Did you lose a loved one in a fatal crash in Denver? Was someone else’s carelessness to blame? Losing a family member in a preventable accident is an unthinkable tragedy that can leave you heartbroken, angry, and financially distressed. While taking legal action cannot bring your loved one back, filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party could provide a measure of closure and fair compensation for your family.
The Denver fatal car accident lawyers at the Olson Law Firm, LLC, understand what you are going through after a deadly crash has taken away someone you love. We can provide knowledgeable counsel and aggressive representation during this trying time.
Call us or reach out to us online to discuss your case in detail during a free and confidential consultation.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics in Denver, CO
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the number of fatal car accidents has increased. In one recent year, 574 fatal crashes occurred in Colorado. The following year, the number jumped up to 638.
According to Department of Transportation data, fatal accidents spike in the summer months when drivers hit the road for trips.
Leading Causes of Fatal Vehicle Accidents
Some of the most common causes of fatal crashes in Denver include:
- Distracted driving – Anything that causes a motorist to take their focus off of driving, hands off the wheel, or eyes off the road is distracted driving, including texting, talking on the phone, changing the radio station, eating, and drinking.
- Reckless driving – Reckless driving generally involves operating a vehicle with an intentional or willful disregard for the safety of other motorists and property.
- Aggressive Driving – Common examples of aggressive driving that can result in a crash include road rage, erratic driving, ignoring right-of-way rules, and cutting other motorists off.
- Driving Under the Influence – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do. It puts everyone on the road at risk of severe injury or death.
- Inclement Weather – When a motorist fails to account for hazardous weather conditions by adjusting their speed, they can lose control of the vehicle.
- Swerving – Swerving to avoid a vehicle, an animal, or another road hazard can cause a driver to lose control and collide with other traffic.
- Failure to Obey – Motorists who fail to obey road signs, traffic lights, and other rules of the road are likely to cause car accidents.
- Speeding – The faster a car travels, the more time and distance the driver needs to slow down and stop. If the traffic situation suddenly changes, speeding motorists may not have time to react appropriately.
- Tailgating – Tailgating occurs when a motorist follows another vehicle too closely, resulting in a rear-end collision.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim after a Fatal Car Accident in Denver, CO
If someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you could be legally entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. A wrongful death lawsuit aims to provide surviving family members with cash benefits for their losses.
To bring a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent in some way that led to the accident. You’ll also have to show that you and your family incurred compensable losses (funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, etc.). A skilled wrongful death lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence to support your case.
Only specific individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased person’s spouse can file a wrongful death suit in the first year after the accident. If they did not have a spouse, the deceased person’s children or other beneficiaries can bring the claim. If the deceased person was not married and didn’t have children, the deceased person’s parents are permitted to file a wrongful death claim within two years of the fatal accident.
Colorado Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Most wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the accident in Colorado. The case does not need to be resolved within this period, but you must initiate legal action by filing a complaint in court before the statute of limitations expires. If you don’t file a lawsuit during this time, the court will most likely dismiss your case.
Will the ‘At-Fault’ Driver Face Charges?
While it is possible that the at-fault driver could face criminal charges (such as vehicular homicide, for instance), criminal matters are heard in criminal court. The state brings the case against the driver, and the penalties can include jail time, fines, and more. Not all motorists who cause fatal accidents will face criminal charges.
A wrongful death lawsuit will be litigated in civil court, which is separate from criminal court. In civil court, the “penalty” is exclusively financial. If you succeed, a judge or jury will award you a sum of money to cover your damages.
The criminal and civil cases are entirely separate matters. A civil wrongful death claim could be successful even if the at-fault driver is acquitted on criminal charges or never charged in the first place.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive?
Every case is unique, so it is difficult to place a dollar amount on a settlement without knowing the full details of the case. However, depending on your specific losses, you could claim compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred by your loved one before their death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of income the deceased would have earned had they lived
- Loss of household and domestic services
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages if the death was the result of an intentional act
To put a price tag on someone’s life is impossible, but a knowledgeable attorney can help with the healing process by holding the negligent parties accountable for the losses they caused.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Is a Must for Denver Car Accident Fatalities
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you need experienced legal guidance to help you deal with the complexities of pursuing a wrongful death case. A wrongful death attorney can offer you legal advice, help you make sound decisions, and fight for your interests in court.
Bringing a successful wrongful death case takes a lot of work. The last thing you want is to be left with significant expenses because you didn’t have an attorney. At Olson Law Firm, LLC, we have the resources to thoroughly investigate the accident, collect evidence to strengthen your case, negotiate with the insurance company, and take your case to trial if necessary.
Contact Our Proven Car Accident Attorney for Help
While no amount of money can ever make up for the tragic loss of a close family member, it can help ease the financial burden associated with their passing and hold the driver accountable.