Losing a loved one is always difficult. However, when someone else’s negligence or intentional actions lead to their death, it’s especially traumatic. At Pak Law Offices, we help grieving families get the answers and justice they deserve. To learn more about our wrongful death lawyers and Arizona’s laws, keep reading.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when someone intentionally or negligently causes another person’s death. Under Arizona law, the victim’s loved ones can file a civil lawsuit demanding compensation for this catastrophic loss. The wrongdoer may also face criminal charges, but that process is separate. (A criminal prosecutor will never file a civil wrongful death claim on your behalf.)
Wrongful death claims can arise out of many situations, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Dangerous or defective products and medications
- Medical negligence
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Regardless of the cause, the team at Pak Law Offices provides grieving families with the compassion and emotional support they deserve. We also fight to get them answers and accountability.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona?
Arizona’s wrongful death laws clearly outline who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. They include the following surviving family members and loved ones:
- Parent or guardian
- Personal representative of the surviving spouse, child, parent, or guardian
- Personal representative of the victim’s estate
Unless you fall into one of these categories, you cannot file a wrongful death claim in Arizona.
Notably, naming a personal representative is a formal, legal process. If you have questions about opening an estate for your loved one, you should immediately contact a lawyer for assistance. Probate matters, such as opening an estate, take time—and if you wait too long you may miss important wrongful death filing deadlines.
When Should I File My Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
As mentioned above, our state imposes strict filing deadlines in wrongful death claims. Typically, you must file your lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death. That means you should not delay your injury claims or wait until the criminal case ends.
Your wrongful death lawyer will need to carefully investigate your loved one’s death and collect evidence. This process is time-intensive, and if you wait too long, you may have a hard time finding an experienced lawyer—or you may discover that you’ve lost essential evidence.
What Is My Arizona Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
No one can put a monetary value on the loss of your loved one. Human life is priceless. However, you and your family have suffered incredible losses, and a wrongful death lawyer can help you rebuild and ensure your financial security.
In Arizona, there are two different types of damages available in a wrongful death claim. The first category is owed to the victim’s estate, due to losses that occurred while they were still alive. The second category is payable to surviving loved ones for their ongoing losses.
The victim’s estate may receive compensation for:
- Lost wages and income
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The victim’s pain and suffering
The surviving loved ones’ damages include:
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of care and guidance
- The cost of replacement services (such as help with household chores and other tasks)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In some cases, the estate and family may also be eligible for punitive damages. Unlike damages that compensate you for your emotional and financial losses, punitive damages aim to punish the wrongdoer for their conduct. Your wrongful death lawyer will explore them if the at-fault party intentionally or recklessly caused your loved one’s death. However, they are only available in the most serious of cases, such as severe drunk driving or egregious nursing home neglect claims.
Do I Really Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Wrongful death claims are incredibly complex. In addition to investigating your loved one’s passing and filing a lawsuit, you will also have to open an estate with the probate court and complete other legal processes. This is a lot to handle, especially when you’re grieving and trying to adjust to your new reality. Unfortunately, a single misstep can put your wrongful death claim at risk.
You don’t have to struggle alone. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can relieve some of your stress by ensuring that you comply with Arizona’s maze of filing deadlines, evidentiary rules, and civil procedures. And they can help you understand the real value of your wrongful death claims, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and present your claims to a jury (if necessary).
At Pak Law Offices, our team will walk alongside you, helping you rebuild and navigate the complexities of Arizona’s legal system. We’ll be there when you need us, but we’ll also give you space and time to heal.
Consult With a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Pak Law Offices helps families and loved ones after an unexpected death. One of our skilled personal injury lawyers can help you understand your legal options and guide you through this incredibly difficult time. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.