The loss of a loved one can be a devastating event that often leaves families struggling emotionally, mentally, and financially. When this loss is due to the negligent actions of a person, corporation, or government entity, the family may be able to pursue justice and compensation by filing a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the following individuals:
- The surviving spouse
- Children (natural and legally adopted)
- Parents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians
- A personal representative working on behalf of the deceased’s estate
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a loss, it’s not unusual for a wrongful death lawsuit to shadow a criminal trial. However, in a civil lawsuit, the family’s legal team is responsible for proving that the defendant’s negligent actions led to their loved one’s death. The court can’t sentence the defendant to prison time, but they can order the negligent party to pay the family substantial damages. These damages can pay for medical bills, funeral costs, loss of potential earnings, and even pain and suffering.
To be awarded damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, a claimant must be able to prove the following:
- That the death was caused by a wrongful act of negligence
- That the defendant owed a duty to the decedent (for example, to drive safely)
- That the defendant was directly responsible for the decedent’s passing
- That the family has suffered quantifiable damages due to the decedent’s passing
The statute of limitations in Arizona states that a plaintiff has 2 years after the death of their loved one to file a wrongful death claim. If the plaintiff fails to file within this time period, the court may refuse to hear the case. It’s important to note that a criminal case has no influence on the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit.
File a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death case can be incredibly complicated to navigate without legal guidance. Before taking legal action, you should retain the services of a wrongful death attorney who can compile the necessary evidence and develop a case strategy that maximizes your damages. At Alex & Associates, P.C.., our wrongful death attorneys in Phoenix have compassionately and effectively represented countless clients in wrongful death cases.
Please contact our firm for a free consultation if you would like to discuss your situation. We offer legal services in both Spanish and English. Call Alex & Associates today at (602) 483-6114.