Wrongful Death Law in Arizona
If you lose a family member due to another person’s negligence, mistake, or wrong choice, it can feel like the world has come crashing down around you. Your entire life changes forever. And even though you may never see your loved ones again, you still miss them daily. But there are things you can do to make sure your loved one’s memory lives on. Those actions could help you obtain financial compensation for losing your loved one. In this article you can learn about Wrongful Death Law in Arizona.
The law recognizes that people have the right to live without fear of harm from others. It holds individuals responsible for injuries or deaths resulting from their negligent acts or omissions. When someone dies due to another party’s negligence, mistakes, or poor judgment, it is called wrongful death.
In Arizona, wrongful death occurs when a third party causes the death of another person. This includes situations where a motor vehicle driver negligently hits a pedestrian, causing injury or death; a manufacturer fails to warn consumers about a dangerous product; a food processor makes contaminated meat products, or a hospital fails to provide adequate care to a patient.
A wrongful death claim involves three main elements: liability, causation, and damages. Harm refers to whether the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased victim. Causation requires proof that the defendant’s conduct caused the death. Damages refer to the monetary value of the losses sustained by the decedent’s survivors.
Arizona Wrongful Death Statute
Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-613 states that “a personal representative may maintain an action…for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, parents, and next of kin of the decedent against the wrongdoer whose act or omission caused the death.” Under Arizona law, a personal representative must file a complaint within six months of death. A plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages under the statute.
There are several ways a personal representative can pursue a wrongful death claim. For example, the personal representative can sue directly on behalf of the estate, or they can bring a survival action on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries. In addition, a personal representative can join a wrongful death suit filed by a survivor or file a separate lawsuit.
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We understand how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of a tragedy. Our firm works hard to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation throughout each stage of the case. Contact us today to learn more about our experience representing victims of wrongful death claims.
What happens when you’re involved in a car accident, and another driver is deemed responsible for causing your injuries? Is that person legally liable for damages? What is the best legal strategy to pursue after suffering severe injuries resulting from an auto accident? How much compensation does a wrongful death victim receive? These questions and more are explored below.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In general, state law determines how a wrongful death lawsuit proceeds. However, some states have adopted statutes that provide specific guidelines regarding certain aspects of criminal death cases (i.e., loss of consortium, medical malpractice, etc.). As a result, the laws governing these particular areas vary across different states.
Compensation for Wrongful Deaths
Once a wrongful death suit reaches settlement or trial, injured parties may receive monetary compensation. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the case and the amount of fault assigned to the deceased individual, awards can range anywhere from $0 to several hundred thousand dollars per victim. In some instances, insurance companies also make payments directly to victims.
California Wrongful Death Attorneys
California has established a relatively fair system of compensating wrongful death victims. According to the statute, a decedent’s heirs are entitled to recover specific amounts from the defendant’s estate. For instance, if the decedent lived longer than six years, their surviving spouse and children are entitled to recover half of the maximum award. If the decedent was married but had no children, the entire award goes to the decedent’s wife and children. Under California law, the court decides the dollar value of the prize based on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Arizona Wrongful Death Attorney
According to the Arizona Code § 12-613(A), all wrongful deaths must be compensated. Compensation is payable out of the estates of both negligent and non-negligent tortfeasors. In addition to the statutory requirements, specific exclusions exist to mitigate the defendant’s liability.
Many jurisdictions allow a plaintiff to recover under various torts theories, including product liability, negligence, strict liability, intentional acts, and misrepresentation. The extent of damage caused by a defendant’s conduct depends upon the nature of the claim. For example, if an injury results from defective product manufacturing or design, the manufacturer or supplier may be found strictly liable regardless of its intent. A manufacturer or supplier is held responsible even if it did everything possible to avoid harm. On the other hand, if the claims arise out of ordinary negligence, the defendant is only held responsible if they knew or should have known of the risk. When an injury results from a defendant’s intentional act and misrepresentations, the plaintiff can seek punitive damages.
Most businesses carry liability insurance coverage for civil suits filed against them. Generally speaking, a policyholder is only required to notify the insurer immediately if a claim arises within one year of the occurrence date. Failure to give notice naturally releases the insured party from further obligations. Some policies require notification within thirty days of service of summons and complaints. Other policies cover lawsuits arising from personal injury or property damage before the policy period began.
After a successful wrongful death claim, the next step is probating the decedent’s estate. Unless otherwise provided by law, all assets in the decedent’s name become part of the estate. Once the decedent dies, the executor of an estate assumes control over its administration. Probate proceedings can occur in a county courthouse, district court, superior court, or small claims division.
It Is Very Important To Contact a Lawyer Right Away
Suppose someone close to you has died due to another person’s willful misconduct, recklessness, or negligence. In that case, whether a loved one, friend, or stranger – it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as reasonably and practicably possible. Some strict timeframes and laws apply to filing a wrongful death claim or suit in Arizona.
In Arizona, the typical statute-of-limitations period for filing a wrongful death action is two years from the decedent’s date of death. However, some exceptions exist under the law that may allow you to extend the two years or require additional steps to be taken.
If you fail to comply with the rules outlined in Arizona law, you could be legally prohibited from bringing a wrongful death claim. These types of lawsuits are often complicated and challenging to prove. Even if you cannot obtain a wrongful death claim, you may still be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and funeral costs.
Contact our office today for help navigating the complexities of wrongful death litigation.
Wrongful Death Claims in Arizona
Arizona law allows individuals to file a lawsuit to recover money for the loss of life due to negligence. A wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the deceased family members. In most cases, the deceased’s estate must pay the funeral expenses and medical bills before filing a wrongful death claim. If you believe that someone else is responsible for the death of your relative, contact us today for help.
Types of Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
In Arizona, there are three types of compensatory damages you may be entitled to receive for the death of a loved one. These include:
1. Loss of love and affection
2. Mental anguish
3. Loss of future earnings
The amount of money that you may be awarded depends upon how much each type of damage impacts your life. For example, if you experienced severe emotional distress because of the death of your son, you could be awarded $50,000 per month for ten months. If you lost your daughter’s companionship for 25 years, you could be compensated up to $5 million.
Common Wrongful Death Law in Arizona Cases:
Wrongful death cases fall into medical malpractice, defective product, and workplace accident. Each category requires different types of evidence and legal strategies. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a case.
A wrongful death claim must be filed within one year of the date of death. It could take longer if there is a dispute over the cause of death, such as medical negligence. You can contact our office today to learn about filing a wrongful death claim.
Dealing with Insurance in Phoenix Wrongful Death Law in Arizona Claims
The insurance companies pay most wrongful death lawsuits or judgments for the defendants involved. However, there are exceptions where the plaintiff receives payment directly from the defendant’s liability insurer. These cases include situations where a third-party tortfeasor causes injury or death to another person, and the victim dies within one year of the accident. In such instances, the deceased’s family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
While it can be challenging to deal with grief while pursuing a wrongful death case, wrongful death claims are governed by specific deadlines like the statute-of-limitations period. A criminal death cause of action must be filed within one year of the date of the decedent’s death. This deadline begins running once the decedent’s spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage, even though the couple had been married less than a year before their death.
Failure to comply with the statute-of-limitations period will typically be a complete barrier to the right to pursue the wrongful death lawsuit. Insurance company representatives may seem friendly and helpful. Still, their objective is usually to reduce the amount of the settlement or judgment on a valid claim or to facilitate the denial of a claim.
If you are not represented by a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer, the insurance company for the at-fault party will likely drag its feet to allow financial pressures caused by the loss of household income to mount. Insurance company representatives may attempt to delay the process, causing you to miss the statute-of-limitation deadline. They may offer to settle the matter for less money or pay out a smaller sum without admitting fault.