Losing a loved one is always traumatic, especially if their death was sudden and due to the negligence of someone else. In Arizona, family members who have lost someone this way may seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. Because this process can be difficult to navigate, it is best to hire an attorney to help you. The following information may be helpful if you are facing a wrongful death lawsuit due to the loss of a loved one.
What Is The Definition Of A Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit may be possible when someone dies due to the negligence of someone else. The law requires us all to take reasonable steps to avoid accidents and injuring someone else. If we fail to do so because we act in a reckless manner, we may be found liable for their injuries and accident related expenses.
Causes Of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While there are many different things that can lead to wrongful death lawsuits, the most common causes are:
- DUI Accidents
- High Speed Car Crashes
- Medical Malpractice
- Birth Injuries
- Pharmacist Errors
- Surgical Mistakes
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Distracted Driving Crashes
- Pedestrian Incidents
What Is The Leading Cause Of Death In Accidents?
In most wrongful death lawsuits, traumatic brain injury is the primary cause of death. This occurs when the victim strikes his head on a heavy object, sustaining blunt force trauma that leads to brain injury.
What Kinds Of Damages Can I Obtain?
It is impossible to know exactly what damages a jury could award you in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the following are some examples of typical damages given to surviving family members:
- Burial Costs
- Funeral Expenses
- Unpaid Medical Bills Due To The Accident
- Loss Of Companionship
- Loss Of Consortium
- Loss Of Income If The Deceased Was The Primary Breadwinner
It is important to calculate the cost of lost wages, medical bills and other accident related expenses before filing your lawsuit. For this reason, it is best to hire an attorney who has experience in this area and has trial experience as well.
Can The Defendant Discharge A Judgement In Bankruptcy?
Arizona law dictates which types of debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. Those who have been ordered to pay a judgement to a victims family because they were liable in their wrongful death cannot discharge the judgement in bankruptcy. A wrongful death judgement is not a debt that can be discharged in this manner. This is designed to ensure the victim’s family is properly compensated when someone kills someone in a reckless manner.
How Long Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you lost a loved one in an accident, you have a certain amount of time in which to file your case in court. Arizona law gives the victims family 2 years to file their case in a court of law. The only exception to this rule is when an accident victim dies due to the negligence of a government agency. In these cases, you have just 180 days to notify the agency of your intent to sue and 1 year to file a lawsuit in court. The statues of limitations are not flexible. You must file your case in court within the designated time frame to have your case heard in court by a judge or jury. Filing after this time frame will most likely result in your case being thrown out of court. Because it is not always easy to keep up with these dates, it is usually best to hire an attorney to file your case. This is the best way to be sure you meet all important deadlines, so you can move forward with your wrongful death case.
Losing a loved one is a wound that never heals. However, you may be able to obtain a settlement for their wrongful death. Contact a lawyer today to learn what options are available to you under Arizona law. While obtaining a financial award will not bring your loved one back, it may provide financial resources to help you pay outstanding medical bills and accident related expenses. It is also a good way to be sure the person or entity responsible for the death of your loved one is held accountable, so no one else is hurt or dies due to their negligence in the future.