Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorneys Explain How Claims are Handled in Arizona
“The victim cannot seek damages on their own behalf. Because of this, a family member or loved one is entitled to the compensation the victim would have been owed.”
Filing a wrongful death claim in Maricopa County allows the decedent’s family to pursue financial recovery from the at-fault party. If someone you love has been fatally injured by another person, consider speaking with a Phoenix wrongful death attorney.
In the following post, we will examine many of the important elements of wrongful death claims in Phoenix and Maricopa County. Most people are unfamiliar with the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim until their family has lost someone.
When you need wrongful death lawyers in Phoenix, AZ, contact the accomplished attorneys at Goodnow McKay. Our skilled legal professionals can help your family to financially recover following the death of a loved one.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death is any death that was caused “by wrongful act, neglect or default,” according to A.R.S. 12-611. Simply put, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of the wrongful or negligent actions of another party.
Some common examples of contexts that result in wrongful deaths include:
- Car accidents caused by reckless driving
- Falling accidents due to negligence
- Workplace fatalities
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional actions, such as criminal acts
Much like other personal injury claims, wrongful death cases are heard in civil court. In other words, the potential consequences for the defendant are not the same as they would be for criminal cases.
Instead, a liable defendant in a wrongful death case may be required to pay financial compensation (known as “damages”) to the victim’s family. In criminal cases, a defendant may face fines, probation, or incarceration. None of this is possible with a civil wrongful death case.
Criminal and civil cases also rely on different burdens of proof. In a criminal context, the defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In civil lawsuits, such as wrongful death cases, the defendant’s fault must be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, the judge or jury must conclude that the defendant is more likely to be liable than not.
If you have lost a loved one in Maricopa County, it is crucial to contact a Phoenix wrongful death attorney. A legal professional can help you to build a case that highlights the at-fault party’s liability.
Who is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, several qualifications must be met. First, it must be the case that if the decedent had survived, they could have filed a personal injury claim. Wrongful death cases are legally similar to personal injury cases, except that the victim’s injuries were fatal.
In a wrongful death case, the victim cannot seek damages on their own behalf. Because of this, a family member or loved one is entitled to the compensation the victim would have been owed.
Individuals that have certain types of relationships with the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona. Some examples include:
- The decedent’s surviving legal spouse
- A child or children of the victim
- A surviving guardian or parent of the deceased person
- An executor of the deceased person’s estate
To learn whether you can pursue compensation on behalf of a loved one, speak with wrongful death attorneys in Phoenix.
Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases
In most wrongful death cases, the plaintiff’s losses are categorized into two types. The two primary types of damages are economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those losses that can be easily quantified in monetary terms. In wrongful death cases, these damages may include end-of-life expenses.
Common examples of economic damages in wrongful death cases include:
- Burial and funeral costs
- End-of-life care
- Medical bills and expenses
- Compensation for the victim’s lost earning potential
- Costs of repairs or replacement for damaged property
It is usually simple to calculate economic damages. However, not every type of loss from a wrongful death includes a price tag.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the victim’s survivors for the intangible losses resulting from the death of their loved one. It can be very difficult to calculate the value of non-economic damages.
Typical examples of intangible damages in wrongful death cases include:
- Loss of the decedent’s companionship, love, affection, care, and guidance
- Loss of household labor and services provided by the victim
- The emotional pain and suffering of the decedent’s survivors
- Many states limit the amount of compensation that a plaintiff can seek. Arizona has no cap on damages in wrongful death cases.
Speaking with a Phoenix wrongful death attorney can help you to secure the maximum recovery possible.
The Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
“No family should have to face the financial costs of a loved one’s death on their own. Wrongful death cases provide a way for grieving families to recover the compensation that they are owed.”
If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, do not wait. Like all other states, Arizona state law places a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases.
This means that individuals who would seek compensation for the death of a loved one must do so within two years of the victim’s death. Claimants who fail to file a lawsuit within this legal time limit will forfeit the compensation that they are owed.
Oftentimes, the courts will refuse to hear cases that are outside of this time frame. There may be exceptions to this statute of limitations in certain situations, however.
If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, it is best to speak with an accomplished attorney. When you need the best wrongful death attorney in Phoenix, AZ, contact the experts at Goodnow McKay.
No family should have to face the financial costs of a loved one’s death on their own. Wrongful death cases provide a way for grieving families to recover the compensation that they are owed.
Call Wrongful Death Attorneys Goodnow McKay
The attorneys at Goodnow McKay are experienced in many different types of wrongful death cases and have a proven track record of positive outcomes for their clients. Not only are they experienced, but they also care about, and listen to, their client’s goals. They are willing to settle cases when it benefits their clients, but also prepared to go to trial when it is necessary. Request a free consultation and move forward to receive the settlement you deserve.