How are damages determined in a wrongful death case?

Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyers: Know your rights. Stop guessing. Get Facts.

Wrongful Death claims in Arizona exist when a person has died as a result of a wrongful act of another person. Wrongful Death claims can arise out of many types of incidents including (but not limited to) personal injury cases, workers compensation cases, auto accidents, medical malpractice, etc?.

A wrongful death claim is treated like any claim in terms of proving negligence. The burden of proof is on the Plaintiff (the person who is seeking damages) to show that the Defendant (the person who caused the harm) was negligent, in other words, did something he shouldn’t have done or failed to do something he should have done, and such action/inaction caused the death of your loved one.

Once the Plaintiff has shown that the death was the result of the negligence of the Defendant, then the Plaintiff must prove his or her damages.


Generally, the question is: What is the value of the decedent’s life that was lost to the surviving loved one?

In addition to the lost relationship, companionship and friendship, a loved one can seek economic loss (if there is any).

There are many different categories of claims that can be brought for the wrongful death of a loved one, yet a limited class of people who actually have the right to bring the claim. It is important if you are faced with the Wrongful Death of a loved one that you seek legal counsel who understands that the determination of the value of a life is not purely economic and that there is value in everyone’s life.

Arizona law has determined that it may be inappropriate when determining the value of a life to consider the economic status of a family, evidence of alcohol or drug abuse, evidence of criminal history of the decedent’s family, evidence of the decedent’s marital or family difficulties, and any evidence of other potentially discriminatory aspects of a decedent’s life such as sex life, infidelity or pregnancy history. The appropriate things to consider are the lost relationships of the surviving family members.

When a loved one has been taken away prematurely, the law allows a remedy: The payment of monetary damages. We cannot bring the loved one back, and there is no way to make up for the loss. The only measure allowed by the law is compensation, is terms and amounts commensurate with the family’s losses.

Although it is difficult to find comfort in monetary compensation, it is the only remedy.

In the event the act of the wrongdoer was criminal, the criminal courts will take care of that side of things. The civil courts are the place for the family to seek monetary damages, and irrespective of the results in either of the court systems, one is not dependent on the other. (For example, OJ Simpson was found not guilty in the criminal court, yet, a civil jury awarded his ex-wife’s family $33 million in damages.)

See: How to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Follow these steps.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent act of another, seek an experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death lawyer for consultation. Look for an attorney who has been declared by the Arizona State Bar as a Certified Specialist.

In such, you can rest assured that the attorney you choose is experienced and well-qualified to help you and your family get the recovery you deserve.