Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

by | Mar 19, 2024

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Losing a loved one is an emotionally devastating experience, and when that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, the pain can be compounded. In Arizona, families who have suffered such a loss may seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Understanding how these lawsuits work can provide clarity during an already challenging time.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

In Arizona, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another party. This can include a wide range of circumstances, from car accidents caused by reckless driving to medical malpractice resulting in death. Essentially, if someone’s actions or negligence directly cause or contribute to causing the death of another person, it may be considered wrongful death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased are statutorily able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If these parties are unavailable, a personal representative can be appointed to pursue the claim.  

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Damages in a wrongful death case are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. These damages can include:

1. Medical and Funeral Expenses: 

The costs associated with medical treatment and burial or cremation services can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit.

2. Lost Income and Benefits:

 If the deceased was a primary breadwinner, the family may be entitled to compensation for the income and benefits they would have received had the person lived.

3. Loss of Companionship: 

Family members may receive damages for the emotional pain and suffering resulting from losing their loved one’s companionship and support.

4. Pain and Suffering: 

In some specific cases where the deceased experienced conscious pain and suffering before passing away, the family may seek damages for this physical and emotional distress.

Proving Liability

Like any civil lawsuit, proving liability is crucial in a wrongful death case. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly caused or contributed to causing the death of their loved one. This often requires a thorough investigation, gathering evidence such as witness testimony, expert opinions, medical records, and accident reports.

Settlement vs. Trial

Many wrongful death cases in Arizona are resolved through settlement negotiations rather than going to trial. In a settlement, both parties agree to settle the case outside of court in exchange for a predetermined amount of compensation. This can be a faster and less adversarial process than going to trial, but ensuring that any settlement offer fully compensates the family for their losses is essential.

Gill Law is On Your Side

Wrongful death lawsuits provide a means for families to seek justice and compensation in the wake of a tragic loss. By understanding the legal process and working with experienced attorneys, families can navigate this rugged terrain with clarity and confidence, ensuring that their loved one’s memory is honored and their rights are upheld. We understand that premature, unexpected death is tough on families. When death is caused by preventable actions such as negligence, survivors or the estate can choose to bring a lawsuit. To learn more about your options after the wrongful death of a loved one, contact Gill Law for your free consultation today.