What Is the Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

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Losing someone due to wrongful death can be extremely painful. You were excited to meet this person again and spend time together, but their life was cut short by someone else’s negligence or misconduct. Now, you have to face not only the pain of never being able to speak to them again, but also the pain of organizing a funeral, losing wages, and other things.

Each state has its own laws when it comes to wrongful death, and Colorado is no exception. After the tragedy happens, you have a certain amount of time during which you can file the case, known as a “statute of limitations”. What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Colorado? Let’s find out.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a case that occurs when a person is killed due to another individual’s misconduct or negligence. There are different things that lead to something being considered a wrongful death.

For instance, someone might die in criminal activities, car accidents, manufacturing defects, toxic torts, or medical malpractice for it to be considered grounds for a wrongful death case.

In Colorado, the family members of the victim are able to make wrongful death claims against the guilty individual or entity under the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. Moreover, these lawsuits are only available in cases where the victim would’ve had the opportunity to file a personal injury case in the event that they did not pass away.

Who Can File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone you’re close to dies due to someone else’s negligence, you may be determined to file a claim as soon as possible. However, before doing so, you should make sure that you are allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, to begin with.

Under Colorado law, only certain individuals are able to file a wrongful death claim for the deceased person. For instance, during the first year after the death of the individual, only their spouse will be legally allowed to file the case. As long as the spouse provides written consent, the children of the deceased can also join the case.

Then, during the second year, the surviving spouse or children can make a claim. In the event that the deceased was not married or did not have any children, the parents are legally entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

Only lineal descendants can recover money following the death of the person. Therefore, any other family members like aunts, uncles, or siblings usually cannot file a claim.

At the same time, the estate representative will be able to file a survival action too.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Colorado?

If you live in Colorado, you have two years from the death of the decedent to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Considering this statute of limitations, you should take the necessary steps prior to the deadline, such as hiring Boulder wrongful death lawyers, filing the claim, and gathering all necessary documentation.

Failing to file the case within the specified time frame takes away your opportunity to claim compensation. Once the deadline passes, you will not be able to file a case anymore.

At the same time, you can have the statute of limitations time “tolled” or extended, depending on the case. There are a few exceptions that may allow you to extend the period.

Wrongful Death and Survival Action – What Is the Difference?

Wrongful death lawsuits and survival action are different in the types of compensation sought. For instance, wrongful death cases allow family members to be reimbursed for things such as:

– Suffering and pain
– Financial support loss
– Loss of the services of the deceased – Funeral costs
– Emotional support loss

A survival action, on the other hand, allows the representative of the estate to pursue damages that the deceased individual would’ve had the chance to sue for if they did not pass away. These could be lost wages or medical expenses. It’s important to note that damages like disfigurement, future loss of income, pain, suffering, and anything of the sort aren’t possible with a survival action.

Final Thoughts

All wrongful death claims must be filed on time if you want to be able to claim compensation. Colorado has a statute of limitations of two years for wrongful death

lawsuits, and filing a claim later than that would take away your chance of claiming compensation. It’s critical to file the lawsuit before the deadline.