What Issues May Arise In A Wrongful Death Case?
Every case is specific and unique, so a cookie-cutter approach to practicing law, or a answering question(s) is a sure fire way to get wrong answers, or have a mistake occur.
First, note C.R.S. § 13-21-201, designates who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit (i.e., surving spouse (widow/widower), heirs (children), a designated beneficiary). The first issue is to ascertain who may bring a lawsuit because of the death (wrongful death).
The next issue, has the statute of limitations passed. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the wrongful act, but no later than two years from the date of death. See Fish v. Liley, 120 Colo. 156, 208 P.2d 930 (1949); With v. General Elec. Co., 653 P.2d 764 (Colo. App. 1982); Gonzales v. Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Co., 686 P.2d 1362 (Colo. App. 1984. If a lawsuit is not filed in this time, the case is likely barred from pursuing any recovery.
A wrongful death attorney must also determine who the at-fault party(ies) is, who to sue. In many instances there are more people/entities to a wrongful death case then what was initially thought. Investigation is important in determining this – sometimes these entities/people are ascertained until discovery in the lawsuit has begun.
Before a suit is even filed, an attorney may look at what jurisdiction to bring the lawsuit, where to file the lawsuit. In Colorado there are caps/limits on wrongful death damages C.R.S. § 13-21-203 – with C.R.S. § 13-21-203.7 adjusting this amount for inflation. Some jurisdictions, states, do not have these caps/limitations, therefore in certain situations, it may be beneficial for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit in a jurisdiction that does not have caps/limitations.
These are some of the early issues a wrongful death attorney must consider in every wrongful death case, no matter if the death resulted from a motorcycle accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, or another wrongful act or omission. There are many more issues that arise early on in a case – preservation of evidence, investigation, etc…
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, contact the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC for a free consultation on your wrongful death case. We are located close to downtown Denver in the North Cherry Creek area, but will travel to meet with you and your family if that is easier for you. 720-515-7058