No circumstance is more challenging to endure than the loss of a loved one. It can be even more difficult for the surviving loved ones when the death was caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person, company, or organization. However, if this is the case, a surviving family member may be able to hire a wrongful death attorney and file a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, they may be financially compensated for economic and noneconomic damages that they have suffered as a result of the untimely loss.
In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at wrongful death suits to understand more about this specific type of personal injury claim. We review common causes of wrongful death lawsuits, who can file one of these claims, what types of damages can be recovered by the surviving family member, and more.
At the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, our entire team of Denver personal injury attorneys is dedicated to defending your rights to ensure justice. Whether you were involved in a car accident, truck accident, bicycle accident, or you’re filing a wrongful death suit, we’ll work hard to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Even if you’re not sure if your case is eligible for financial compensation, give us a call. It only takes a few minutes to set up your free consultation to see what your case is really worth.
What is a Wrongful Death Suit?
If someone loses their life due to the negligent actions or misconduct of another party, a surviving family member or loved one may file a specific personal injury lawsuit known as a wrongful death lawsuit. These specific lawsuits seek out compensation for the surviving family member’s losses. These losses may include economic and/or noneconomic damages, such as funeral expenses or emotional distress.
A wrongful death claim may occur when someone dies due to the legal fault or negligence of another person, business, or even a government organization. This party at fault could be an individual, such as a drunk driver, or a business that showed neglect by creating and selling a defective product that has led to the loss of a life. The specifics of wrongful death suits vary from state to state, but they generally define who may sue for wrongful death and establish the limits that may be applied to any financial compensation for damages.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While no two wrongful death cases are the exact same, there are several common causes that account for a large percentage of these lawsuits. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Car accidents.
- Medical malpractice.
- Workplace accidents.
- Defective products.
- Truck accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Determining just who can legally file a wrongful death lawsuit varies from state to state. This is because states vary on how they define a real party of interest, which can be considered someone who has suffered harm from the person’s death who was killed due to negligent actions. All states in the US allow for family members, including spouses and children and parents of unmarried individuals, to pursue a wrongful death suit. Some states, however, may also allow for siblings or grandparents to pursue legal compensation.
In the state of Colorado, time plays an important factor in wrongful death suits. In the first year following the accident, the spouse of the deceased is the only person who can legally file a wrongful death suit. After the first year, the children of the deceased may then also be allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Suit?
The primary challenge for any wrongful death suit, of course, is being able to prove that the untimely loss was caused by the negligent actions. of another party. Without the experience and guidance provided by a wrongful death attorney, it can be almost impossible to successfully provide the evidence necessary for reaching a settlement in your favor.
To successfully present a wrongful death suit, you and your wrongful death attorney will be required to prove the following:
- The death of a person.
- That the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or with intent to cause harm.
- The monetary suffering of surviving family members that was directly caused by this loss of life.
- The appointment of a representative for the decedent’s estate.
What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Suit?
If you are able to prove that a loved one died due to negligence or intentionality behind a wrongful action, you may be entitled to economic and/or noneconomic compensation. The judge or jury will consider earning at the time of death and potential future payments to calculate the total financial loss caused by this untimely loss of life. Economic damages that may be recovered include:
- Medical bills.
- Funeral costs.
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
- Property loss.
- Loss of income.
- Loss of parental guidance (for children of the deceased).
In addition to these economic damages, you may also be eligible to receive compensation for noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages may include compensation for emotional suffering and trauma.
In some cases, a surviving family member may also file a “survival action” claim. This may occur when the decedent does not die immediately. Survival action claims may include compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the decedent in their final days or weeks. This degree of pain and suffering may be determined by factors such as the severity of the pain and injuries, degree of consciousness, and the decedent’s awareness of impending death.
It’s also important to note that wrongful deaths are civil suits, but in some circumstances they may also carry criminal charges. Generally, the criminal charge associated with a wrongful death case would be murder or manslaughter.
Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
If you believed the loss of a loved one was caused by someone else’s negligent or intentionally harmful actions, you shouldn’t hesitate to pursue legal action. But you shouldn’t pursue this course of action alone. Hiring a wrongful death attorney will greatly improve your odds of filing a successful claim. Very few people outside of the legal profession have the experience and knowledge to effectively file a claim with all the necessary paperwork and legal steps involved. A wrongful death attorney can help you understand your potential claim and determine the best course of action.
Conclusion – What is a Wrongful Death Suit?
If you have lost a family member due to the negligent actions of another person, company, or organization, then you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your damages. Damages in a wrongful death suit may include medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income, or even noneconomic damages, such as emotional pain and suffering.
Hiring a wrongful death attorney can improve your chances of winning a wrongful death lawsuit and receiving the financial compensation you deserve. These personal injury experts can help you understand your case, walk you through the legal process, and determine the full value of your claim. If needed, they’ll also represent you in court.
Don’t wait. Contact Denver’s top personal injury attorneys at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation. Together, we’ll discover the best options available for you and your case to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.