Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through. When a person dies due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, the family members left behind may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for their loss. If you’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado, one of the most common questions you may have is, “How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth?”
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The value of a wrongful death lawsuit depends on a variety of factors, including the circumstances of the death, the economic and non-economic losses suffered by the family, and the strength of the evidence supporting the lawsuit. However, there are certain guidelines that can help you understand what to expect in terms of compensation.
Compensation for Economic Losses
Economic losses are damages that can be quantified in financial terms, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and lost benefits. In Colorado, the surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for economic losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. The amount of compensation will depend on the specific economic losses suffered by the family.
For example, if the deceased person was the primary breadwinner in the family, the family may be able to recover compensation for lost income and lost benefits, such as health insurance or retirement benefits. If the deceased person incurred medical expenses before passing away, the family may be able to recover compensation for those expenses as well. The amount of compensation for economic losses will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
Compensation for Non-Economic Losses
Non-economic losses are damages that cannot be quantified in financial terms, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. In Colorado, the surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for non-economic losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. The amount of compensation for non-economic losses is typically determined by a jury.
In Colorado, there is a cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases. The cap is currently set at $598,350 (as of 2023) or an amount equal to the economic losses suffered by the family, whichever is greater. However, there are some exceptions to the cap. For example, the cap does not apply if the wrongful death was caused by a defendant who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In some cases, the surviving family members may also be able to recover punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future. In Colorado, punitive damages are capped on various factors including the amount of economic and non-economic damages awarded to the plaintiff.
If you’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado, it’s important to understand that the value of the lawsuit will depend on a variety of factors. While it’s difficult to provide an exact dollar amount for a wrongful death lawsuit, the compensation available typically includes economic losses, non-economic losses, and possibly punitive damages. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal options and seek the compensation you and your family deserve.