Losing a loved one is a painful experience, and when that loss is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be even more devastating. In some cases, families of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for their loss.
A common question that many families have in wrongful death cases is whether there is a cap on the amount of compensation that can be awarded. The answer can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the laws of the state where the lawsuit is filed, the circumstances surrounding the death, and the specific damages being sought.
The Unthinkable, a book by Kyle Bachus, is a compassionate and practical guide for those who have lost a loved one due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others. The book provides helpful tips and insights on how to cope with grief, navigate the legal system, and pursue justice for your loved one. If you’re looking for guidance and support in the wake of a wrongful death, we highly recommend reading this book.
What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
In addition to emotional trauma, wrongful death frequently results in significant financial losses for the family. In these cases, families can sometimes seek both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be measured in monetary terms and can include the following:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s injury or illness prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income and future earnings that the deceased would have contributed to their family
- Loss of benefits, such as healthcare or pension plans, that the deceased would have provided to their family
- Property damage or other costs incurred as a result of the death
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are usually less tangible and more difficult to put a dollar amount on. These may include:
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and support for surviving family members
- Emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and grief
- Decreased quality of life, such as the inability to enjoy hobbies or spend time with loved ones
You should know that not all states allow for recovery of non-economic damages in wrongful death cases, but many states do.
What is a damages cap?
A damages cap is a legal restriction on the amount of compensation that can be awarded in a wrongful death case or other types of civil lawsuits. Some states have laws in place that impose a specific dollar amount or a formula for calculating damages in these cases, which can limit wrongful death case settlement amounts.
The purpose of a damages cap is to prevent excessive verdicts and to provide predictability and stability in the legal system. However, critics of these types of caps argue that they can be unfair, especially in cases where the damages are significant and the defendant is wealthy.
Are there wrongful death caps in Colorado?
In Colorado, there is no cap on economic damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. However, there is a cap on non-economic damages. That cap is $250,000 plus inflation. It’s important to note that these caps may change over time and can impact the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit. If you’re considering pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado, check out this helpful guide that will give you an overview of the laws and regulations surrounding wrongful death caps in Colorado.
Who can file a claim for wrongful death?
Most of the time, a wrongful death lawsuit has to be filed by a representative of the deceased person’s estate on behalf of the surviving family members. However, like most things in this type of suit, the laws can vary from state to state. In some states, only the surviving spouse or children may be eligible to file a claim, while in other states, parents, siblings, or other relatives may also be able to file a claim.
How can an attorney guide you in a wrongful death claim?
Navigating the legal system and pursuing a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney. An attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases can provide invaluable assistance in several ways:
- Provide legal guidance: A wrongful death attorney can help you understand your legal options and the steps involved in pursuing a claim.
- Investigate the case: An attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death and gather evidence to support your claim.
- Negotiate on your behalf: An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
- Represent you in court: If necessary, an attorney can represent you in court and advocate for your rights.
At Bachus and Schanker, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in wrongful death cases. We understand the emotional and financial toll these situations can take on a family, and we are committed to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve.
If you have questions about a wrongful death case, contact our wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation today.
What is a Damages Cap? (2022).
FAQ About Caps on Damages
Bieber, C. (2023). What Are Non-Economic Damages? (2023 Guide)