Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. In fact, the survivors who have been left behind after the death of a loved one are frequently left with a lot of unfinished business to attend to and a mountain of extra responsibilities that must be dealt with – all while learning to live with grief. Survivors must figure out how to pay for a funeral or memorial service, how to address outstanding debts, how to go about transferring the deceased accounts over to a beneficiary’s name, and how to preserve his or her legacy – to name just a few.
While nothing can take away the grief, heartache, and stress of losing someone you love, pursuing a wrongful death claim could help ease some of the financial burdens. Could a wrongful death claim be appropriate for your situation? If you believe you may have a case, we encourage you to read this breakdown of the three elements of a successful wrongful death claim.
Element #1: Your Relationship with the Deceased
Under Colorado law, only certain individuals have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Spouses and direct heirs are able to request damages through legal means, and in some instances, the parents of the deceased are also able to pursue a wrongful death claim. In the event that multiple parties choose to sue for wrongful death, all suits will be blanketed under the umbrella of one case. This means that positive relationships and communication are beneficial in wrongful death claims.
Element # 2: Death Caused In-Part or In-Full by Another
In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, your loved one’s death must have occurred as the result of another person or entity’s fault. Common examples of deaths that were caused by another include the at-fault driver in a fatal auto collision, a manufacturer who sold a product that resulted in the death, or a negligent or reckless contractor that causes a fatal construction site accident.
Element #3: Death Resulting in the Financial or Non-Economic Suffering of Family Members
Damages that are compensated in wrongful death claims include economic damages, based on the financial contributions the decedent would have made to the plaintiffs, and non-economic damages, which include, pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, grief, loss of companionship, and impairment of the quality of life. If, for example, your spouse one was the primary or sole breadwinner for your family, you and your spouse’s children may be compensated based upon the decedent’s lost income. Outside of compensation for economic losses, plaintiffs can also make claims for the emotional distress, grief, and other non-economic harm that comes with the loss of a loved one.
If you have lost a loved one and the aforementioned elements are present in your case, we urge you to reach out to the legal team at Mintz Law Firm. We can offer a free case evaluation that will determine whether a wrongful death claim is the best move for you and will do everything in our power to help you see justice served so that you can move forward with your life.