By: Patrick Collins
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Five Types of Wrongful Death Claims in Colorado
No matter how someone dies, there’s always grief and sadness that accompanies the loss of life. When someone’s death was preventable, feelings of hopelessness and despair are compounded. To make the situation even more difficult, their family members are left to deal with their resulting medical, funeral, and burial expenses. If someone you love recently lost their life to avoidable circumstances, it’s essential to understand that you might be entitled to financial recovery for your losses.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Colorado, a wrongful death claim can be filed by a personal representative of the deceased. Typically, this person is a family member appointed by the court or someone the decedent appointed before their death. Wrongful death claims are appropriate when the death occurred because of the negligence of another person or party. If the person had lived, they could have filed a personal injury claim for their damages such as medical bills and pain and suffering. Generally, when the following elements of negligence are present, a wrongful death claim will be successful:
- Another party owed a duty of reasonable care to the now-deceased person
- They breached their duty of care
- Their breach caused the injuries and ultimately death of the decedent
- The decedent’s family and estate suffered monetary and non-monetary losses as a result
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims arise from preventable incidents that cause fatal injuries. Five types of wrongful death claims in Colorado include motor vehicle collisions, semi-truck wrecks, medical malpractice, premises liability, defective products.
Motor Vehicle Crashes
Motor vehicle collisions claim far too many lives. In 2019, there were 37,595 motor vehicle traffic deaths in the United States, equaling 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people. Even when motorists and their passengers are wearing their safety belts and taking every precaution, fatal injuries still occur. Many of them are the result of other driver’s negligent actions. Whether your loved one died upon impact, at the scene, or later at the hospital, you could have the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Semi-truck wrecks are thankfully not as common as other motor vehicle crashes. Still, when they happen, they are often deadly. In 2018, 4,136 people lost their lives in semi-truck crashes. Out of those, 16 percent were truck occupants, 67 percent were in cars and other passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists made up the other 15 percent. Trucking companies, their drivers, truck and parts manufacturers, and other parties can be responsible for a truck crash fatality.
Doctors and other medical staff must use reasonable care with all of their patients. There’s no room for error in medicine. When mistakes occur, severe injuries and even death can occur. In fact, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more than 250,000 people each year. Healthcare providers and their employers should be held accountable for the preventable deaths of their patients. By working with an attorney who has a medical background, your chances of a fair recovery in a wrongful death case increase.
Premises liability laws require property owners to take reasonable care to prevent others from injury on their property. These laws apply equally to homeowners, businesses, and government entities. Slip, and falls are common cases involving premises liability. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional fall deaths account for nearly 40,000 fatalities each year.
Examples of negligent actions or inactions that could result in severe injuries and fatalities include:
- Failing to shovel snow or remove ice from walkways
- Not cleaning up a spill within a reasonable amount of time
- Leaving a deck in need of repairs
- Lack of preventative measures to keep children from entering a swimming pool area unsupervised
- Not installing or fixing handrails for stairs
Products can be defective because of the way they were designed, manufactured, or even distributed. Research conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals that defective or unsafe products result in 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that each year $700 billion is spent on the injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by consumer product hazards.
Common defective products include car parts such as airbags, baby equipment such as cribs, and household appliances. The more severe the defect, the more likely it is to cause fatalities. If a defective product causes death, an experienced wrongful lawyer can help you hold the right parties accountable.
Are You Looking for a Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in Colorado? Call Dr. Patrick Collins, Esq. For a Free Consultation
If you’ve recently had to say goodbye to a loved one for any reason, we offer our deepest condolences. No amount of financial recovery will ever bring your relative back or replace their presence in your life. However, if another party is liable for their fatal injuries, you have legal rights. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.