Can I File A Wrongful Death Claim In Colorado If My Adult Son Was Killed?
Written By: Attorney Christina Hagen
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The parent or parents of a decedent have a right to bring an action for wrongful death only in limited circumstances. Pursuant to Colorado Law ( CRS 13-21-201(1)(c)(1)), a parent may bring a wrongful death claim if the decedent is:
- An unmarried minor without descendants;
- An unmarried adult without descendants; or
- A designated beneficiary.
The father or mother of an adult son who was wrongfully killed and has no descendants can bring a wrongful death claim. Each parent has an equal interest in the judgment. Parents have no right to bring an action for the death of a child if the child was married, or if the child had any descendants. This means that even if the deceased’s spouse decides not to bring a wrongful death action, the parents still cannot bring a claim.
If your adult son was killed in an accident and you are looking to file a wrongful death claim, Zinda Law Group may help. Contact our experienced wrongful death attorneys today at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation. If we are unable to win your case, you won’t owe us anything.
Who May Be Held Responsible in a Wrongful Death Action for A Lost Adult Son?
While the at-fault party may be held personally responsible, the claim is almost always brought against the at-fault party’s insurance company. In a car crash case, for example, the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance could be held liable. If he or she was on the job at the time, there may be additional insurance through his or her employer that would afford coverage. We may also pursue a claim against an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage that the decedent may have been covered under at the time of death. This could include a first-party insurance policy in the decedent’s name and would include any insurance policies that the decedent was covered under as a resident relative (i.e. someone residing with a family member) at the time of his or her death. Of course, motor vehicle collisions are not the only circumstances that can give rise to wrongful death claims. Other common types of wrongful death claims involve pedestrian and bicycle accidents; premises liability incidents; unintentional shooting cases; drowning or boating incidents; medical malpractice; defective products; and workplace incidents. Zinda Law Group has successfully resolved many different types of wrongful death cases and may help you navigate the complex issues that can arise in each potential case.
What Other Factors Can Affect Source of Recovery?
An additional at-fault party or source of recovery to go after may come into play if the at-fault party was intoxicated. For example, if your adult son was killed by someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol, the establishment that served or sold him alcohol may be liable based on a number of different factors that could give rise to a Dram Shop claim. Dram Shop claims arise upon showing that a licensee willfully and knowingly sold or served liquor to any person under 21 years of age or any person who was visibly intoxicated. Perhaps the most important thing to note with respect to this scenario is that Dram Shop actions are subject to a one-year statute of limitations, not the general two-year statute of limitations governing wrongful death claims.
Important Considerations in a Wrongful Death Case For An Adult Son
Statute of Limitations
The first thing to consider is the statute of limitations, which is the maximum amount of time within which you have to file a lawsuit to preserve your claim. While the general wrongful death statute of limitations is 2 years, there are important considerations that will significantly affect time limits and deadlines. Therefore, if you have a wrongful death case stemming from a car crash, where the statute of limitations would typically be 3 years, it is important to know that you will be limited to the 2 years wrongful death statute of limitations instead.
Additionally, if there is any evidence to support a Dram Shop case under CRS 44-3-801(3)(a)(II), you will need to bring the lawsuit within 1 year of the service of alcoholic beverages. If your case involves vehicular homicide where the at-fault driver also fled the scene, there are additional factors to consider that may affect that time limit you have. If your case is against a governmental entity, there are even stricter deadlines and notice requirements that need to be complied with or else your claim could be forever barred.
There May be Additional Beneficiaries with a Right to the Settlement or Judgment
There are a number of considerations to be made and pitfalls to avoid when resolving a wrongful death case. One issue that may arise with respect to a wrongful death claim brought by one parent on behalf of his or her adult son is whether the other parent has a right to any settlement or judgment obtained. This issue is further complicated if the parents are separated or divorced. Our firm may help you in navigating each specific issue in your particular case to make sure that any amounts are distributed properly.
TRUST THE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
Our firm believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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