Help For Families With Wrongful Death Claims
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 deceased person’s surviving spouse, surviving children, and, in some limited situations, surviving parents. For example, if Mr. Victim dies after being hit by a drunk driver, his wife may bring a wrongful death action. 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.
Contact Our Lawyers To Find Out How We Can Help You
At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we understand how traumatic and hard losing a loved one can be. If you call our Denver law office at 303-578-4155, 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.