at an oilfield, but workplace accidents can happen anywhere. While some Coloradoans might be at a higher risk given the large amounts of construction, oil and gas, and agriculture jobs that exist in the state, anyone who is on the job can be at risk of suffering a workplace accident. If a family member of yours has lost their life due to an accident on the job, there could be compensation available for you.
Producers and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they put onto the market are tested thoroughly and are safe for their proper use. They also have obligations to provide proper warnings of any dangerous components. If the breach of this responsibility leads to a wrongful death, then it could lead to liability for a product merchant or producer.
How to file a wrongful death claim
Pursuing a wrongful death claim in Colorado can take a little time and quite a bit of effort, but you don’t have to do all of the work yourself. When you contact Zinda Law Group and explain the circumstances of your case in a 100% free and confidential conversation with one of our experienced attorneys, you are beginning with the most important step.
1. Contact a Colorado Wrongful Death Attorney
The first step after your loss should be to contact an experienced attorney who will be able to give you a better idea of whether or not you have a compensable claim, what your case could be worth, and what your options are for pursuing compensation. Family members of a wrongful death victim should look for an attorney with experience handling similar claims and access to sufficient resources to file an effective claim. You’ll want an attorney whose caseload isn’t too large to prevent them from giving your case the attention that it deserves.
2. Open a Probate Estate
Because the deceased cannot bring an action on their own, their estate must act on their behalf. Your attorney should be able to navigate you through this process.
3. Research and Investigate
After you hire an attorney, they can begin the process of gathering all of the information they will need to build a successful case. This will vary widely depending on the specific kind of wrongful death accident that occurred, but it can include things like analyzing medical records and interviewing doctors, looking into employment standards of a company or government agency, and researching the applicable Colorado laws and statutes.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
After they have all of the information they need, your attorney can begin the process of negotiating a settlement with the proper parties. Seeking maximum compensation is a delicate process that requires a proper understanding of the valuation of a case, as well as effective argumentation strategies for emphasizing the strong points of a claim while minimizing the impact of any of its weaker points.
Dealing with insurance companies
In most cases, the negligent party will have some sort of insurance to deal with any potential accidents. This means that it is important to understand a bit about how insurance companies operate. First, remember that insurance companies are businesses first and foremost. This means that they exist to make a profit; to do this, their goal is to take in as much in premiums as they can and pay out as little as they are legally obligated to. Your best interest is not their main concern
In light of this, communicating with insurance companies can be a minefield. Insurance companies often employ claims adjusters who have the goal of getting information or statements from you that could damage your claim. It is typically best, therefore, to let your attorney handle the majority of the communications with insurance companies. When you do give information, give no more information than is necessary and confer with your attorney about how to handle any questions or requests that come your way.
Call zinda law group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation
Dealing with the death of a loved one due to a wrongful death accident is an extremely stressful experience. Attempting to go it alone or with the wrong attorney can compound these stressors even further. Zinda Law Group stands at the ready to be able to help you and your family through this very difficult time. In addition, we believe that no accident victim should have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we offer our No-Win, No-Fee guarantee. You don’t pay us anything until we win your case for you.