Losing someone you love is never easy, but if their loss was caused by another person’s error or negligence, the loss can be especially devastating. Even amid all of the emotional turmoil, you might be wondering what you should do next in a legal capacity. If you lost someone due to an act of carelessness or negligence, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands. What you need to do next depends on what your relationship was to the deceased, the circumstances of their death, and several other factors. But first, make sure you have the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit and learn more about what these cases entail.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death claims are possible only if the deceased person would have had the grounds for a personal injury case before their death. In order to qualify, the individual must have been intentionally killed or killed as a result of some act of negligence or carelessness. For the claim to be valid, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant was responsible for the injuries that resulted in their loved one’s death.
Proving the defendant was responsible is often much easier said than done, and the proof you need depends largely on the circumstances of each individual case. For example, if the victim died in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff needs to prove that there was a breach of duty of care. Likewise, if the victim died in a car crash, they will have to prove that the guilty party, which may be the car manufacturer or the other driver, caused the accident.
In short, because the deceased person is no longer able to fight for justice and compensation, their loved ones may do so in their stead.
Who Can File?
Wrongful death claims can’t be filed by just anyone. In Colorado, only those closest to the deceased may file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. During the first year of the victim’s death, only the victim’s spouse may file a wrongful death claim. After a year has passed, the victim’s children and the surviving spouse are eligible to file. If the victim had neither a spouse nor children, then the deceased person’s parents will be able to file a claim.
Additionally, the representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death claim in order to obtain damages for any losses suffered by the estate after the victim’s death.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are many reasons a person might have a valid wrongful death case. Some of the most common types of wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Car accidents
- Premises liability issues
- Medical malpractice
- Child birth accidents
If you file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, you will be able to pursue justice and financial compensation for damages. A claim can help you recover damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship, love, care, and protection
- Punitive damages
- Loss of wages and other compensation the victim would have earned if he or she had lived
- Loss of benefits, such as life insurance
If you lost someone you loved due to another person’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death case on your hands. Contact Klein Frank, P.C. to discuss your situation with our Boulder wrongful death attorneys.