Wrongful death means someone died because of another person’s negligence or carelessness. The death could have been caused by a car accident, medical malpractice, or even a violent crime. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. It differs from a criminal case, in which the government files against the person who committed the crime. In a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s family sues the responsible party for damages.
In order to file a wrongful death claim, certain family members must be alive at the time of filing. The following family members typically have standing to bring a claim:
The deceased person’s spouse
The deceased person’s spouse is usually the first in line to file a wrongful death claim. In many states, the spouse is the only family member who can file a claim.
The deceased person’s children
The deceased person’s children may also have a claim for wrongful death. In some cases, the spouse and the children may both have claims.
The deceased person’s parents
The deceased person’s parents may have a claim for wrongful death if the deceased person was unmarried and had no children.
The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate
If none of the above family members are alive or if they do not want to file a claim, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file on behalf of the estate.
The amount of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim depends on several factors, including the relationship of the victim to the plaintiff, the age of the victim, the income of the victim, and the conscious pain and suffering of the victim before death.
Steps to filing a wrongful death claim
1-Determine who has the legal right to file the claim
When you file a claim, the court will require you to prove that you have the legal right, or standing, to bring the claim. To have standing, you must be a deceased person’s family member or the personal representative of their estate.
In order to prove your case, you will need evidence. This may include medical records, police reports, eyewitness testimony, and more.
3-Find a lawyer
It is advisable to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer to help you with your case. A lawyer can help you gather evidence, file the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court.
4-File a claim
Wrongful death claims must be filed within a specific period, known as the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within this period, you will be barred from doing so.
5-Attend court hearings
Once your claim has been filed, there will be some court hearings. These may include pretrial conferences, settlement negotiations, and trials.
If your claim is successful, you may be awarded damages. These may include economic damages, such as loss of income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Speak to an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Denver, Colorado to learn more about your legal options.