The death of a loved one is a devastating tragedy, and when one person dies due to the legal fault of another, it is called a wrongful death. If the deceased lost their lives in a situation that could have been prevented, their surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Here’s what you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits if you lose a loved one:
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action to recover damages for the losses a survivor endured as a result of the death of a loved one. The defendant will be ordered by the court to pay the deceased person’s surviving family member money as compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the defendant is required to pay damages rather than face prison time in this kind of action, it differs from a criminal proceeding.
The majority of wrongful death claims result in compensation, however, in cases where there are no attorneys, the award may be considerably less.
A wrongful death lawsuit could be filed if the person died because of any of the following:
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Drowning or boat accidents
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice or surgical errors
- Product liability
Damages in a wrongful death case
Damages in the context of law refer to monetary compensation for harm caused by the wrongdoing or negligence of another person.
Claims for wrongful death can only be made in terms of money, which is why they fall under civil law rather than criminal law. In most cases, the damages awarded are non-taxable.
This may include:
- Compensation for the loss of financial support
- Medical expenses till the time of death
- Funeral and cremation or burial expenses
- Cost of repairing or replacing property damaged in the incident
- Pain and suffering as a result of death
- Loss of love, companionship, guidance, and services provided by the deceased
If you have the support of financial experts, it is easier to assess financial and economic damages, including medical and funeral costs.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona?
In the state of Arizona, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit
- Nominated executors – a person nominated to manage the estate of the deceased in a valid will.
- Immediate family members – spouses, children, parents of unmarried children
- Life partner or financial dependents
- Parents of a deceased child
- Personal representative of the deceased on behalf of their close family members.
Steps to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
To be successful in a wrongful death claim, ensure that you follow these steps;
Contact a lawyer
The first thing you should do before pursuing legal action is to contact a lawyer. Experienced lawyers will guide you through every step of the process, help you gather evidence, figure out who is at fault, and help you file a claim for damages.
Communication with the defendant
At this point, the parties start talking about a settlement so they don’t have to go to court and pay more money for the lawsuit. Your claims might be settled before a trial if the investigation’s facts are clear and the evidence is on your side.
A pre-suit settlement will enable you to receive compensation without having to go to trial, thanks to the expertise of your attorneys.
Filing the wrongful death lawsuit
This is the formal litigation phase. In the event that a lawsuit is necessary to resolve the disputes, your attorney prepares a summons and complaint to be served on the defendant. The gathered evidence will be submitted in court, and the parties and witnesses will be questioned under oath by the court during depositions.
Pre-trial motions will be made before the case goes to trial, and the judge will meet with the attorneys to go through the necessary preparations and determine whether a settlement can be reached before the trial.
Trial for the wrongful death lawsuit
The wrongful death lawsuit is now at its conclusion.
For negotiation and courtroom trial abilities to win the case and obtain compensation, it is crucial to be represented by attorneys with trial experience.
How quickly do you need to file a wrongful death suit?
Any civil claim for injury or wrongful death is subject to a statute of limitations, which in Arizona is often up to two years. In order for the attorneys to build a case after reviewing all the facts, get in touch with them within two years of the death.
If you believe that someone’s death was caused by negligence, you should seek legal advice.
Schenk Podolsky Personal Injury Lawyers, Mesa Arizona
It can be challenging to deal with a loved one’s death while pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. The best course of action is to rely on legal resources and help, which will reduce your tension in the circumstance.
Experienced lawyers of Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law can assess your possible case and lay out your options. Our injury attorneys have the knowledge and skill to provide the strongest case possible against the defendant.