Losing a loved one is always difficult, no matter the circumstances, but wrongful deaths are some the most trying experiences we can encounter as humans. The sudden loss of someone you love may leave you feeling completely lost and unable to move forward, emotionally and practically. These are understandable reactions, and it is important to take steps to protect your rights in Colorado while you work through this difficult season.
If you lost a loved one because of the negligence or actions of another person, then you may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to wrongful deaths, because no form of compensation can account for the loss of a human life, but it is important to seek the remedies you have available.
Civil and criminal suits
Often, when someone loses their life wrongfully, those left to pick up the pieces want to see the person responsible suffer punishment. While it is typically possible to bring a wrongful death claim against the person responsible, private individuals do not have the power to order law enforcement to pursue criminal charges against another individual. Criminal charges come from law enforcement if and when law enforcement believes that a crime was committed, and not all wrongful deaths occur because of criminal activity.
However, you may still file a civil wrongful death suit against the person or persons responsible. If courts side in your favor, the defendant will not likely serve any jail time or suffer other criminal consequences, but they may be on the hook for significant monetary damages.
Suing over the loss of an unemployed loved one
In many wrongful death suits, loved ones filing the claim show the court how much future income and value the deceased person likely would have made over their lifetime, had they not lost their lives. Often, this potential future income serves as the basis for determining monetary compensation for victims.
However, one's income is not the only way to value a life. If you lost a loved who did not have an income to wrongful death, their life held much more value to you than their paycheck. If, for instance, a stay-at-home parent suffers a wrongful death, they provided significant value to their family and community, which courts tend to qualify as "pecuniary losses."
Filing a wrongful death suit may be an important part of honoring the memory of the one you lost, helping you examine the value that they brought to your life and to the lives of others around you. Be sure to use strong legal resources and guidance as you work toward building your claim, to keep your rights secure.