Accidents are a part of life and happen when we are least prepared. While most accidents are unavoidable, there are some that occur because someone else was reckless and someone is hurt or dies as a result. In these cases, the victim or their surviving family members can file a lawsuit seeking a monetary settlement. The following explains how wrongful death lawsuits work in Phoenix and who may bring this type of legal action
What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not every death due to an accident classifies as a wrongful death case. In order to be considered a wrongful death, the victim must die due to the intention or negligent acts of another person or entity. Like personal injury cases, these lawsuits are filed in civil court.
Types Of Accidents
There are hundreds of ways a wrongful death can occur, but the following are some examples of the most common types of accidents that lead to wrongful death lawsuits:
- Automobile Accidents
- Birth Injuries
- Medical Malpractice
- Surgical Errors
- Slip And Falls
- Dog Attacks
- Commercial Vehicle Crashes
- Pharmacist Mistakes Dispensing Medication
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Incidents
- DUI Crashes
Traumatic brain injury is the primary cause of death in the majority of wrongful death cases. Other injuries that can be fatal include:
- Spinal Cord Fractures
- Closed Head Injuries
- Crush Injuries
- Internal Organ Damage
- Severed Limbs
In wrongful death cases, the family must prove their loved one died because someone did not take reasonable steps to avoid the accident. In medical malpractice cases, healthcare professionals must uphold the appropriate standard of care set forth by their state. If they fail to do so, they may be found liable for the victims death. It can be difficult to prove exactly who was at fault in some cases. For this reason it is best to have a personal injury lawyer working for you.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Case?
According to Arizona law, the following people may bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Domestic Partners
- Step Children
Each case is different, so it is a good idea to consult a lawyer to determine if you can file a court case on the behalf of your deceased loved one.
Like personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within the statute of limitations to be heard. In Arizona, surviving family members have 2 years from the date of death to file a case in court. Failing to meet this time frame will most likely cause your case to be thrown out of court.
What Damages May Be Awarded?
Financial awards can vary greatly in wrongful death cases. The jury must look at what type of situation the victim was in at the time of death. If the victim was the primary wage earner, the financial award may be greater. Below are some damages that may be awarded in this type of case:
- Loss Of Companionship
- Lost Future Wages
- Loss Of Consortium
- Unpaid Medical Bills
- Burial Fees
- Funeral Expenses
Calculating damages can be extremely difficult in these kinds of cases, making it important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Hiring the right lawyer to guide you through the legal process that can be so difficult to navigate in these cases is crucial. To help you obtain a settlement, your lawyer may:
- Hire Investigators
- Recreate The Accident
- Obtain Medical And Police Reports
- Talk To Medical Experts
- Locate Eyewitnesses
- Negotiate A Settlement For You
- File Your Lawsuit In Court
- Represent Your Family At Trial
While the majority of wrongful death lawsuits are settled without the need for a trial, that is not always the case. This makes it crucial to have a lawyer who has trial experience.
It is never a good time to say goodbye to someone you love. It is even more heartbreaking when their death was avoidable and caused by someone who was negligent. If you lost someone close to you in this manner, contact a personal injury lawyer today for a consultation.