Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

Colorado law defines “wrongful death” as death resulting from a “wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” You may file a wrongful death claim against an individual, business, or entity. Generally speaking, your family has grounds for a claim if the deceased–had they survived–could have filed a personal injury claim.

Here are some of the most common causes of accidental deaths that typically warrant legal action:

  • Motor-vehicle collisions
  • Fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Accidental poisoning
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products
  • Criminal acts, like assault and battery

This list is far from exhaustive. If your loved one died in some kind of accident that could have been prevented, it’s worth consulting a Boulder wrongful death lawyer.

What to Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Statute of Limitations

An unexpected loss of life can leave the bereaved taking things one day at a time as they tie up loose ends like finances. This line of action is normal and human. It’s important to know, however, that if your loved one lost their life due to negligence, time is of the essence when it comes to holding the liable party accountable.

According to sections 13-21-204 and 13-80-102 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, a person who has lost a family member due to wrongful death has two years to bring a case. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations (SOL), and with few exceptions, a plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit after the deadline has passed.

You cannot reclaim the life of a loved one, but you can reclaim a bit of dignity by assigning blame and then recovering well-deserved damages. Don’t lose the opportunity by failing to get your case underway in time. Thankfully, a wrongful death lawyer in Colorado can handle every aspect of your claim, so you don’t have to worry about navigating complex legal proceedings on top of everything else.

Comparative Fault

For your wrongful death claim in Boulder to be successful, you must establish that the person or entity responsible for the accident carries more fault than the deceased. As long as you can prove the liable party was at least 51% at fault, you may seek damages. The total recoverable amount, however, will be limited to the liable party’s share of the blame. For example, if a business carries 75% responsibility for a fatal slip and fall accident and the damages amount to $100,000, the family of the victim can only recover up to $75,000.

Recoverable Damages in Boulder Wrongful Death Cases

Colorado allows for the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages in wrongful death claims. Economic damages are monetary in nature and include losses such as the earnings or retirement benefits the deceased would have earned had they survived; medical bills for treating the final injury or illness; and funeral expenses. Non-economic damages are not monetary and encompass pain and suffering; loss of companionship; emotional stress; and grief.

Eligible claimants can recover up to a certain amount for non-economic damages since a cap exists. It is adjusted to account for inflation every two years. A cap on recoverable damages also exists for a deceased person who does not have a spouse, minor children, or dependent parents. No cap exists, however, for claims involving a “felonious killing.”

If you’re wondering how much your family’s claim might be worth, an accidental death attorney like Debbie Taussig can evaluate the situation and then provide a rough starting point for the negotiations.


car accident attorney boulder

No, every state has different statutes pertaining to wrongful death actions. Generally speaking, the claim must be filed where the death occurred. If your loved one was killed in an accident in Boulder, for example, you’re going to want to consult a wrongful death lawyer in Colorado.

A sibling may be a person’s only surviving relative, but they cannot sue for wrongful death in Colorado. Heirs, however, may sue.

For wrongful death claims founded on negligence, the following four elements must be present:


  • A Duty of Care: The alleged at-fault party had the responsibility to act with care and caution.
  • A Breach of Duty: The alleged at-fault party failed to act with care and caution.
  • Causation: The negligence of the alleged at-fault party caused fatal injury.
  • Damages: The victim and their surviving loved ones incurred recoverable losses as a direct result of the accident.

The most compelling evidence supporting any claim depends on the circumstances surrounding the death. When someone is killed in a drunk driving accident, for example, this might include toxicology reports and dash camera footage. When someone is killed because their doctor committed medical malpractice, on the other hand, evidence generally includes medical records and expert witness testimony. 

In most cases, the at-fault party’s liability insurance carrier will cover the damages stemming from a wrongful death. Since the insurance company will attempt to pay as little as possible, however, it’s wise to enlist help from an experienced Boulder wrongful death lawyer.