Wrongful Death Research Paper

Words: 663
Pages: 3

Wrongful death is a civil claim brought against a party who is liable for losses caused by the death of a loved one. This type of action is brought by a surviving family member due to a defendant’s negligence. C.R.S. § 13-21-202 provides that:
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.
In other words, if the deceased party had not passed away, and that person would have had an action against the wrongdoer, then that action survives, and a family member may bring suit.
You may recover both economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death case. However, C.R.S. § 12-21-203 limits the damages recoverable under the Wrongful Death Act. Per Colorado statute, the limitation on noneconomic damages for a personal injury claim shall not exceed $250,000 plus inflation. That makes the current cap for wrongful death suits $436,070 (this may increase or decrease in 2016 based upon inflation).
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If you apportion first, defendant owes $400,000, which is below the cap. If you cap first that $436,070, you end up with 40% of that, which is $174,428. Defendant owes quite a bit less in that scenario. The authors in this piece argue that “subjecting the total verdict to the damage cap and then further reducing the number for comparative fault would result in an unfair double-reduction” and public policy favors the “apportion first, then cap” method, which in turn benefits the family of the