The Emotional Toll of Wrongful Death: Seeking Compensation for Grief

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Experiencing the wrongful death of a loved one creates an indescribable pain that no amount of money can ever take away. However, Colorado law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim to seek damages for the emotional toll they’ve gone through as a result of their loved one’s tragic passing. 

If you thought wrongful death claims could only help you recover the economic damages you’ve incurred like hospital bills and funeral costs, continue reading below as we describe the non-economic damages that you can receive through a wrongful death claim. We’ll also discuss how working with a specialized personal injury lawyer can help navigate the aftermath of such tragedies. 

Understanding Grief in Wrongful Death Cases

The passing of a loved one will leave you with a sense of sadness and heaviness under any circumstances. But, when your loved one dies because of the negligence or intentional act of an individual or business, this immense grief can also come with questions and “what ifs” that may not have clear answers. 

The feelings you have after the unjust passing of a loved one are often unpredictable and overwhelming and can vary from day to day. Following the seven stages of grief, you may initially feel shock and denial about the incident, then move on to anger and sadness before you eventually end up at acceptance. 

As you seek closure for the incident and hope to gain a better understanding of what led to the tragic event and find out who is responsible, the nights and days following their death can feel dark and lonely. 

The Impact of Emotional Distress

After the initial shock of a loved one’s tragic passing, the emotional trauma that sets in can have a number of long-standing impacts on surviving family members, including depression, loneliness, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other forms of mental and emotional distress. 

It’s important to understand that grief and the related trauma of losing a loved one from a wrongful act don’t always manifest the same way in every individual, and can develop and worsen over time. 

Such mental and emotional suffering can severely impact surviving family members’ daily functioning, their ability to return to work, personal relationships, and their overall quality of life. 

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

You may wonder if you can sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering in a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. The simple answer is yes, you can. 

When you sue for wrongful death, you can seek economic damages for the financial losses you’ve incurred, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, or loss of consortium. 

In Colorado, surviving spouses have the priority during the first year after the death to file a wrongful death suit. The law assumes they are the most impacted by the death, and gives them the ability to seek damages because of the pain, suffering, and loss of love and companionship they must grapple with in the aftermath. 

Surviving children and heirs can file their suit in the following year, allowing them to seek damages for the loss of parental guidance and family structure they’re dealing with. The reality that their deceased parent will miss important milestones can cause great emotional distress for the rest of the child’s life, which can be compensated through a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Speak with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer for Help 

The specific laws and regulations surrounding wrongful death claims can be complex and difficult to understand for the average person, especially when it comes to calculating the value of non-economic damages. This is why it can be so beneficial to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you get the maximum compensation you’re entitled to and fully understand your legal rights in such situations. 

Sandene Law is one of Denver’s premier personal injury attorneys that can help you receive the compensation you deserve after experiencing the wrongful death of a loved one. No matter the circumstances of their death – whether it’s medical malpractice, a motor vehicle accident, or slip and fall – we can help. 

After handling such cases for over a decade, we have seen firsthand the devastation that the wrongful death of a loved one can cause. The emotional distress of losing a family member at no fault of their own is overwhelming, so we want to help you recover the damages you’re entitled to. 

If you have questions about filing a wrongful death suit and want to speak with a legal expert about your rights, contact us today for a free consultation.


What are the specific criteria or conditions under which a death is considered “wrongful” under Colorado law?

In Colorado, a death is considered wrongful when it’s caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person or entity. This can include situations like car accidents, medical malpractice, or even intentional acts of violence.

How is the value of non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, calculated in a wrongful death claim in Colorado?

Determining the value of non-economic damages in a wrongful death case, like pain and suffering, involves considering several factors, such as the intensity and duration of the grief experienced, the relationship between the deceased and the claimant, and the impact on the claimant’s quality of life. These assessments are inherently subjective and typically require legal expertise to argue effectively in court.

Are there any time limitations or deadlines for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado?

Regarding time limitations, Colorado law imposes a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Generally, the surviving spouse has the priority to file a lawsuit within the first year after the death, and surviving children or designated heirs have the opportunity to file in the second year. It’s crucial to initiate legal proceedings within these time frames to preserve the right to seek compensation.

Can other family members besides spouses and children, like siblings or parents, file a wrongful death claim in Colorado?

While the primary right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado lies with the surviving spouse and then the children, other family members like parents or siblings may have the right to file under certain conditions, particularly if there are no surviving spouses or children.

What types of evidence are typically required to support a wrongful death claim in Colorado?

Supporting a wrongful death claim typically requires comprehensive evidence that establishes the cause of death and links it to the defendant’s actions. This might include medical records, eyewitness testimony, accident reports, and expert testimony to demonstrate how the defendant’s behavior directly led to the loss, alongside documentation of the impact on the surviving family members’ lives.

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