Losing a loved one can be one of the hardest things in the world. It is even more difficult when they lost their life as a result of someone else’s negligence. It is an unfortunate fact of life that you can do everything right and still have something go wrong. You cannot stop other people from acting recklessly. This can cause serious injury or even wrongful death. In any case, the families are always the ones left grieving.
After a loved one passes, you may have a million different things running through your mind. We know that nothing will ever make up for your loss, and that you will have to deal with tremendous grief. At the same time, it is important to recognize any legal rights and protections you may have. We know that this is hard. In some cases, however, doing so may be necessary to move forward with your family’s best interests in mind.
Wrongful death can impact a decedent’s family both immediately and in the long-term future. It is important to know that you have options in the eyes of the law. In fact, you may be legally entitled to hold the wrongdoer liable for their actions. In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview on how to cope with wrongful death—and what to do if you decide to take legal action.
After suffering a huge loss, it is important to give yourself time to grieve. This can be a long and painful process. Still, it is a natural and necessary process. There are many different emotions that may come up when dealing with grief. For example, it is not uncommon to deal with feelings of denial, guilt, anger, depression, insomnia, numbness, social withdrawal, and/or an overwhelming sense of loss—in no particular order. You may also find that certain things “trigger” your grief.
It is important to acknowledge all of these feelings, no matter how painful they are. Doing so is the only way you will work through the grief and towards more healthy coping mechanisms in order to move forward in life. You may also find it helpful to seek counseling or reach out to a local support group. If you do not feel comfortable discussing your loss face-to-face with other people, you may be able to find online support groups to help.
Of course, things like counseling cost money—and so do funeral expenses. We know that it may feel crass to even think about money during a time like this. Nothing will ever make up for the loss you suffered. However, you also need to ensure that you have adequate financial compensation in order to start planning for the future. Filing a wrongful death claim may help.
Every wrongful death case is made up of four main elements: (1) duty of care, (2) breach of duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Duty of care may be defined as “an obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of another against an unreasonable risk of harm.” You will need to show proof of all four elements in order to successfully resolve your case. As individuals, we are almost always beholden to a certain duty of care to others. Certain types of relationships also come with special duties. For example, a doctor has a specific duty of care to their patients. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you delineate the defendant’s duty of care to the decedent.
Once the duty of care has been defined, you will need to prove that it was breached. In other words, you will need to prove that the duty was not properly met. In most cases, this is because the defendant acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. There must be a direct link between this breach of duty of care and the decedent’s passing. If the case is determined to be particularly egregious, it is possible that the defendant will also need to pay punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.
Finally, you will need to provide evidence of your losses. Death of a loved one, of course, is the most severe loss anyone can ever suffer. However, you may have also suffered additional damages in the accident. These may include medical expenses and loss of wages. Damages can be both economic and non-economic. A trusted attorney can help quantify your damages in order to get the truest possible valuation of your case.
Different states have different laws regarding wrongful death claims. In the state of Colorado, however, the spouse of the decedent is the only party to maintain a cause of action to file a wrongful death claim. However, this is only true during the first year following death. After the first year has passed, it is also possible for the decedent’s children and/or other designated beneficiaries to bring forth legal action. If the decedent was single, then their parents may also bring forth an action. It is also possible for the representative of the action to file a lawsuit in order to recover losses. This is known as a survival action.
It is important to be time-sensitive when it comes to wrongful death cases. You do not want to wait until the statute of limitations has expired. In the state of Colorado, the statute of limitations is two years. Once two years have passed, you may be indefinitely barred from seeking out compensation altogether.
Losing a loved one is always hard. It is especially difficult to handle if it has occurred due to someone else’s negligence. At Injury Victim Law, we know that this is a deeply emotional and arduous moment to go through. That is why we are here to help. Though we are a Colorado-based law firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to fight for victims all across the United States. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate nationwide wrongful death attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their cases. We can help you too.