Understanding Wrongful Death Law in Arizona

Arizona wrongful death lawyer.

Welcome to GAMESQ, PLC, your trusted source for legal representation in Phoenix, Arizona. My name is Garrick McFadden, and I am an experienced Arizona wrongful death lawyer dedicated to helping families who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. This comprehensive guide will help you understand wrongful death law in Arizona, the legal processes involved, and how an Arizona wrongful death lawyer can assist you in seeking justice and compensation.

Arizona wrongful death lawyer.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of another party’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. In Arizona, wrongful death claims are governed by Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §§ 12-611 to 12-613. These statutes outline who may be held liable for wrongful death, who may maintain an action for wrongful death, and the types of compensation beneficiaries may be entitled to receive.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona?

Under A.R.S. § 12-612, the following individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Arizona:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The surviving children
  • The surviving parents or guardians
  • The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate

If none of these parties survive the deceased, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may bring an action on behalf of the estate. It is important to note that siblings, other family members, same-sex partners, and common-law spouses are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Arizona.

Legal Basis for Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim in Arizona is based on the premise that the deceased person would have been entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived. This means that the wrongful act, neglect, or default that caused the death must be such that it would have entitled the injured party to recover damages if death had not ensued.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases can arise from various situations, including:

  • Car Accidents: Fatalities resulting from negligent or reckless driving, including drunk driving and distracted driving.
  • Medical Malpractice: Deaths caused by medical negligence, such as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or failure to provide appropriate treatment.
  • Workplace Accidents: Fatalities resulting from unsafe working conditions, lack of proper safety measures, or employer negligence.
  • Defective Products: Deaths caused by defective or dangerous products, including faulty vehicles, medical devices, and consumer goods.
  • Premises Liability: Fatalities resulting from dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, such as slip and fall accidents, drownings, or dog attacks.

Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Claim

To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence or wrongful conduct directly caused the death. This involves establishing the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty of care through their actions or inactions.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the death of the deceased person.
  4. Damages: The death resulted in quantifiable damages to the surviving family members or the deceased person’s estate.

Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

In Arizona, damages in a wrongful death claim are divided into economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate for the financial losses suffered by the survivors as a result of the death. These may include:

  • Medical expenses incurred before the death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of income and financial support
  • Loss of benefits, such as health insurance and retirement benefits
  • Property damage resulting from the incident that caused the death

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages compensate for the intangible losses suffered by the surviving family members. These may include:

  • Loss of companionship, love, and affection
  • Loss of guidance and mentorship
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the survivors

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. This means that eligible parties must file their claim within this time frame, or they may lose their right to seek compensation. It is crucial to consult with an Arizona wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is filed within the statutory deadline.

Comparative Negligence in Wrongful Death Claims

Arizona follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that damages awarded in a wrongful death claim can be reduced if the deceased person was partially responsible for their death. The court will assess the percentage of fault of each party involved and adjust the damages accordingly. For example, if the deceased person were found to be 20% at fault, the total damages awarded would be reduced by 20%.

Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. In Arizona, punitive damages are not commonly awarded in wrongful death cases, but they may be considered in cases involving extreme negligence or intentional misconduct.

The Role of an Arizona Wrongful Death Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. An experienced Arizona wrongful death lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in the following ways:

  • Legal Expertise: A wrongful death lawyer has the knowledge and experience to handle the legal aspects of your case, ensuring that all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time.
  • Investigation: Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate to gather evidence, such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert opinions, to support your claim.
  • Negotiation: An experienced lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to secure a fair settlement for your losses.
  • Representation: If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will represent you in court, presenting a compelling case to the judge and jury.
  • Support: Throughout the process, your lawyer will provide compassionate support and guidance, helping you understand your rights and options.

Steps to Take After a Wrongful Death

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to take the following steps to protect your rights and strengthen your wrongful death claim:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Ensure that any injuries sustained by other family members are treated promptly.
  2. Report the Incident: Contact the police or relevant authorities to report the incident and obtain an official report.
  3. Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence related to the incident, such as photographs, videos, and witness contact information.
  4. Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of all expenses and losses incurred due to the death, including medical bills, funeral costs, and lost income.
  5. Consult an Attorney: Contact an experienced Arizona wrongful death lawyer to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

How GAMESQ, PLC Can Help

At GAMESQ, PLC, we specialize in representing families who have lost a loved one due to wrongful death. Our services include:

  • Free Consultations: We offer no-cost consultations to discuss your case and legal options.
  • Comprehensive Legal Representation: We handle all aspects of your case, from filing claims to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in court if necessary.
  • Contingency Fee Basis: You do not pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.

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Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience. Understanding wrongful death law in Arizona and knowing your rights can help you navigate the legal process and seek the justice and compensation you deserve. At GAMESQ, PLC, Arizona’s premier black-owned wrongful death law firm, we are committed to helping you through this difficult time and ensuring that those responsible for your loved one’s death are held accountable. If you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We are here to help you every step of the way. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please get in touch with GAMESQ, PLC at (623) 233-4416 or visit our website.