It is possible for an individual in Phoenix to die in an accident caused by another person. This could be a car accident, workplace accident and more. Should the accident be the result of a person or company negligence, the family of the deceased may have a legal right to sue for damages caused by a wrongful death. Knowing the worth of such a case will be determined by many different factors. It will take an experienced attorney to know what damages apply and their value in such a situation.
In the state of Arizona, a person must have standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This means they must meet the state’s legal requirement to be a plaintiff in such a case. When it comes to a wrongful death case, a person must have been the deceased’s wife or husband, either parent, child as well as guardian. Should a deceased person not have any of these relations, their estate can then be the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. Arizona does not recognize common law marriage as a legal marriage. In order for two people to be considered legally be married in Arizona, they must have a valid marriage license issued by the appropriate court.
Filing A Lawsuit
When it is decided a lawsuit must be filed, an attorney will know how to gather all of the necessary information. The first action they will take is to send a demand letter to a defendant or the insurance company representing them. This communication will provide all of the essential information concerning the case. It will be detailed and written in a logical manner. The compensation demanded, and the reasons for it will also be stated. The defendant will have a certain amount of time to respond. Negotiations usually take place once the demand letter is received. This is done to avoid a lawsuit if possible When negotiations fail; a lawsuit may be the only option left to get fair compensation.
The time it takes to settle a wrongful death lawsuit will be determined by the many different factors in each individual case. Some are more easy to prove than others. It is common in Arizona for such a case to take over a year to resolve. Some will take several years. Evidence will have to be gathered, medical records collected, bills will have to be tabulated. Witnesses will have to be interviewed. Experts may need to be contacted and more. The better prepared a case is during a lawsuit, the better the chance for success.
The amount of a fair settlement will be different for each wrongful death case. The circumstances of the death will be taken into consideration. The more blatant the negligence of the defendant, the more the plaintiff will be given in the lawsuit. Settlement amounts will be in relation to the loss and damages the plaintiff experienced as a result of the loss of their loved one. When an estate files a lawsuit, any and all funds awarded will go directly into the deceased individual’s estate.
There is not one set formula used to determine damages in all Arizona wrongful death cases. It’s important plaintiffs know Arizona is very open when it comes to providing compensation for a wrongful death. Unlike other states, there are no limits on the amount a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit can claim. It is against the state’s constitution for any legislative body in Arizona to pass such a law enacting such restrictions. Determining damages will usually begin with the accident. This will involve any burial costs or unpaid medical bills and more. It can also involve loss of the deceased person’s income over their lifetime. This includes estimating promotions, raises and more. These are compensatory damages. A plaintiff could also be eligible to receive punitive damages in some cases.
In Arizona, plaintiffs can also sue for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit that are not monetary in nature. This includes loss of companionship, affection, guidance and more. Emotional needs that would have been provided by the deceased should they have lived. Plaintiffs may also be able to be compensated for any mental anguish, grief, emotional pain that could occur in the future.
According to the laws of Arizona, any partial liability of the deceased for the cause of the accident will be taken into consideration when determining damages. This is covered in A.R.S. § 12-2506(B). It states a defendant is only liable for paying damages to the plaintiff based on the percentage of the defendant’s fault for the incident that is determined to have caused the death. Should a plaintiff be awarded $100,000, but it is decided the deceased was 10 percent at fault, the final award will be $90,000.
The money a plaintiff receives in a wrongful death lawsuit will not change what happens with the loss of a loved one. The victims of such an incident do have rights. An experienced attorney will be able to communicate a plaintiff’s loss in the court system. They will know what is fair compensation. Understanding the burial expenses, medical bills and more will be paid could reduce unnecessary stress felt by loved ones during a difficult time.