Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Serving Denver & the Greater Colorado Area for Three Decades

The death of a loved one is devastating, and the grief is only worsened when it’s the result of a situation that was preventable. Loved ones and family members should know their rights before speaking with the other party’s insurance company.

I’ve handled hundreds of wrongful death cases over the past 30 years, and I can help you and your family get the justice you deserve. Contact me today for a free consultation at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911.

Colorado Wrongful Death Resources

Get the facts you need to know…

If you are a surviving member of the family of a victim of wrongful death in Colorado, you may need answers to the following questions.

What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a fatality caused by the negligence of another person ‑‑ such as a drunk driver, the manufacturer of an unsafe product, or a medical professional ‑‑ who may be held responsible for various losses resulting from the death. The survivors may file a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue monetary compensation for the financial and emotional support lost because of the wrongful death.
How Does Colorado Law Govern Wrongful Death?
The purpose of Colorado’s wrongful death law is to protect those who, through no fault of their own, must bear the financial and emotional burden of the wrongful death. Enacted in the late 1800s and often amended, Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act now includes six statutes: C.R.S. § 13-21-201, 13-21-202, 13-21-203, 13-21-203.5, 13-21-203.7, and 13-21-204.

The statute of limitations for a Colorado wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the time of death. If the plaintiff has a disability or if the defendant has engaged in fraudulent concealment of facts regarding the claim, the term may be extended beyond two years.

What Circumstances Lead to a Wrongful Death Action?
Most wrongful death lawsuits arise out of automobile collisions, workplace accidents, fires, explosions, negligence of a property owner, negligence of a product maker, aviation accidents, medical negligence, and sometimes even homicide.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The parties entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in Colorado include a spouse, heirs to the estate, and designated beneficiaries.

If the decedent was unmarried and had no children, his surviving parents may be permitted to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Most other relatives are not eligible. However, the parents are not allowed to file a claim if the decedent had a spouse or a child, even if the spouse or child chooses not to file a claim. If more than one family member files a claim, the amount recovered must be distributed in proportion to the economic damages suffered by each individual.

Can a Wrongful Death Claim Be Filed If Death Did Not Occur Immediately?
Accidental injuries that result in death do not always do so immediately, and a person who dies as a result of an accidental injury may incur significant medical expenses before he dies. If so, the decedent’s personal representative may initiate a survival action to recover economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages. However, damages for pain and suffering endured by the decedent before death are not recoverable in a survival action no matter how terrible the circumstances.
What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To recover damages in such a lawsuit, the claimants must prove that the defendant negligently or intentionally caused the decedent’s death.

Although Colorado law allows recovery for compensatory damages in wrongful death actions, the state did not permit the recovery of punitive damages until 2000, when the state legislature amended the law to allow recovery of such damages if the defendant’s conduct was judged to be willful and wanton.

Compensation for monetary losses available in a wrongful death lawsuit may include compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, funds that the deceased would have received in pension or retirement benefits had he lived, and funds that he would have earned had he lived.

If the decedent did not work, the contributions of service, nurturing, and guidance are also recoverable. Typically, any recovery will be placed in the decedent’s estate and distributed according to the terms of the estate.

Noneconomic or general damages available in a wrongful death action may include compensation for grief and sorrow, loss of companionship and emotional support, loss of enjoyment of life, and the pain and suffering caused by the person’s death.

If the defendant is found liable for the wrongful death, Colorado also provides an alternative to noneconomic damages: a solatium, an individual award currently limited to $87,210 given to family members for “grief or wounded feelings” such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Once liability is established, the amount of the solatium cannot be decreased, not even if the deceased person was found to be comparatively negligent.

How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated?
Estimating damages in a wrongful death case is often complicated. Some of the factors typically considered include the extent of the claimant’s dependency on the deceased individual; the nature of the relationship; the expected lifespan, earnings, and benefits of the decedent; and whether the decedent was also at fault for the death.

Although there is no limit for economic damages in a Colorado wrongful death action, under Colorado law only the decedent’s dependents — his spouse or minor children — can recover these damages.

Unless the wrongful death was the result of murder or manslaughter, an award for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress is limited to $468,000. Colorado law also limits damages for the wrongful death of a child younger than 21 or of a non-working spouse to  $250,000.

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Colorado Wrongful Death Lawyer

Contact me today for a free consultation.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or business, the fastest way to find out if you have a wrongful death case is to schedule a free consultation with me. At the Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen, our goal is to get you through your wrongful death claim as quickly and smoothly as we can. I’ve earned more than $100 million in settlements for my clients and personally handle every single case that comes across my desk.

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