Overview of our services…
Losing a loved one is a painful and difficult experience. Even worse, wrongful death claims are potentially incredibly complicated, stressful, and intrusive on the lives of the survivors. Our firm is here to clarify the actions and give a broad overview of the process—the last thing a family member needs is more questions and confusion after losing a loved one. Wrongful death actions are governed by statute in Arizona. They provide that only certain family members of a decedent can recover for their losses as a result of the death. It is important to note that there are two potential wrongful death claims: the first on behalf of the family members of the deceased for their loss and the second on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Both are subject to limitations and can be difficult depending on the circumstances. These potentially complicated issues are the last thing that should burden a grieving family. It is important to contact an attorney with the knowledge and experience to advise and guide on these topics. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.
Lawyers You Can Trust.
Arizona Wrongful Death Law Overview
The Arizona Wrongful Death Act provides procedures for compensating survivors for their loss of the deceased. The statute itself is designed to designate specific individuals who can actually bring a wrongful death claim. These individuals are: the decedent’s spouse, the decedent’s children, the decedent’s parents or guardians, or a personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Comparing Types of Wrongful Death Legal Claims
Wrongful death claims are centered on compensating survivors who were close to the decedent for the losses they suffered as a result of the death. The people who can be compensated, often called beneficiaries, vary from state to state, but, generally, are outlined in the state’s wrongful death statute. The losses themselves may include loss of financial support or include loss of companionship or sexual consortium.
Survival actions focus on the damages, medical expenses, disability, and medical expenses, suffered by a decedent before death. A representative of the estate of the decedent essentially takes the place of the wrongful death victim and makes a claim on their behalf. Note that depending on the state and the appropriate law pain and suffering may not be compensated under this type of claim. The other potential issue is that the estate itself may be liable for medical debt, costs, or expenses and any recovery may have to be distributed to third parties to pay for outstanding debts. These restrictions do not apply to wrongful death claims.
Wrongful Death Damages
Pursuant to Arizona statute, juries have broad discretion to award whatever damages are deemed to be fair and just. Additionally, the jury can look at the facts and circumstances that led to the death and potentially add punitive damages to a wrongful death award. Finally, a claimant in a wrongful death action does not have their debt or recovery reduced by any outstanding debts of the decedent unless the claimant is bringing the action solely on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Multiple Claimants in an Action
When a decedent dies there are often multiple people who are entitled to make a claim for the decedent’s death. When this occurs the damages recovered are split in proportion to the damages. What this means in practicality is that those who are entitled to bring a wrongful death action under the Arizona Wrongful Death Statutes will split the recovery based on their loss. Often times this loss is calculated by examining the substance and extent of the potential claimant with the decedent. Generally, the stronger the relationship, the larger the damages.