Wrongful death claims can arise from situations such as car collisions, defective products, unsafe premises, and work-place accidents. Colorado's wrongful death laws allow recovery for damages after a family member has died as a result of the bad acts of others. Colorado laws provide for family members to recover for both economic and non-economic damages.
Within the first year of a death, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the spouse (or the heirs with the spouse's consent); the heirs of the deceased (children); or the designated beneficiary. In the second year after a person's death, wrongful death actions can be brought by any of those parties. Should the deceased have no spouse and no children, then the parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim within two years (note that: if the parents are no longer together, they would each have an equal share in any damages recovered).
Any wrongful death action must be filed within two (2) years of the death (also known as a statute of limitations). If you do not protect these claims within that time frame, the claim is considered to be lost and no person may bring a claim. Wrongful death claims are civil matters and can be pursued in addition to any criminal case actions which may be brought against the at-fault party by government officials.
Should a family member's death be the result of a 'felonious killing', there are no damage caps (but this would require the at-fault party to plead guilty, be convicted of or enter a no contest plea to 1st or 2nd degree murder or manslaughter).