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Can I File a Brain Injury Claim on Behalf of a Loved One?

March 29, 2023

Many brain injuries that are diagnosed in Colorado each year stem from negligence, or someone’s failure to use reasonable care. In these scenarios, the victim that suffered a brain injury can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. In a situation where a brain injury is severe enough to render the victim unable to bring a claim himself or herself, the lawsuit can be filed by a loved one instead.

Can I File a Brain Injury Claim on Behalf of a Loved One?

How Does Power of Attorney Work in Colorado?

One way you can obtain the legal authority to file a brain injury claim on behalf of a loved one is with a power of attorney. This is a group of legal documents that allow you to act as an agent on your loved one’s behalf. There are different types of powers of attorney based on the needs of the family and situation. You will need to obtain a general power of attorney, also known as a financial power of attorney, to take legal action on behalf of your loved one.

A financial power of attorney allows you (the agent) to undertake almost any legal action as if you were your loved one (the principal). This includes a personal injury or brain injury lawsuit in Colorado. You will also have agency to open and manage financial accounts, handle legal matters, and invest business interests. It only continues as long as the principal is alive. The agent can also end a power of attorney if he or she becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney or passes away.

To become a power of attorney, the individual with the brain injury must appoint you as one. This option may be appropriate if your loved one’s level of injury means that he or she remains mentally competent enough to give you power of attorney but does not have the ability to pursue a claim himself or herself. In this situation, the injured person can formally designate you as a legal representative for the purpose of filing a lawsuit.

Petition the Courts to Become a Legal Guardian

If a power of attorney is not possible in your situation, another option could be to become the injured person’s legal guardian. A legal guardianship gives you the authority to file an injury claim on the victim’s behalf as your ward. You will have the right to reach a settlement with the negligent party to recover compensation for the harm that your loved one has suffered.

In Colorado, the courts can appoint legal guardianship to an individual to provide care and make decisions for an incapacitated adult, such as due to a brain injury or coma. As a legal guardian, you will not only be granted the right to file a brain injury claim but also the responsibility to take care of your loved one. This includes living arrangements, social activities, medical care and education. Before being appointed as a guardian, you must go through a background check and other legal processes.

File a Loss of Consortium Claim

Another legal remedy that could be available to you as a loved one of someone with a severe brain injury is a loss of consortium claim. Unlike the other two options, this type of claim is filed on your behalf rather than your injured loved one’s. It seeks financial compensation for the losses that you and other surviving family members suffered due to the incapacitating injury, such as loss of parental advice and guidance, love and companionship, sexual intercourse, household services, and financial support.

Bring a Wrongful Death Action

If your loved one tragically loses his or her life because of a fatal brain injury, you could file a wrongful death claim in Denver. This type of case pursues financial compensation for the death of an individual caused by the negligence of another party. A successful wrongful death lawsuit could result in compensation given to you and other beneficiaries for reasonable funeral and burial costs, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and other damages.

For more information about your legal possibilities after a loved one suffers a debilitating brain injury, contact Fang Law Firm for a free case consultation with an attorney.