Aurora Wrongful Death Lawyers
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It is difficult enough to suffer through the death of a loved one, but it can be even more devastating when your loved one’s death could have been prevented. You may have lost your loved one to a negligent driver in a car accident or to an employer who failed to keep your loved one safe. If this has happened in your family, you may be able to recover compensation.
Aurora wrongful death attorneys know how to help you through the legal process of pursuing compensation for your loss. This article will discuss wrongful death lawsuits and why you might consider hiring a personal injury lawyer in Aurora.
When does a wrongful death occur?
A wrongful death occurs when someone is killed due to someone else’s actions. Wrongful death lawsuits fall under personal injury claims because the cause of the victim’s wrongful death arises from the kind of action—intentional, negligent, or strict liability—that brings about a personal injury claim. However, wrongful death actions are not brought by the person who suffered the fatal injury but by the family of the victim to recover for the losses the family members incur from the loved one’s death.
The person who causes the death could be responsible for paying you compensation for the pain and suffering that your loved one experienced before death, you and your loved one’s missed wages, funeral expenses, and your loss of companionship. If you are unsure about whether you can recover on behalf of your loved one, you might want to contact a death lawyer to calculate the strength of your case.
Can I sue for My loved one’s wrongful death?
Colorado has its own set of criteria regarding who can file on behalf of the deceased for a wrongful death suit. Your relationship to the deceased affects when you can file, and recovery is also limited by the kinds of relationships the deceased bears to the survivors.
Usually, family members can only file one wrongful death suit. If you are unsure whether your family members will allow you to participate in the wrongful death claim or if you want to permit your loved one’s family members to join the suit, you can ask an Aurora personal injury attorney to help you correctly and successfully file the claim.
If I am the Deceased’s Surviving Spouse?
In Colorado, a surviving spouse may file a wrongful death claim within the first year of the deceased’s death. Other members may also join the suit if the surviving spouse permits them.
If I am the Deceased’s Child?
After the first year has passed since the deceased’s death, surviving children can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of their parent.
If I am the Deceased’s Parent?
After the second year has passed since the deceased’s death, surviving parents can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of their child. However, parents are only permitted to do this if their child does not have a surviving spouse or children.
If I Inherit the Deceased’s Estate?
If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, a representative of the deceased’s estate can file a suit on behalf of the deceased’s heirs. However, if the representative files the suit, the representative would file a survival action instead of a wrongful death action. A survival action is filed to recover for the damages that the deceased suffered, which is contrasted with the damages that the beneficiaries suffer as a result of the loss of the deceased in an action for wrongful death.
Kinds of wrongful death cases
For the reasons mentioned earlier, the kinds of wrongful death cases will largely correlate with the common kinds of personal injury cases. Personal injury cases can be intentional acts by another to cause you harm, negligence of another that either directly or proximately causes you harm, or strict liability of some entity who must take responsibility if their product or activity caused you harm.
The following are the varieties of cases that could allow you to file a wrongful death claim along with examples specific to each category. If you do not see your case among the examples but you think you could still be entitled to recovery under a wrongful death action, contact an accident lawyer to learn about your options.
Intentional claims arise when someone intentionally acts in a way that harms another person. If the person acts with general intent, then that person intended to act in a way that caused the injury but did not intend the specific consequences of the injury. For example, if someone pulls the chair out from under someone else as a joke, the person intended the action of pulling the chair but not necessarily the victim’s broken hip as a result of falling down.
If a person acts with specific intent, then the person intends both the action and the consequences. There, the person might pull the chair specifically to injure the victim.
Each intentional claim has its own set of elements that you must prove in order to win your case; common examples of these claims include battery, assault, false imprisonment, trespass to land, trespass to chattels, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. If you believe that the wrongful death of your loved one was caused by one of these actions, you should talk to an accident attorney to learn more about how to prove the specific elements of the case.
Unlike intentional acts, negligence cases must all meet a particular set of criteria. In a negligence claim for wrongful death, you must show that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty by failing to provide your loved one the appropriate standard of care, that your loved one’s death was a result of that breach, and that your suffering after the loved one’s death was directly caused by the actions of the defendant.
Duty to the Deceased
There are certain duties that some parties owe others simply by nature of their relationship. A business owner must keep customers safe to the extent that an ordinary prudent person would try to prevent foreseeable harm. If the defendant owed your loved one a duty and breached the duty by failing to meet the appropriate standard of care, then the defendant may be liable to you for your damages.
Your Injury from Losing the Deceased
Next, you must prove that the defendant’s breach either directly or proximately caused the death of your loved one. You must also show that the injuries you suffered were caused by the death of your loved one.
Common examples of wrongful death cases caused by negligence include medical malpractice (in which doctors or nurses commit surgical errors or incorrect treatment or diagnosis), car accidents (from drunk, reckless, or distracted driving or from speeding), and workplace accidents (in construction, logging, or even less traditionally dangerous jobs).
The defendant’s intent and ability to foresee danger does not matter in strict liability cases. If the events of your loved one’s death most appropriately fall under strict liability, it is likely that your loved one’s wrongful death occurred from either an abnormally dangerous activity or from products liability.
Abnormally dangerous activities are those that are not of common usage and create a risk of foreseeable harm regardless of whether the defendant exercises reasonable care. In products liability cases, a manufacturer can be held strictly liable for the damage that its product caused your loved one, particularly when the product was defective.
A manufacturer may have produced an automobile with a defect that caused a fatal accident for your loved one, or a medical company may have produced a defective device. In any case, the product must have been defective when the defendant sold it and the product’s defect must have caused the deceased’s death.
Should i hire a lawyer near me in aurora, CO?
When you take into account whether you want to hire an injury lawyer, it can be beneficial to know the ways a lawyer in your hometown of Aurora can help you with your case. A lawyer not only knows how to categorize a wrongful death claim and how to prove the elements specific to your case, but an experienced injury attorney also knows when to file your claim in order to comply with the statute of limitations. Additionally, the attorney knows what kind of compensation you could receive for your injury and how the settlement should be distributed if you have multiple family members filing together.
Talk to the lawyers at Zinda Law Group
If you have suffered from the wrongful loss of a loved one, our compassionate wrongful death lawyers would like to talk to you and hear your story. Call the Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312 in order to schedule your free consultation.
Our lawyers are ready to help you through the legal process and to try to get you compensated. We have a No Win, No Fee Guarantee to ensure that you do not pay us unless we win your case.