Compassionate Legal Guidance and Support
Death is a grave, sad, and somber reality we all must face one day, and most people will face the deaths of loved ones many times throughout their own lives. However, the suffering is compounded when the death of a loved one is the direct result of another’s negligent actions or lack of action, as would be one example of medical malpractice. Many feel alone and angry after the loss of a loved one, family member, or close friend and are not sure how to direct their ire to seek damages for wrongful death.
While many say that life isn’t fair, that is no comfort knowing that your loved one was taken away before their time at the hands of another. The reality of the situation is, if you have lost a loved one to an accident, you have a tremendous burden to bear for a long time to come. In addition to overwhelming grief — an immense weight to shoulder on its own — you must also contend with intense emotions, such as anger, confusion, depression, and maybe even guilt. If you’re dealing with your own injuries and physical recovery on top of it, your burden is that much greater and the healing will take exponentially longer.
When deaths are senselessly caused by someone’s careless conduct and negligence, surviving family members have a right to seek compensation against the party responsible to, at a minimum, cover the financial stressors weighing down on them. Although no dollar amount can ever replace the person you have lost, a financial recovery can help ease some of the burdens that accompany devastating loss, such as funeral costs or other financial debts that need to be paid and alleviated.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Simply put, wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligent conduct causes the death of another person.
These accidents happen in a variety of circumstances, including:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: For example, if a person rents an apartment and the landlord did not do a proper, thorough safety inspection and missed a carbon monoxide leak, they would be liable if anything should happen to the renter. In this example, the renter notices they feel sick, but think it’s only the flu, since carbon monoxide poisoning shares similar symptoms. They ignore it long enough and sadly succumb to the tasteless, odorless gas and pass away. The death could have been prevented had the landlord done their due and proper check of the property.
- Drunk drivers: A few beers after work, a few glasses of wine at dinner with a friend — it doesn’t matter the situation; there are plenty of opportunities for a person to have a little more alcohol than they should before they believe themselves fine to hop behind the wheel and drive home. Their vision is impaired, their reaction time is worse for wear, and they may be drowsy thanks to the effect of their drinks. A missed stoplight, a delayed swerve to avoid an obstacle in the road, closed eyes for a tad too long: all can result in a fatal collision.
- Distracted motorists: Far too many drivers today are looking away from the road and at their smartphones. How anyone could think that the risk of finding themselves the cause of a fatal car crash is worth checking their email, Facebook, Instagram, or any other app could be worth it is beyond our legal knowledge. Distracted driving is becoming a greater problem in our world and the consequences can be dire.
- Medical Malpractice: While it’s true that doctors are only human and can make mistakes, their mistakes carry much graver consequences to the recipients. A misdiagnosis, or a missed diagnosis, could cost a patient great suffering and ultimately, their life. A surgeon’s slight twitch of hand could lacerate the wrong organ, or intestine, and result in the patient bleeding out. Maybe a surgery was recommended when it was not necessary. Maybe a surgery should have been ordered, but wasn’t. Doctors may be human, but they need to mitigate, minimize, and ideally eliminate any chance of error because lives will be on their hands otherwise.
- Nursing home neglect: When our elderly family members need more consistent attention and care, one option is to reside in a nursing, or old age, home. They can be tended to daily, or whenever necessary. However, sadly, there are many stories of residents of these homes falling prey to negligent acts from the staff. Theft, berating, apathy when called, or incorrect prescriptions are just a few of the ways nursing home neglect can manifest. We put our trust in these facilities that our loved ones will be cared for, not treated as burdens to be insulted and derided at every turn.
- Defective products: There are two ways in which a product can be defective. They can either 1) have a defect inherent in their initial design that was overlooked, or missed entirely, or 2) that during production, an error occurred and the defect came to be. In any event, manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their products to their consumers so that they can avoid harm and injury in use. It should be noted that manufacturers are not always liable for a customer’s injury: if the customer uses the product in a way it was not intended, the manufacturer is free from liability.
- Pedestrian accidents: In the event of an accident between a pedestrian and a vehicle, the pedestrian will almost always come out worse as they have no form of defense against a speeding vehicle, otherwise considered a weapon when out of control. Road conditions, limited or no sidewalks, and reckless driving are all possible and probable causes of a pedestrian accident.
Under Colorado’s wrongful death law, which is found in section 13-21-201 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one.
If the decedent leaves a husband or wife behind, the surviving spouse has the exclusive right to bring a claim within the first year following the date of death. After one year has passed, the surviving spouse and any children have equal rights to file a lawsuit. In the absence of a surviving spouse, the decedent’s children have the right to bring a claim. When decedents leave behind no spouse and no children, the right to pursue a lawsuit falls to the deceased’s parents. Regardless of which family members bring the suit, the claim must be filed within two years of the death. With the rising costs of funerals and burials, at a minimum, the argument could be made that those responsible should be held accountable to pay for those damages at a minimum.
Wrongful Death Damages
The wrongful death statute permits family members to receive various forms of financial compensation, including loss of health insurance, funeral expenses, loss of the deceased’s present and future earnings, medical bills, loss of insurance benefits, and loss of care, affection, and companionship. In certain cases, it’s also possible for survivors to receive punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from acting irresponsibly. In order to determine which forms of financial compensation you and your loved ones are eligible for, contact our expert attorneys to go over the details of your case.
Denver Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing someone you love is a tremendous blow and the sad truth is that there is no way to undo the damage that has been dealt. At the Klibaner Law Firm, we know that legal action is probably the farthest thing from your mind as you struggle to pick up the pieces after a fatal accident. Because the time limits for filing these cases is quite short, however, it’s imperative to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can to guarantee that you receive the financial compensation you deserve to cover any costs and to plan for the future. We offer compassionate support and clearheaded guidance when you need it most. Contact us through our online form or give us a call at 303-863-1445.