Wrongful death is defined as the death of a person due to the negligence, recklessness or misconduct of another. This definition includes murder. In such a case, the surviving family members may sue the negligent party for wrongful death and be awarded several different types of compensation.
First, let’s define who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. Within the first year following a death, a surviving spouse may file a claim. Within the second year following a death, either the surviving spouse or one or more of any surviving children may file. If neither of those parties exist, the parents of a deceased party may file. If the parents are also deceased, then the party who is appointed as executor of the deceased party’s estate may file what is known as a “survival action” on behalf of the estate.
Damages available to be awarded in the state of Colorado in a wrongful death action include monetary damages, which will always be decided by a judge or jury. Lost benefits to family members such as life insurance and health insurance may be claimed. Any income that a decedent would have brought in via salary or wages in his or her expected lifetime can be considered. Loss of companionship claimed by a loved one may also permit compensation. Finally, money to cover unexpected expenses such as medical bills and funeral expenses can be reimbursed.
As you can see, a wrongful death claim is a complex action with many possible outcomes. An attorney who is experienced in these matters can guide a grieving family through this difficult process.