One of the most tragic and painful events that can occur to someone is the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. “Wrongful death” occurs when someone else’s wrongful actions result in the death of another. “Wrongful death” is the name given to a civil claim brought against the person responsible for the death.
Under the common law, a dead person cannot bring a claim or file a lawsuit. (Makes sense) However, this created a legal hole that left people without justice. Eventually, this changed when governments began to make laws protecting survivors of the deceased. Now, a limited class of survivors/heirs of a person lost to wrongful death may bring a claim for monetary damages. The laws concerning wrongful death claims vary from state to state, so it is important to know if you can file a claim, and what the requirements and limitations are. The best way to determine your rights is to consult an Arizona wrongful death lawyer. Wrongful death lawyers in Arizona, particularly certified specialists, are knowledgeable about the local wrongful death laws. They can best assist you in receiving compensation for the death of a loved one.
When considering a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one, it is important to first determine what the controlling laws are in regard to who can bring a claim, time restrictions, and the types of damages that can be recovered. The specific statutes that govern the filing of wrongful death claims are Arizona Revised Statutes S12-611, 12-612 and 12-613.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Under Arizona law, a surviving spouse, child, parent or guardian, or personal representative, may bring a wrongful death claim. (The descendant’s siblings do not have the right to bring a claim—-unless they have been named as a personal representative.) However, even if named as a personal representative, they cannot bring a claim for their own sorrow or loss. As the personal representative, they may bring a claim for the losses of the “estate” of the deceased, so long as there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent. Additionally, as wrongful death rights are created by statute, the claimants must bring a claim or action within one (1) year of the date of the victim’s death.
In Arizona, if no settlement is reached, either the jury or the judge will decide how much money to award eligible survivors of the decedent. The amount of the money damages awarded varies based on the determination of the following factors:
– How much money did the deceased earn?
– How much money did the deceased save?
– How financially dependent were the survivors on the deceased?
– How much the deceased would have provided to the survivors if they had not been killed?
– What are the costs of funeral and medical expenses?
– What is the value of household and other services that the deceased would have provided?
– What is the value of the lost relationships (son, husband, father, etc…)
– Punitive damages are also available in rare instances if it can be shown that the defendant acted with evil, reckless or malicious intent. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit is meant to compensate surviving family members, and not to punish the party responsible for the death.
– If you have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one, it is important to seek out an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Arizona, who can provide you with the best legal representation available. To find out if you may file a wrongful death lawsuit, locate a wrong death lawyer who is a certified specialist in Arizona.
To learn more, ask questions, or have a free consultation, contact Zachar Law Firm at 602-494-4800. You can also visit the Zachar Law Firm website at www.ZacharAssociates.com.