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Third-Party Wrongful Death Claim

Third-Party Wrongful Death Claims

The death of a loved one is always an agonizing experience. But dealing with a loved one’s death that was caused by another party’s negligence can be unbearable. When another party’s negligence causes someone’s death at work, the employer’s workers’ compensation plan generally pays for the family’s damages and losses. But in Colorado, there are certain circumstances that permit a family to file a third-party wrongful death claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. 

When Can I File a Workplace Wrongful Death Third-Party Claim?

In Colorado, when a loved one dies because of an employer’s or another employee’s negligence, the employer’s workers’ compensation plan will cover some of the family’s damages and losses. In exchange, the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits employees from suing their employer for negligence. However, a family may be able to file third-party wrongful death claims as well as a workers’ comp claim when a third party’s negligence caused or contributed to their loved one’s wrongful death.

The following are examples of situations that might permit wrongful death third-party liability claims:

  • Property hazards. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure that a worksite is reasonably safe for workers. If a property owner’s failure to meet this duty results in a worker’s death, they may be liable.
  • Motor vehicle accidents. If an employer requires a worker to travel by car while on the job and the worker’s death occurs in a wreck caused by a third party, the at-fault driver may be held liable.
  • Machinery or equipment malfunctions. If a piece of equipment or machinery malfunctions and causes a worker’s death, the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty or defective equipment may be held liable.
  • Floor, wall, or scaffolding failures. Architects, engineers, and project supervisors involved in a structure’s design or construction may be liable if the faulty design or improper supervision causes a worker’s death. 
  • Subcontractors. Worksite subcontractors are usually employed by a company other than the victim’s employer. Depending on the circumstances, a victim’s family may sue subcontractors for negligence or recklessness that contributed to a worker’s death.

Understanding federal, state, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other workplace regulations is crucial to building a strong wrongful death in the workplace third-party claim. Because this is a complex area of law, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you make your third-party claim more likely to succeed. 

Other Third-Party Claims

Third-party legal claims can also be used for wrongful deaths that occur outside of the workplace. Situations that may give rise to third-party claims for wrongful death might include:

  • Product Liability. Claims may be filed against third-party manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers if a product’s design or a defect results in someone’s death.
  • Traffic Accidents. A party other than the at-fault driver might also be liable for someone’s death. For example, if a drunk driver kills a loved one, but a defect in the driver’s vehicle is also to blame for the accident, a manufacturer may also be held liable as a third party.
  • Premises Liability. The owner or operator of a property might also be liable for a wrongful death that occurs on their property. For instance, if someone pushes another person against a neglected balcony during a fight and the balcony gives way, resulting in wrongful death, the aggressor and property owner may both be responsible for the person’s death.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical malpractice may arise after multiple providers fail to meet a standard of care. For example, If a surgeon accidentally cuts a vital organ during an operation and the hospital deals with the aftermath improperly, a victim’s family may be able to sue the surgeon and the hospital.

These are just a few examples of non-workplace third-party claims. A skilled wrongful death attorney can review your wrongful death case and identify all of the parties that might be responsible for your loved one’s death.

Contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. Today

At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., we understand how a settlement from a third-party lawsuit can lessen a family’s financial burdens and provide a sense of justice. That’s why our team will fight tirelessly to help you hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Our accomplished attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience, and we’ve obtained over $100 million dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We pride ourselves on providing every client with compassionate and attentive representation. If your loved one was the victim of wrongful death, Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. is here to help you. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.

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