When a person sustains an injury, develops an illness, or suffers economic losses due to the negligence of another party, the injured party has the right to pursue compensation for their damages through a personal injury claim. However, if the victim does not survive their experience, a wrongful death claim filed by their surviving family can functionally replace the personal injury claim they could have filed had they survived.
Experiencing a wrongful death in the family can create an intense mix of grief, frustration, and uncertainty for the surviving family. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we realize that no amount of compensation can ever replace a lost loved one, but we also understand that gaining financial stability can make it easier for surviving family members to move on with everyday life. If you have recently lost a relative due to the negligent actions of another party, we can help you hold them accountable with a wrongful death claim.
If a negligent party caused the death of your loved one, navigating the legal proceedings involved in a wrongful death claim can be incredibly difficult without legal representation. If you attempt to handle your wrongful death claim alone, you are vulnerable to making critical errors that can seriously impact the outcome of your case. Even in seemingly clear-cut cases, the average person simply does not havethe formal training and experience necessary to secure the best results. It is far too easy to have a case thrown outover a minor mistake or settle for far less than you should because you are unaware of the avenues of compensation available to you.
Not only would you face these risks if you do not hire a Denver wrongful death lawyer, but you would need to confront them while also managing your grief and the economic aftermath of your loved one’s death. Working with an experienced team of attorneys allows you and your family to mourn in peace and focus on your everyday lives with reassurance that your case is in trustworthy hands. Cheney Galluzzi & Howard will handle your legal proceedings on your behalf and help you assess the full scope of your claimable damages.
Colorado state law upholds several legal provisions regarding wrongful death claims, limiting when they may be filed and who may file them. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the death in question. During the first year immediately following the death, only the decedent’s surviving spouse can file a claim, or a child or designated beneficiary of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim if the decedent did not have a spouse. During the second year following the death, the decedent’s spouse, heirs, and designated beneficiaries may file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent had no spouse or children, their parent may file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death.
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims revolve around the legal concept of negligence. This means that the plaintiff in a wrongful death claim must identify the defendant responsible for the death in question, prove they breached a duty of care in the situation in question in some way that caused the death, and provide a complete accounting of the damages resulting from the death. “Negligence” means a failure to act with reasonable care, or a failure to uphold a duty of care in a given situation. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, distracted driving, medical malpractice, dog attacks, and defective products are some of the most commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths in the Denver, CO area.
A wrongful death claim compensates the decedent’s family for their loss by providing both economic and non-economic damages. Colorado does not cap or limit economic damages, but the plaintiffs must prove the full extent of their claimed economic damages in the wrongful death claim. These economic damages can include the income the decedent would have earned until retirement had they survived, the value of household services they provided, and reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
Noneconomic damages include compensation for the family’s pain and suffering, namely their loss of affection, care, consortium, guidance, and moral support provided by the decedent. Colorado limits the maximum non-economic damages available from a wrongful death claim, and thisamount fluctuates each year.
In the event the decedent did not die immediately from the defendant’s negligence, they may have incurred medical expenses and other economic losses between their final illness or injury and their death. These damages are considered damages of their estate, and the surviving family would need to file a survival action to recover these losses. A Denver wrongful death attorney will help you and your loved ones navigate the complex legal proceedings involved in a wrongful death action, including filing a survival action if your situation demands it.
The right legal team can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a wrongful death case. Your Denver wrongful death attorney can begin handling your case by gathering as much evidence as possible to help prove liability for the death in question. Next, they can assist you in gathering the documentation you will need to prove the full extent of your losses. For example, if you intend to claim compensation for the income your loved one would have likely earned in the future, your attorney can help you calculate this amount, accounting for their age versus expected retirement age, pay increases, inflation, and various other factors.
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another party is never easy and having a Denver wrongful death attorney you can trust during this challenging time is an invaluable asset. If you and your family are ready to take legal action for a recent wrongful death, it’s essential to obtain the legal representation you need as soon as possible for the best chance of securing the maximum recovery for your family’s losses.
Cheney Galluzzi & Howard can provide the wrongful death representation you need. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced Denver wrongful death lawyer.
Any injury caused by the negligence of another to a family member or loved one can be devastating. But there are no words that do justice to the pain that is felt when that negligence leads to death.
The reality is that no amount of money is going to ever fill that void. But the law does allow you to hold the negligent party responsible in court. In Colorado, that is called a wrongful death action.
For those times, you need an attorney who will fight for you.
A wrongful death action, in theory, is straightforward. The goal is to compensate a family for the grief, pain and loss it suffers from the death of a member due to the negligent act of another. It covers deaths caused by things like someone’s negligence driving a car, a doctor’s negligent surgery, or the negligent design or manufacture of a product, among many other things.
A wrongful death action should not be confused with a survival action, which can be brought on behalf of the estate of the person who died. For example, a survival action would include the medical bills of someone who passed away but a wrongful death action would not. On the other hand, a wrongful death action would compensate for the pain and suffering of the family while a survivor action would compensate for the pain and suffering of the person who died.
Wrongful death actions get more complicated when discussing who may bring them and what they may recover.
Colorado limits wrongful death actions to the surviving spouse or children, and, in some limited situations, surviving parents. For example, if Mr. Victim dies after being hit by a drunk driver, his wife may file a wrongful death claim. If she declines and he has children, his children may bring a wrongful death action. If Mr. Victim has no spouse and no children, his parents may bring a wrongful death action. However, other relatives such as siblings, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, may never bring wrongful death actions.
At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we understand that other people may also be impacted by the loss of a loved one, but for better or worse, the State of Colorado has limited wrongful death actions to those most likely to be financially impacted because of the death: the spouse or children.
It gets even more complicated when discussing the damages the individual(s) bringing the wrongful death action may recover. Wrongful death actions are primarily about noneconomic damages such as pain, suffering, grief, anguish and other emotions felt by those bringing the claim resulting from the death. In most situations, those damages are capped at roughly $341,000 per death, but there may be certain situations, like when the death results from medical malpractice, where the cap is lower. You may not recover for the pain the deceased person felt, as that is covered in a survivor action.
The economic damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death action are limited. Generally, they include the funeral costs incurred by the person bringing the wrongful death action. Additionally, the spouse or minor children of the deceased individual may recover for the amount of financial benefit they might have received if the person had not been killed.
At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we understand how traumatic and hard losing a loved one can be. If you call our Denver law office at 303-209-9395, or contact us online, you will always be treated with respect and professionalism.
From the very first phone call, we will fight to hold responsible the people or company that caused the death of your family member. We treat you like a close friend, not a stranger, and it shows in the results of our work.