Boulder Wrongful Death Lawyers

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Wrongful Death Attorneys In Boulder, Colorado

The preventable death of a loved one is an unfathomable loss. If someone else’s negligent, reckless or intentional actions caused the death of a family member, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you financially, bring awareness to your loved one’s death, and warn others about committing reckless actions.

boulder wrongful death attorneys
Our Boulder wrongful death attorneys at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. have been helping accident victims and their family members for decades. We understand that grieving family members are under a tremendous amount of stress, so we work with vigilance and compassion to help them pursue justice.

Here, we’ll explain specifics involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit and tell you what compensation may be available.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Colorado law defines a wrongful death as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” A wrongful death claim is like an extension of a personal injury claim.

If the victim had lived and could have brought a personal injury claim, then the surviving family can file a wrongful death action to seek compensation for the financial and emotional harm caused by their loved one’s death.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents

A wrongful death can be caused by many incidents, from an accident to a murder. In our practice, we commonly see wrongful deaths occur in the following circumstances:

Car Accidents

Distracted drivers and drivers who are under the influence or speeding can cause deadly accidents. Drivers have a duty to drive responsibly, and when their actions cause a death, they must pay. A wrongful death lawsuit can hold a reckless driver responsible. 

Truck Accidents

There are over 13,000 trucking companies in Colorado, employing more than 110,000 people. Trucks can cause deadly accidents on busy roadways if a driver doesn’t show the required caution. 

Motorcycle Accidents

Other drivers must pay attention to motorcyclists on Colorado roadways. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to severe injuries and death in a crash due to their lack of protection.

Slip and Falls

While many do not consider slip and falls to be serious, in reality these accidents can be deadly. If a business or property owner ignores hazardous conditions, it can lead to an accident. Businesses have commercial insurance policies that may offer a significant settlement for the loss of a loved one.

Ski Accidents

Conditions on the slopes aren’t always safe. Skiers can be injured or killed by other skiers, ski resort negligence, or equipment malfunction.

Ski accident law has unique rules compared to other personal injury and wrongful death law, and pursuing a claim requires a ski accident attorney knowledgeable in this area.

Nikki Nicholaou was incredibly helpful and responsive. I felt very comfortable with my case in her hands, which was a great decision because she won me a settlement before we had to go to court
Veronica Blake
Veronica Blake
Highly recommended.
Andy B
Andy B
One day in June, 2019, our world was turned upside down. My husband was nearly killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle. He was lucky to come away from the accident with “only” a neck broken in 5 places, facing surgery and a long two-year recovery period. His extreme pain, our anger, and the total shock of the event overwhelmed us. We decided to focus all our energy on his healing. Dealing with the insurance company was more than we could handle. So, a little investigation brought us to Sloat & Nicholson. During the first phone conversation, Randy Nicholson explained that we could not only file a claim against the driver’s insurance, but also against our Underinsured Motorist insurance. Randy also explained that it was likely that he would have to fight Mike’s health insurance which would certainly ask to be totally reimbursed for their expenses. We’d learned that it was a bigger issue than we’d expected, but we knew we had found someone who could help us, and that has a great relief. After that first call, and in the subsequent months of meeting with Randy and his team, we knew we’d made the best possible decision. Randy got the full claim against the driver’s insurance. He convinced our health insurance that they had no standing in filing a claim against us. We didn’t have to pay them anything. And he negotiated with our Underinsured Motorist insurance and got the full claim against them as well. It was not easy, and Randy worked hard. He completely relieved us of a ton of stress. He kept us informed each step of the way. Every time we worked with him and his team, we became more and more convinced that we’d made the right decision. We were so glad we found Sloat and Nicholson. After the accident, we felt like the world was against us. The court system totally dropped the ball, and we constantly had to fight back our anger at the driver and the judge. But we had Randy Nicholson and his team on our side, and we are forever grateful to all of them.
midge castillo
midge castillo
I was in a car accident and needed legal advice. Robert Hoover was both professional and informative! He was so helpful, and I would recommend him to anyone. I also appreciated his Christian perspective!
colleen G.
colleen G.
I was a case form many years ago Gerald handled everything completely professionally there is not one thing I would do differently My case was complicated but the end result was everything that I was entitled to! If your case is in his practice area I highly recommend a phone call consultation or visit to his office. You won't be disappointed his years of experience knowledge and fair treatment of his clients would not be more apparent!
Adam Townson
Adam Townson
Jerry Sloat and his staff treated our family with great respect and helped us to receive compensation for the injuries, pain and suffering we incurred during a car accident. We owe him so much and are truly grateful that we stopped trying to deal with the insurance company and allowed Jerry and his wonderful team of professional to take care of everything for us.
Leonard Romano
Leonard Romano
Gerry Sloat was amazing, after my car wreck I was at a loss on what was going on. I didn't know the process or what to even expect. I turned to him because he was the only one willing to take the time and speak with me to answer all my questions. My insurance company wouldn't even call me back to answer my question of what was happening. Gerry took quite a bit of time explaining the different aspects of the insurance and the other driver and the county issues that I didn't even know where separate, he really set my mind at ease with my mind running with all of the "what ifs" I now know where I stand and what to expect going further and can now make informed decisions on what I need to be prepared for what lies ahead! Thank you again Mr Sloat!
landa raddon
landa raddon
Gerry Sloat was a very skilled and helpful attorney when I needed one to negotiate a settlement for many, many medical bills resulting from a head on collision. What impressed me most was his fair handedness in dealing with us, but also with dealing with the other parties involved. Further, since the accident a half dozen years ago, he has been more than helpful in answering questions about all matters of the law, and seems to genuinely enjoy hearing from me when I call. A stellar human and an outstandingly thorough attorney.
Bonnie Carol
Bonnie Carol
Ever since I started working with with Robert Hoover it's been more like working with family he's taking the time to get to know me and my family on a personal level the office staff know by name and they are the best
Jason Swartz
Jason Swartz

What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Suit and Criminal Prosecution?

A person can be criminally prosecuted and sued in civil court for damages for the same act or failure to act that caused a death. A criminal prosecution is separate from a civil lawsuit, and both actions can proceed at the same time. 

An example of this would be the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, in which the defendant was found not guilty of murder in the criminal trial, but in the civil lawsuit brought by the family of Ron Goldman, the defendant was found liable for substantial money damages.  

Criminal Prosecution

The State of Colorado prosecutes people accused of committing a crime. Criminal homicide charges range from manslaughter to murder and are punishable by fines and imprisonment.. Criminal conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Civil Lawsuit

Even if a person is acquitted of criminal charges, you can file a wrongful death suit. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, which seeks money for surviving family members.

A civil lawsuit also brings a lower burden of proof, meaning it is easier to find someone liable for wrongful death than to find them criminally guilty of homicide. A wrongful death lawsuit requires proof by only a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the defendant was responsible for the death.  

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?

Colorado law determines who can file a wrongful death claim based on their relationship with the victim and the timing of the lawsuit.  Wrongful Death Claims can be very complicated, and Colorado law allows only one lawsuit to be filed, regardless of the number of defendants or claimants. 

Up to One Year After the Death

In the first year after the person’s death, a very restricted group of people can file a claim.

Surviving spouse

If it has been less than a year after the person’s death and the victim has a surviving spouse, only the surviving spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit. There is an exception to this rule—if the surviving spouse gives written permission, the deceased’s children can join the spouse’s claim or to file their own claim. 

No surviving spouse

If the deceased has no surviving spouse, the deceased’s children or a designated beneficiary can bring the lawsuit. Either way, Colorado allows only one wrongful death suit per decedent, regardless of the number of surviving family members.  

More Than One Year After the Death

Between one and two years after the victim’s death, the following people can bring a wrongful death claim:

  • The surviving spouse,
  • The deceased’s children,
  • The surviving spouse and the deceased’s children together, or
  • The designated beneficiary and the deceased’s children together.

If the deceased’s children file a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving spouse and the beneficiary can join that action within 90 days. When a wrongful death victim has no spouse, children, or designated beneficiary, the deceased’s parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Compensation Is Available For Wrongful Death?

In a wrongful death claim, surviving family members seek compensation for their loss, which is usually paid by an insurance company.

Potential wrongful death damages include:

  • Economic Loss, including funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and lost income the decedent would have earned. 
  • Non-economic loss, including grief, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and emotional distress of surviving family members. 

Caps on Damages for Wrongful Death

Colorado caps the damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit. The capped amount is adjusted every two years and is currently $571,870 for noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering).

An exception applies for first or second-degree murder or manslaughter, which is called a “Felonious Killing” — in that situation, there is no cap on noneconomic damages. Also, there is no cap on economic damages, such as funeral expenses and lost wages, if applicable.

When Should You Contact a Boulder Wrongful Death Attorney?

Colorado law provides only a limited time for family members to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death.

However, when someone is killed in a hit-and-run accident, their family has four years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. After the statute of limitations expires, you cannot bring a wrongful death action.

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer in Boulder, CO

If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim, don’t take on this additional burden on your own. Instead, contact an experienced Boulder wrongful death attorney for advice.

At Sloat, Nicholson, & Hoover, P.C., we offer a free consultation, and you will not pay us anything unless we settle or win your claim. We care about our community and strive to provide excellent representation to people experiencing pain, tragedy, and grief. Contact us today to learn more.


In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Statute of Limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. now at 800-873-3202 or submit a simple Case Review Form. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law.