Father of Aurora teen shot by former officer files wrongful death lawsuit

Denver, CO – The father of Peyton Blitstein, the 17-year-old boy shot and killed by a former police officer last November in Aurora, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man. The lawsuit filed by Todd Blitstein in Arapahoe County District Court alleges that former police officer Adam Holen did not exercise the reasonable care needed when wielding a firearm and “unreasonably failed to exercise even the slightest amount of care in protecting others … from the dangers of being injured or killed as the result of wielding a firearm during a confrontation he initiated.”

The incident took place on the night of November 24, 2021. It all started like a typical road rage case. Peyton Blitstein was riding in a car with four friends and they later admitted they were listening to loud music. Adam Holen, who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .193 %, more than twice the legal limit, was driving home. At one point, Holen got angry that the other car ‘cut him off’ and he decided to follow the teenagers. When the kids stopped to drop someone off, Holen got out of his car to confront them. His former police officer reflexes kicked in and he pulled out his gun pointing it at Peyton and one of his friends. At this point, Peyton drew out his own, illegal, gun and shot at Holen. In self-defense, according to the lawsuit. Holen responded by firing nine rounds, hitting Blitstein at least five times – four times in the chest and once in the arm. The boy died 45 minutes later in the hospital.

Adam Holen, who had resigned from the police force a few weeks earlier, is also facing criminal charges – second-degree murder, menacing with a weapon, and prohibited use of a weapon.

The boy’s father is seeking compensation for medical, funeral and burial expenses, as well as emotional damages and stress from his son’s death.

At the same time, Todd Blitstein also filed a survival action on behalf of his son.

What’s the difference between wrongful death and survival action?

Both types of lawsuits may be brought because in a situation when someone dies as the result of another person’s negligence. 

The difference between the two types of lawsuits refers to the person seeking damages. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the immediate family of the deceased can seek damages for the medical and burial expenses, medical bills paid by the estate, as well as emotional damages.

A survival action, on the other hand, refers to the economic damages the deceased suffered between the accident and their death. It is still the immediate family that files the suit but on behalf of their loved one. When someone is killed on the spot, the family cannot file a survival action. In the above-mentioned case, the boy survived for 45 minutes so the family has legal grounds to file a survival action. 

In a survival action, the family is entitled to seek damages for:

  • the deceased’s medical bills from the time they were injured until their death
  • any lost wages while the deceased was injured
  • burial and funeral expenses
  • the value of the deceased’s personal property that was damaged in the accident 

In a survival action, the family cannot claim compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering between the accident and their death. 

If someone you loved died because of someone else’s negligence, talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer at the Bryan & Terrill law firm which offers help to bereaved families in the Denver area.

Contact info:

Bryan & Terrill 

333 W. Hampden Ave., #420B 

Englewood, CO 80110

(720) 923-2333


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