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.
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.
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.
Members of Goodnow|McKay are vigilant in research and advocacy on behalf of injury victims. Please see the linked article below related to wrongful death claims:
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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.