Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado: Legal Steps and Eligibility

Posted by Brendan McQuaid | Nov 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence or wrongful act is a devastating experience. In Colorado, as in many other states, surviving family members have the legal right to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. This article outlines the essential steps and eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death claim in Colorado.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Colorado

A wrongful death claim arises when someone's negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions result in the death of another person. It allows the surviving family members to pursue compensation for their losses, both economic and non-economic, caused by the deceased person's death.

Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado

        1.      Personal Representative: In Colorado, a wrongful death claim must be initiated by a personal representative of the deceased person's estate. The personal representative is typically named in the deceased person's will or appointed by the court.
        2.      Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries eligible to receive compensation from a wrongful death claim in Colorado include the surviving spouse, children, and, in some cases, the deceased person's parents. If there are no surviving spouse, children, or parents, other relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased person may be eligible.
        3.      Time Limitations: Wrongful death claims in Colorado are subject to a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a specific timeframe. Generally, you have two years from the date of the deceased person's death to file a wrongful death claim. It's crucial to adhere to this deadline, as failing to do so can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation.

Steps to File a Wrongful Death Claim

        1.      Appoint a Personal Representative: If a personal representative is not already designated, you may need to petition the court to appoint one. This person will have the authority to initiate the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person's estate and beneficiaries.
        2.      Investigate the Case: Gather evidence to establish the negligence or wrongful act that led to the death of your loved one. This may include police reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert opinions.
        3.      Consult an Attorney: Enlist the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney. They can guide you through the legal process, assess the strength of your case, and help you determine the appropriate damages to seek.
        4.      File the Lawsuit: Your attorney will file the wrongful death lawsuit in the appropriate Colorado court. The lawsuit will outline the details of the case, the damages sought, and the responsible party or parties.
        5.      Negotiation and Settlement: In many cases, wrongful death claims are resolved through negotiations between the parties involved. Your attorney will work to secure a fair settlement that compensates you for your losses.
        6.      Trial, if Necessary: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome. Your attorney will present your case and argue for the compensation you deserve.

Filing a wrongful death claim in Colorado is a complex and emotionally challenging process. However, it provides surviving family members with a means to seek justice and financial compensation for their losses. If you believe you have a valid wrongful death claim, it's essential to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal steps, protect your rights, and help you obtain the compensation you need to cope with the aftermath of your loved one's tragic loss.

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