Front end of a car smashed after an accident


Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, LLC Feb. 18, 2021

According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were about 588 fatal crashes and 632 fatalities in Colorado in 2018. Losing a loved one is among the most heartbreaking incidents anyone can deal with in life, especially when such death was avoidable. If you believe that someone else's negligent actions or carelessness caused your loved one's death, you are within your rights to seek fair compensation by filing a wrongful death claim against the liable party.

At Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, we're dedicated to providing comprehensive legal guidance, support, and compassionate representation to clients in wrongful death matters. As experienced Colorado personal injury attorneys, we can review your unique situation and offer you the detailed counsel, assistance, and support you need during this difficult period. Our attorneys will fight vigorously to protect your rights, help file a wrongful death action, and attempt to seek rightful compensation for your loss.

Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley proudly serve clients throughout Durango, Colorado, and the surrounding areas of Cortez, Telluride, Pagosa Springs, and The Four Corners region.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Colorado

Losing a family member can be a devastating and emotional experience. Wrongful death is a death that was caused by another person's negligent or wrongful actions. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-202:

"When the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who or the corporation which would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable in an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured."

Who Can File a Claim?

Colorado law limits the individuals who may bring a wrongful death claim.

Within the First Year

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-201(1)(a), the following people may bring a wrongful death claim within the first year after the person's death:

  • The spouse of the deceased (who has exclusive rights)

  • The heirs of the deceased with the spouse's written election or consent

  • If there is no spouse, the heirs of the deceased (or designated beneficiaries)

Within the Second Year

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-201(1)(b)(I), the following people may bring a wrongful death claim in the second year after the person's death:

  • The spouse of the deceased

  • The heir or heirs of the deceased

  • The spouse and the heir or heirs of the deceased

  • The designated beneficiary

Statute of Limitations

According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-204, a wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the date the incident or death occurred.

Possible Damages You Can Recover

In a Colorado wrongful death action, both economic and non-economic damages may potentially be recovered.

Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses before the person's death

  • Loss of decedent's earnings

  • Lost insurance or retirement benefits

  • Loss of decedent's services

  • Funeral expenses and burial expenses

  • Property damage that occurred during the accident

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Grief and sorrow

  • Loss of consortium

  • Loss of love or companionship

  • Punitive damages

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The aim of the wrongful death claim is to hold the responsible party accountable for a preventable accident that caused the person's death and compensate the surviving loved ones of the decedent.

Although no amount of financial compensation is enough to bring back the dead person or fill the void left behind by their death, a wrongful death claim can:

  • Provide Closure & Prevention: It won't bring the person back, but it can hold the responsible party accountable so that this doesn't happen to other families.

  • Provide a Financial Boost: Filing a wrongful death claim can mean a much-needed financial boost for you to cover outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, burial costs, lost income, and loss of consortium.

  • Hold the At-Fault Party Liable: Through a wrongful death action, the family of the deceased can hold the at-fault party liable and seek financial compensation for the loss.

Work with an Experienced Attorney

The death of a loved one can have significant consequences on your financial, mental, and emotional health. Thankfully, you don't have to go through it alone. Hiring a knowledgeable Colorado wrongful death attorney is a major step toward protecting your rights and pursuing rightful compensation for your loss.

At Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, our attorneys are devoted to handling wrongful death cases and protecting the rights of fatal car accident victims and their loved ones. As your legal counsel, we will review every aspect of your case, conduct a thorough investigation, gather all necessary evidence and documentation, and help establish that the defendant's wrongful actions caused the death.

As experienced Colorado wrongful death attorneys, we will fight aggressively on your behalf to protect your rights and represent your best interests. Our attorneys will help pursue fair financial compensation to cover medical bills before the person's death, funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, burial expenses, and loss of consortium, love, or companionship. We will stand up for you and continue fighting for what you deserve.

Colorado Fatal Car Accident Attorneys

If you have lost a loved one, child, parent, spouse, or close relative to another person's negligent act, you may hold the responsible party liable. Contact us at Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley today to schedule a free one-on-one case assessment. We will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance, assistance, and compassionate representation you need in your wrongful death lawsuit. We proudly serve clients across Durango, Cortez, Telluride, Pagosa Springs, and The Four Corners, Colorado.