Who Should Hire A Wrongful Death Attorney?

couple attends funeral of loved one who was a victim of wrongful death

The loss of a loved one is a heart-wrenching experience, made even more challenging when the negligence or misconduct of another party causes their death. In such tragic circumstances, a wrongful death attorney can be a crucial ally, guiding you through the legal complexities to seek justice and compensation. But who exactly should hire a wrongful death attorney, and what can you expect from their services?

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is when a person dies due to reckless, negligent, or intentional actions of another party. It is a legal term used to describe a death that could have been prevented if the responsible party had acted with appropriate care or caution.

How Will a Wrongful Death Attorney Help You?

Legal Experience

Navigating the legal system is intimidating, especially when you’re grieving. A wrongful death attorney has the knowledge and experience to handle your case efficiently. They understand wrongful death laws and will ensure all legal procedures are followed correctly.

Case Investigation

An attorney will investigate to gather evidence supporting your claim. This includes collecting medical records, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, and expert opinions. Their goal is to build a strong case that demonstrates how negligence or misconduct led to your loved one’s death.

Negotiation and Litigation

Most wrongful death cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will work with the liable party’s insurance carrier to reach a fair payment. If a satisfactory agreement can’t be reached, they will take your case to court and advocate on your behalf.

Emotional Support

While an attorney’s primary role is legal representation, they also provide emotional support by handling the stressful aspects of the case. This allows you to focus on healing and spending time with your family.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The right to file are:

Immediate Family Members

The primary individuals who can file a wrongful death lawsuit are the deceased’s immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents. These relatives are most directly affected by the loss and, therefore, have the strongest claims.

Financial Dependants

Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased, such as stepchildren or putative spouses (a person who, in good faith, believes that they were married to the deceased), may also be able to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.

Extended Family Members

In some jurisdictions, extended family members like siblings or grandparents could have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, especially if they were financially or emotionally dependent on the deceased.

Executors of the Estate

The executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate can launch a wrongful death lawsuit for the estate and the surviving family members. This ensures that any compensation awarded benefits all rightful claimants.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations regulates the time period for filing a wrongful death claim, and it varies by state. In Colorado, you have one to two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. However, some exceptions can affect this timeline:

Discovery Rule

In some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended if the cause of death is not immediately known. The clock starts ticking from the date the cause of death is discovered or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.

Minors and Incapacitated Persons

If the beneficiaries are minors or mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations can be paused until they reach adulthood or regain capacity.

Government Entities

If the wrongful death involves a government entity, special rules and shorter time limits often apply, sometimes requiring claims to be filed within a few months.

What Damages Will a Wrongful Death Attorney Help You Seek?

A wrongful death attorney can help you seek various types of damages, such as:

Economic Damages

These are financial losses resulting from the death, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of inheritance

Non-Economic Damages

These damages are more subjective in nature, compensating for the emotional and psychological impact of the loss.

  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive Damages

In cases involving gross negligence, punitive damages could be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney in Colorado

Hiring a wrongful death attorney is an important step toward getting justice and compensation for the untimely loss of a loved one. The Roth Group can provide the legal expertise, emotional support, and dedicated representation needed during such a challenging time. If you’re facing the devastating loss of a loved one due to someone else’s actions, a wrongful death attorney from The Roth Group can be your advocate in pursuing the justice you and your family deserve.