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At our firm, we are experienced, compassionate wrongful death attorneys who understand the trauma you are enduring. We are here to take the legal process off your hands so that you can focus on what matters most: honoring your loved one’s memory.
The untimely loss of a loved one is always devastating, particularly when someone else’s negligence is to blame. Wrongful death lawsuits exist to help families in these situations by providing a vehicle to recover damages for the resulting expenses, pain and suffering, and other financial difficulties caused by a loss so that families can focus on moving forward and properly grieving.
Establishing Facts in a Wrongful Death Case
“Wrongful death” claims in Arizona are essentially personal injury lawsuits by proxy: when an injured person is unable to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf, someone close to that person can do so.
Proving a wrongful death case is similar to the legal analysis involved in a typical negligence scenario: the claimant needs to prove that someone acted negligently, that this negligence proximately caused the victim’s death, and that someone suffered damages as a result. Evidence can come in the form of eyewitness testimony, video or audio files, physical evidence, a reconstruction of the accident scene, and more.
Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
Damages in a wrongful death case are generally quantified in terms of the monetary loss the decedent’s family members suffered. They are typically divided into two categories. The first involves losses the death caused to the decedent’s estate. These damages are generally paid to the estate. These include items like funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, the value of the decedent’s lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering the decedent endured before his or her death. The second category involves damages suffered by the decedent’s bereaved family members, and includes items like the lost value of the household services the decedent performed, the loss of the decedent’s company and care, and the emotional pain and suffering caused by the untimely, tragic death.
The specific damages award will depend largely on who is bringing the claim. If the spouse or child of the decedent is bringing the claim, then the court may award damages from the second category. Conversely, if the estate is bringing the claim, then damages may relate to the first category.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
State law limits who can bring a wrongful death claim. In Arizona, the following people can file suit for wrongful death:
- The surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- A surviving parent or guardian
- The personal representative of the estate
Generally speaking, this list excludes siblings, cousins, friends, common law spouses, and same sex partners. If the decedent was a minor, either of his or her parents - or the legal guardian - may file a claim.
How We Can Help
At the Checkett Law Firm, we are passionate about helping our clients move forward after a traumatic event, like the loss of a loved one. When you hire us, we will take the legal process off your plate, so you can focus on more important matters, like properly grieving. We will collect evidence, speak to witnesses and adverse parties, negotiate with insurance carriers, and when necessary, represent your interests in an Arizona court of law.
We are proud to help our clients during some of the most difficult times in their lives, and we are ready to help you. Reach out to us for a low-risk consultation and learn how we can be your partners in your legal challenges. We look forward to your call.