When a loved one is lost tragically, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring them back, but it can allow the survivors to obtain compensation that will ease the financial burden resulting from their loss.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when negligent, reckless, or deliberate behavior causes a death. Wrongful death lawsuits commonly arise from the following types of fatal incidents:

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim made by the survivors of an individual who died as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct. By filing such a lawsuit, survivors can make a claim for monetary damages to compensate them for the financial and emotional support they lost as a result of the wrongful death of their loved one.


Three types of damages are commonly available to the survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Economic — the value of the financial contributions the victim would have made to survivors had he lived, including wages, benefit plans, inheritance, and the value of goods and services he would have provided
  • Non-economic — damages such as pain and suffering, loss of care, protection, guidance, advice, training, nurturing, love, society, and companionship from the deceased
  • Punitive — damages that are awarded to punish the defendant for especially bad conduct and to deter others from similar behavior

Colorado law limits recovery for non-economic damages to $250,000, unless the wrongful death relates to a felonious killing such as murder or manslaughter. Colorado law also allows the plaintiff to choose to recover a soliatium in the amount of $50,000 instead of non-economic damages. A soliatium is a separate award for damages such as the loss of companionship, consortium, pain and suffering, and mental distress.

Because wrongful death actions typically involve complex areas of the law and can result in large damage awards, it’s usually in a client’s best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Image by Christophe Verdier

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