The death of a loved one is a tremendous loss in any situation. If someone else’s actions caused your loved one’s death, it can be infuriating and inspire you to seek justice. Filing a wrongful death claim provides surviving family members with a way to recover compensation for their losses. While nothing can truly replace your loved one, financial compensation eases the burden and attempts to lift you up on your healing journey.
You need the help of a wrongful death attorney to maximize your compensation, make sure you meet your deadlines, and know what you need to prove to win your case. Contact us today.
What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit is a way for surviving family members to pursue justice and receive compensation on behalf of a loved one who was killed by someone else’s conduct. Depending on the circumstance, you might first file a wrongful death claim with the insurance company (typically, your loved one’s insurance company). Then, the insurance company will gather information and conduct an investigation into the claim. They may send you an offer right away. Be advised that this initial offer is usually not the best offer that you can get. The decision is entirely up to you, but in most cases, the best way to maximize the compensation you receive is to talk to an attorney and have them handle the insurance adjuster for you.
Why You Need to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney
There are tremendous benefits of hiring a wrongful death attorney to help you pursue your rightful compensation in a wrongful death case.
Statute of Limitations
Colorado has a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. The statute of limitations is a law that places a deadline on when surviving family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. It requires that family members (or beneficiaries) file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years after your loved one dies. In some cases, you may have four years from the date of their death to file a claim. For example, if a motor vehicle accident caused your loved one’s death and the at-fault driver fled the scene of the accident.
Your best protection against missing these vital deadlines is to hire an attorney. They know what deadlines apply in your situation and whether an exception may be available if you missed a deadline.
Which Family Member Can File a Claim?
A wrongful death lawyer can help make sure that the right person files the lawsuit. Colorado’s laws can be confusing. Colorado’s wrongful death law places limitations on who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit and when.
The law indicates that a spouse may bring the lawsuit within the first year after a loved one’s death. During that first year, the surviving spouse may bring the lawsuit jointly with the decedent’s heirs (e.g., children). Alternatively, the spouse may allow the heirs to bring the lawsuit. If the person who died was unmarried, then their children or beneficiaries may bring a lawsuit. These are not the only people allowed to file suit, and a careful reading of the statute will help your attorney determine who the rightful parties are.
Unfortunately, if the wrong party files the lawsuit, then an otherwise valid claim can get thrown out. Avoid the hassle by hiring a wrongful death lawyer from the start.
Insurance companies often, if not always, try to pressure surviving family members into accepting a quick lowball settlement offer. They may attempt to persuade you that this low offer is the best you can get. But these initial offers more accurately reflect the insurance company’s desire to get rid of the case for as little as possible—as opposed to reflecting a fair settlement offer.
A wrongful death attorney is familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies to save money, and they understand what your case is actually worth. They fight for you and your family throughout negotiations to make sure that you receive every dollar you are entitled to under the law.
Fighting for You in Court
If the insurance company or at-fault party refuses to offer you a fair settlement, then a wrongful death lawyer will fight for you in court. In fact, just hiring a lawyer signals to the insurance company that you’re serious about your case. With no attorney, there is little pressure on the insurance company to settle because they know that a layperson likely won’t take the case to trial themselves. And if they do, they likely won’t win when going up against the insurance company’s legal team. Having a lawyer at negotiations is leverage. And if you must go to trial, a lawyer calls lay witnesses, presents evidence, and obtains expert testimony to prove your case.
Help Prove Who Is Liable
A wrongful death lawyer has your back whether you’re at the negotiation table or in the courtroom. Their extensive experience means that they have a firm grasp of what evidence you need to prove your claim. They tirelessly comb through the records to find the best angle to show that, but for someone else’s conduct, your loved one would still be alive.
We have Dr. Eric Steiner, M.D., on staff as a physician-attorney. We leverage his 17 years of practicing medicine as a cardiac anesthesiologist to bolster our understanding of the case. His invaluable skills and knowledge are an asset because he understands medical terminology and has the background needed to accurately describe what went wrong medically and the injuries from which your loved one suffered.
You suffered financial, emotional, and social losses because of your loved one’s death, and you deserve compensation. An experienced lawyer maximizes your compensation by tailoring a strategy that puts your best interests front and center, leaving no stone unturned.
Colorado places limitations on the damages that surviving family members can recover. Because of this, it’s especially important that you have a skilled wrongful death lawyer on your side. They help make sure you get the maximum compensation allowed.
Why You Need to Hire a Lawyer at Gerash Steiner & Blanton, P.C.
We’re here to fight for you and your family. We have 75 years of combined experience. And with a trained physician on our legal team, we’re who you need to review medical records and present your loved one’s injuries to a jury. Call us today or contact us online.