How can Colorado’s contributory negligence law affect wrongful death cases?
Several laws in Colorado govern wrongful death cases and dictate how much surviving family members can receive, given they have a valid case. One law that family members who are entitled to damages should be aware of is Colorado’s contributory negligence law as it could impact how much they receive.
Understanding Colorado’s Contributory Negligence Law
If an individual suffered fatal injuries in an accident that was only partially their fault, while their loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit and potentially recover damages (i.e. financial relief), their award amount will be reduced. This is because Colorado, like many other states, follows a contributory negligence law.
While Colorado’s contributory negligence law does not bar certain family members from seeking damages on behalf of their loved one who would have otherwise been entitled to them had they still been alive, it does reduce the amount they are awarded. The law states that an individual can recover damages so as long as the decedent’s percentage of fault is “not as great as” the person who damages are being sought from.
If the decedent’s percentage of fault is less than the party who allegedly caused their death or contributed to it, then the amount awarded in damages would be reduced by this amount. For example, if certain surviving family members were awarded $500,000 over the wrongful death of their loved one, yet their family member was found to be 10% at fault for causing the incident that claimed their life, they wouldn’t be awarded the $500,000.
Instead, their initial award would be reduced by 10% and they would be left with $450,000.
What is the average payout for a wrongful death case?
There are many factors that must be taken into account before a wrongful death case can be valued. Therefore, the award amount does vary by case. Some of the factors that are often used to value a wrongful death case include:
- Whether the decedent played a role in causing it to happen.
- The number of surviving family members who are seeking damages and their relationship to the decedent.
- How the loss has impacted the surviving family members’ lives.
The CO Wrongful Death Lawyers at Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC Can Help Surviving Family Members Value Their Wrongful Death Case
If a family recently lost someone they love to a preventable accident in Colorado and they are looking to find out if they have a case and how much it is worth, they can contact Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC for help with this and much more. The Colorado wrongful death lawyers at Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC do offer free consultations and can be reached at 720-923-2333.
Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC can be reached at:
333 W. Hampden Avenue, #420B
Englewood, CO 80110