Did you lose a family member to someone else’s carelessness? You may have legal recourse to sue the individual or organization at fault. While money cannot replace a loved one, the law provides that you may be entitled to monetary compensation because of your loss. Our Colorado Springs wrongful death attorneys can make sure you get the compensation the law provides you.
Wrongful death is a unique type of personal injury claim. It comes about when someone’s death is caused by another person’s or company’s intentional act or negligence. The death of a loved one is never easy. However, when you feel that death was caused by another person’s carelessness, it makes the situation even worse.
At Springs Law Group, we understand the devastation that comes with losing a loved one in an accidental manner such as this. We want to help you ensure the person or company at fault for your loved one’s death faces justice. Call us today for a free legal consultation.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In general, a wrongful death claim arises when a family member would have had a legitimate personal injury case had they not succumbed to the injury and passed away. As mentioned above, a wrongful death is a death caused by either the intentional act or negligence of another person. The following are a few examples of wrongful death cases:
- Intentional killing. A wrongful death claim is sometimes issued after a person intentionally kills another. A good example of this is the O.J. Simpson case. Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson’s family sued O.J. for the wrongful death of their loved ones. This case was built upon the intentional act element.
- Medical malpractice. You can seek a medical malpractice suit if your loved one’s death was the result of a medical professionals’ carelessness or indifference. We assume when we go to the doctor or hospital, we are in good hands. However, according to a Johns Hopkins study, there are 250,000 deaths yearly due to medical errors. This makes medical error the third leading cause of death across the nation. Medical errors aren’t always glaringly obvious, though. Sometimes, a missed diagnosis or even an error in administering medicine is the cause of death.
- Driver negligence. You can also build a wrongful death claim around a fatal car accident where the other driver was negligent. For example, if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you likely have a wrongful death claim.
- Faulty product. Another example of wrongful death is when a person dies as a result of a faulty product. A wrongful death claim has to prove that your loved one’s death was a direct result of a product failure.
Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When considering if you should begin a wrongful death claim, you probably ask yourself, “Why?” Will this bring your loved one back? No. Obviously, nothing will bring your loved one back or replace that person. Therefore, no legal victory or amount of money can substitute for your loved one’s daily presence in your life. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about a wrongful death claim.
The following are a few pertinent reasons you may consider:
- A wrongful death lawsuit forces positive change. Let’s assume a certain hospital is faced with several or even hundreds of wrongful death claims. Eventually, the administrative board has to do something to make their hospital safer. This forces positive change in patient care. Therefore, your wrongful death claim can help others not have to face what you are dealing with after losing your loved one. Another example could include a wrongful death claim after a vehicular accident. The consequences to the person at fault can deter him from driving recklessly ever again. This makes the roads safer for everyone.
- A wrongful death lawsuit provides for future needs. If you issue a wrongful death claim after your loved one’s death, you might receive a significant amount of monetary compensation. You shouldn’t view this as your ticket to a life of ease. Instead, most loved ones would want to know that their families are taken care of when they die, especially if the person who passed away was contributing to the household finances. Consider how many more years your loved one would have worked and brought in income. The compensation you receive from a wrongful death suit will reimburse you at least somewhat for this monetary loss. You can then set up college funds for children, or invest the money for retirement. What you do with the money is up to you. However, the compensation isn’t a gift or a windfall; instead, it can be seen as a way to recover a small portion of what your loved one would have provided you had he or she lived.
When Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
If you think your loved one’s death might have been due to another person’s actions—or failure to act—you should seek our services as soon as possible. Of course, there will be a period of grief. However, the sooner you can get legal counsel about your case, the better your chances of building a successful claim.
How Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work?
Call us at Springs Law Group first. We will talk you through the process during your free consultation. Wrongful death is a civil claim. You will have to build a case that proves negligence, or shows an intentional desire to end your loved one’s life. Each state has a wrongful death statute that you must satisfy in order to bring a wrongful death case. Some of these cases will go to court, while most are settled outside of court.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Who qualifies to bring a wrongful death action depends on their relationship to the person who passed away. Typically, only the closest relative will be able to recover, depending on who the person left behind. In many situations, more than one person can bring an action for wrongful death (for example, two divorced parents, a surviving spouse and children, etc.), which can make the process very complicated. For these reasons, we recommend you hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
There are many factors to consider when determining what amount you should seek. You should take your loved one’s income into consideration. Make sure you ask for enough to cover his or her lost wages. Also, ensure you have court costs and lawyer’s fees covered as well as any of your loved one’s unpaid medical bills. You can also seek compensation for pain and suffering, which doesn’t have a set dollar amount. We are happy to work with you to determine the ideal amount for your wrongful death claim.