Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits – what you need to know.  Today’s guest blog is by the Wells, Purcell & Kraatz Law Firm in Fort Worth, Texas.

Wrongful death is defined as death caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default.

A wrong death lawsuit can be brought to court if a person’s death was a result of the wrongful or negligent conduct of someone else and if the deceased person would have also been justified in filing a personal injury case based on the same misconduct, had he or she been alive.

In other words, a wrongful death case can also be thought of as a personal injury case in which the injured person is no longer available to bring the case on his or her own behalf.

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Who may file a wrongful death claim in Arizona?

Arizona law limits the persons who may file a wrongful death lawsuit to:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased person.
  • A surviving child or children of the deceased person.
  • The surviving parent or parents or guardian of the deceased person.
  • A personal representative of the above-listed people.
  • The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

Time limits for filing a wrongful death case

In Arizona, a wrongful death case must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. If the case is not filed within this time limit, the court will likely refuse to hear it all together.

What can a wrongful death lawsuit do?

A wrongful death lawsuit is different from a homicide case in the sense that the penalties in a wrongful death lawsuit are purely financial; there is no jail time, probation or mandatory courses. Instead, the court determines the kind of financial expenses and losses the plaintiff experienced as a result of the wrongful or negligent actions of the accused. If the accused is found guilty, then he or she has to pay the determined amount of financial losses to the plaintiffs or to the deceased person’s estate.

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Damages in wrongful death cases

Damages in a wrongful death case are typically divided into two categories:

The first category includes any losses inflicted by the death on the deceased person’s estate. These damages are typically paid to the estate. This category typically includes damages like:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • medical bills, including bills for emergency care related to the deceased person’s final treatment
  • the value of lost wages and benefits the deceased person would have earned if he or she had lived
  • repair or replacement of any property damaged in the event
  • pain and suffering endured by the deceased person before death

The second category of damages includes damages suffered by family members as a result of the untimely death. This category of damages is typically paid to the family members directly, and it includes losses like:

  • lost value of household services the deceased person performed
  • the loss of care, companionship, and guidance
  • pain and suffering due to the untimely death

The specific damages that are available in an Arizona wrongful death claim also depend in part on who is pursuing the claim in court. For instance, the spouse or child of a deceased person may seek damages for loss of care and companionship, but the estate of the deceased person may not seek damages for that particular type of loss.

When damages are awarded to a family, the family members must decide how to divide the total damages award among themselves. If they cannot agree, the court may also order the damages to be apportioned in a particular way, and that decision is binding on all parties.

Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Author Bio:

Wrongful death is a type of personal injury that is caused by the fault of another. Texas Wrongful Death Act provides the exclusive remedy for wrongful death.