Losing a loved one will have a ripple effect that influences every aspect of your life. From your grief and the emotional pain of other members of your family to the financial implications of your loss, you will likely need months to adjust to your new reality and years to fully recover from the impact of a tragic loss.
Although everyone eventually dies, some people die far sooner than they should because of something another person or business has done. Drunk drivers, manufacturers of defective products and someone texting while driving could cause end someone’s life. When do the surviving family members of a person who dies in a preventable incident have the right to file a wrongful death claim in Colorado?
You need to be a close or dependent family member
Wrongful death statutes in Colorado focus primarily on protecting family members from the long-term consequences of a sudden death. Generally, spouses, children and parents have the strongest statutory right to the wrongful death claim after a loved one passes in Colorado. However, spouses are the only ones with the right to file in the first year after the death. Parents only have a right if there are no children or spouse to file a claim.
The situation that killed your loved one must meet certain criteria
Some deaths are accidental, meaning that no one could reasonably prevent them. Others are clearly the result of the actions or omission of someone else. If evidence supports your claim that wrongful acts (criminal intent), unskillfulness or negligence by an individual or a business directly led to your loved one’s death, then your family may be in a position to file a wrongful death claim.
You need to take action in a timely manner
The wrongful-death statutes in Colorado don’t just limit claims to family members and certain scenarios. There’s also a window of time in which you can initiate a claim. You will generally only have up to two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The sooner you look at circumstances with a critical eye and explore your legal options, the more options you will have for seeking compensation and holding the person or business responsible for the impact of their actions.