Basics Of Wrongful Death Recovery
Following the unexpected loss of a loved one, you are likely overwhelmed with questions. How will you piece your life back together? How will you support yourself and your family? How can you obtain financial recovery?
At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., we can guide you through the process for exploring recovery. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of navigating wrongful death cases. We not only help with the recovery process; we also provide practical, comprehensive legal guidance in all areas of your life that have been impacted by your loss.
What Is A Wrongful Death Case?
Those responsible for the deaths of others are legally and financially liable. When anyone’s death stems from the negligence or destructive acts of others, the family of the deceased has the standing to file a lawsuit to recover damages. This is possible due to the legal principal behind most civil litigation: tort law.
The word “tort” simply means harm. Tort law, then, is essentially “harm law” and from a legal standpoint, if a party harms you in any way, then you have the right to claim compensation. In this way, the loss of a family member, is a “harm” to you, and that is why people can pursue compensation. Additionally, as wrongful death is a civil matter it is not dependent on criminal charges in any way.
Wrongful death lawsuits are a way for family members to recover from the financial losses they suffer after a loved one dies. These losses include lost future, medical bills incurred and possibly other damages.
Do I Have A Wrongful Death Case?
In virtually any accident where negligence plays a part, you may have a wrongful death case. Most commonly, wrongful death suits come from car crashes, unsafe private property conditions and defective products.
However, to understand the full possibilities of your case, you may wish to speak with us. Contact us by email or call 303-395-4773. We will set up a meeting to review the case and give our perspective on its viability.
Is There A Time Limit On When I Need To File My Wrongful Death Case?
Colorado’s statute of limitations, in wrongful death cases, depends on the circumstances. In most cases, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the initial incident. However, there is an exception to this rule. If your loved one was the victim of a hit-and-run, and the person responsible faces vehicular homicide charges, you have an additional two years to file your suit.
Who Can Obtain Recovery?
The first question to explore is whether you have legal standing – that is, whether you can file suit to obtain financial recovery. The answer to this question depends on your relationship with the deceased. Generally, the law permits recovery as follows:
- Death of a married person: During the first year following the death, only the spouse is qualified to obtain recovery. During the second year, both the spouse and any heirs (lineal descendants) can pursue recovery.
- Death of a child: Parents can recover damages for the death of their unmarried children so long as the person who passed away does not have children of his or her own.
- Death of a parent: If the parent is married, only the spouse can pursue recovery during the first year. The children can pursue recovery during the second year. Aunts, uncles and cousins cannot recover.
- Death of a sibling: Colorado courts do not permit siblings to obtain recovery.
- Death of a friend: Unfortunately, even in the case of a close friend, you cannot obtain recovery absent a familial relationship.
What Can You Recover?
Wrongful death cases can yield multiple types of damages, including:
- Medical bills related to the injury that resulted in death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages, including any wages lost due to the injury as well as future earnings
- Benefits that the decedent would have been entitled to obtain
- Loss of companionship and other emotional losses suffered by the survivors
We devote the time and attention necessary to conduct a full investigation and uncover all potential sources of financial recovery. We work with trusted medical and economic experts to conduct a thorough evaluation and present compelling evidence.
Is There A Difference Between A Wrongful Death Case And A Personal Injury Case?
The basis for a personal injury case and a wrongful death case both come from “tort law” as we described above. However, aside from the general legal similarities, wrongful death claims are much greater in terms of complexity and possible recovery.
The reason that wrongful death claims are more complex is that the case attempts to place a value on what you have lost. There is no way to place a number on that. We pursue the maximum compensation for our clients and fight for what they deserve.
What Is A Survival Action?
“Survival action” in a sense means that cases do not end just because the plaintiff passes away. In survival actions, the person’s death is not part of the legal matter. It is instead the deceased’s surviving family continuing on with the case on their behalf.
If a lawsuit such as a defamation lawsuit or a personal injury case or any other civil matter is ongoing and the plaintiff dies, their survivors inherit their claims. Furthermore, if the deceased had standing to file a lawsuit and passed before doing so – provided the statute of limitation has not passed – their heirs may file.
Contact Us · Denver, Westminster & Breckenridge Attorneys Handling All Types Of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases involve relatively short deadlines. It is important to act quickly to preserve your rights. To learn more about the basics of wrongful death recovery in Denver and statewide, call 303-395-4773. You can also contact us online for an initial consultation with one of our lawyers.