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Boulder Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is one of life’s most painful experiences. This grief can be compounded if he or she passes away in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, or carelessness. While no amount of compensation could ever replace the love and support you received from your loved one, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. In these situations, the Boulder wrongful death attorneys at Purvis Thomson, LLP can help you fight for justice.

Since 1985, our Boulder personal injury attorneys have represented injured Colorado residents and their families in their claims against negligent drivers, property owners, employers, and more. We will advocate tenaciously for your family’s right to recover compensation, while also helping you hold the responsible party accountable for his or her dangerous actions.

Why Choose Us

  • Our Boulder injury firm has a track record of successful settlements and verdicts. We have secured $4 million for one of our trucking negligence wrongful death clients and will advocate for your family’s maximum recovery.
  • Our wrongful death attorneys in Boulder hold numerous awards and memberships in prestigious peer organizations, including the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
  • After the loss of a loved one, navigating a wrongful death claim can feel overwhelming. Our attorneys will handle the entirety of your claim, allowing your family to focus on other important matters.

Boulder Wrongful Death Resources

Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Wrongful Death?

According to Colorado Revised Statutes 13-21-201 and 13-21-202, a wrongful death occurs due to the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity. One way to determine whether or not your loved one’s death qualifies for this type of legal action is to ask yourself if he or she could have pursued a personal injury claim if he or she had lived. If the answer is yes, your loved one’s case likely qualifies for wrongful death litigation.

Many types of accidents can lead to a wrongful death claim, including the following.

If you are unsure whether your loved one qualifies for a wrongful death claim, speak to an attorney at Purvis Thomson, LLP as soon as possible. Your Boulder wrongful death lawyer will analyze your case and determine whether or not your family has grounds for legal action.

Why Is Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer Important?

If you have recently lost a loved one in a tragic accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have enough to worry about without thinking of handling a legal claim. You may have a funeral to arrange. You might be concerned about how to tell your children about the loss. You may have lost your life partner or a parent who played a meaningful role in your life. You may now be worried about how you are going to support your family after losing a valuable source of income for your household.

Wrongful death claims are complex legal claims. Successfully proving your claim will require a lot of time, energy, and focus that you may not have at this pivotal time in your life. You have suffered real losses. At Purvis Thomson, LLP, we know that no amount of money could ever return your loved one to you, which is all you want right now. But we hope that by pursuing a wrongful death claim, you can gain a sense of justice and hopefully prevent other families from having to go through this same tragedy. We are dedicated to holding careless parties fully accountable for their actions and ensuring that your family has the financial resources they will need to move into the next chapter of their lives.

Perhaps most importantly, a Boulder wrongful death lawyer can give your loved one a voice in the civil justice system after they are gone and can assist your family through the complex legal process. We can assist with all legal aspects of your claim by:

  • Evaluating the relevant laws to establish the defendant’s legal duty and breach of duty
  • Preserving evidence at the scene of the accident, such as sending spoliation letters to defendants
  • Investigating the accident to determine all potentially at-fault parties who may have contributed to your loved one’s death
  • Gathering compelling evidence to establish the legal elements of your claim
  • Filing claim paperwork, managing case deadlines, and informing you of your legal options at each phase of the case
  • Fighting for fair compensation in or out of the courtroom

At Purvis Thomson, LLP, we will support your family at every turn. Contact us today for a free consultation with a compassionate Boulder wrongful death lawyer.

Court room

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Civil lawsuits in Colorado are subject to a rule known as the statute of limitations. This law places time limits on filing certain claims in civil court; if you file your lawsuit after the appropriate deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case.

For wrongful death lawsuits, you typically have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file. However, if your loved one died as a result of a hit-and-run vehicular homicide, you have four years from the date of his or her death to bring your claim.

It is important to speak to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following your loved one’s passing. A lawyer from Purvis Thomson, LLP can help you identify your filing deadline and protect your family’s right to recovery. Additionally, your attorney can help you identify your family’s optimal path to recovery and take the first steps toward filing your claim in Colorado civil court.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim in Boulder

Wrongful death claims are generally based on the legal doctrine of negligence. Negligence arises when someone’s careless actions cause injury and damage to another person. To successfully prove a wrongful death claim in Boulder, you will need to establish the following four legal elements:

The Defendant Owed the Victim a Legal Duty of Care

The first legal element you must show is the defendant you are making a claim against owed your loved one a legal duty of care. Legal duties can be based on the relationship between the parties, such as with doctors and patients. Some are established by legal contracts that specify the legal responsibility someone owes to another, such as in a nursing home contract. Others are based on specific laws, such as in premises liability cases in which the property owner is alleged to have acted negligently in maintaining their property. Absent a specific legal duty, all people are expected to act reasonably and prudently to avoid foreseeable injuries to others.

Examples of legal duties various parties may owe others include:

  • Motorists must follow traffic laws and drive carefully to avoid causing collisions with other road users.
  • Truck drivers and trucking companies must obey all applicable local, state, and federal laws to ensure the safe operation of these vehicles, including hours of service rules that try to prevent drowsy driving accidents.
  • Doctors and other healthcare providers must provide a quality of care that is consistent with the standard of care that other healthcare providers in the same area of practice would have provided under the circumstances.
  • Property owners must maintain their properties in a reasonably safe manner, not create hazards on their property, and must warn visitors of hazards they know about. In some circumstances, they may also be required to inspect their properties to discover unknown hazards and then remedy the condition.
  • Product manufacturers must create products that are safe to be used in the way they are intended.

The Defendant Breached the Legal Duty of Care

Next, you must show the defendant breached the applicable duty of care. This could be because the defendant did something or failed to do something required by the legal duty of care. Here are some examples of how defendants may have breached the legal duty of care:

  • Motorists sped, texted while driving, drove while impaired by drugs or alcohol, ran a red light, or violated other traffic rules.
  • A truck driver violated the hours of service rules, failed to properly secure cargo, or skipped a mandatory inspection.
  • A doctor did not properly evaluate a patient and missed symptoms that would have alerted them to the patient’s proper diagnosis.
  • A store allowed a liquid spill to remain on the floor for an hour.
  • A product manufacturer sold a product that had a defect.

The Breach Caused Your Loved One’s Death

The next legal element you must be able to prove is that the defendant’s breach caused your loved one’s death. You must show the connection between the defendant’s actions (or lack of actions) and the accident that led to your loved one’s death. For example:

  • Because a motorist ran a red light, they crashed into your loved one, which led to their death.
  • Because the truck driver violated the hours of service rules, they were drowsy and crashed into your loved one.
  • A doctor’s delayed diagnosis caused your loved one’s cancer to remain undetected for too long and they died from the condition.
  • Your loved one died after slipping on the store’s wet floor.
  • The defective product caused your loved one’s death.

You Suffered Compensable Losses Because of Your Loved One’s Death

Finally, you must be able to show that your loved one’s death negatively impacted you for which an appropriate court can award you compensation. For example, you may have lost your loved one’s income because of the sudden death. Or, your spouse may have provided childcare and domestic services that you now have to pay for because of the death. You may have experienced considerable grief due to the unexpected loss.

If you can prove the four legal elements above by the preponderance of the evidence (they are more likely to be true than not), you will have a valid claim for a wrongful death case. However, it can be difficult to establish these elements on your own, especially when you are going through grief. An experienced Boulder wrongful death lawyer can help obtain evidence to prove the legal elements, such as:

  • Statutes, contracts, driver’s license manuals, and other documents that establish the defendant’s legal duty
  • Witness statements, defendant admissions photos, videos, personnel records, inspection reports, and maintenance records that show the defendant’s breach of duty
  • Witness statements, photos or videos of the accident scene, and visual productions prepared by accident reconstruction experts to show how the accident occurred
  • Medical bills, pay stubs, tax returns, invoices, estimates, and other documentation to show financial losses caused by your loved one’s death

Purvis Thomson, LLP has the resources, knowledge, and experience you can rely on during this difficult time in your life. We will work tirelessly to obtain justice and compensation for your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Eligible Parties in a Colorado Wrongful Death Case

Under Colorado law, only certain individuals may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person. If the deceased person did not have a spouse, children, or a designated beneficiary, his or her parents have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. If the deceased person did have a spouse, children, or designated beneficiary, the law becomes a bit more complex.

  • Within the first year after the deceased person’s passing, only the surviving spouse may file the wrongful death claim. The spouse may also elect to allow his or her children to file the claim, or the spouse may join the deceased’s children in their claim. If the deceased person did not have a spouse, his or her children or designated beneficiary may file the lawsuit.
  • Within the second year after the deceased person’s death, his or her spouse or children have the right to bring the claim on their own. The spouse and the children, or the children and the designated beneficiary, may also enter into a joint claim. The spouse and beneficiaries may join a lawsuit brought by the children within 90 days after they file.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Your family can sustain serious physical, financial, and emotional losses after the untimely passing of a loved one. However, wrongful death lawsuits allow you to recover compensation for these losses to help you in the healing process. There are two types of damages in wrongful death claims: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages refer to the financial losses that the deceased and your family sustained as a result of the wrongful death. Common examples of economic damages include the following.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost benefits due to his or her death, such as life insurance
  • Wages and other forms of compensation the deceased would have earned if he or she had survived

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to the intangible losses your family experienced due to your loved one’s death. These damages can be difficult to quantify, but your attorney from Purvis Thomson, LLP can help you calculate the full extent of your losses. Examples of non-economic damages in wrongful death claims include the following.

  • Grief
  • Loss of companionship, care, and love
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Other forms of pain and suffering

Survival Action in Wrongful Death Claims

In some situations, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim and a survival action. For example, if your loved one was initially injured in an accident but did not die right away, you may be able to file a survival action to pursue compensation for the losses your loved one experienced between the time of the accident and their eventual death. This type of legal claim is brought by your loved one’s estate against the same defendant named in a wrongful death claim.

Through a survival action, you may be able to pursue compensation for all the losses your loved one (and their estate) experienced, including the following:

  • Medical expenses incurred from the time of the accident until their death that was caused by the last illness or injury, which may include emergency room treatment, ambulance charges, diagnostic tests, medication, medical devices, surgeries, hospital stays, and other medical expenses incurred
  • Lost wages for time they missed from work because of the accident
  • Lost earning capacity caused by their injuries
  • Your loved one’s pain and suffering
  • Property damage

To establish your right to compensation through a survival action, you must prove the same legal elements as you would need to prove in a wrongful death claim: the defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s injury and you suffered direct losses as a result.

Contact Our Boulder Wrongful Death Attorney

If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligent actions, the Boulder wrongful death lawyers at Purvis Thomson, LLP can help. For decades, we have helped Colorado residents statewide fight for justice, and our wrongful death attorneys in Boulder can support you and your family on the path to recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the litigation process.

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