Wrongful Death Claim in Phoenix: What You Need to Know

phoenix accident & injury law firm wrongful death claim in PhoenixIt’s essential to know about wrongful death claim in Phoenix. Navigating the loss of a loved one after a fatal auto accident is the most devastating and emotionally challenging time. When faced with an impending lawsuit, it can feel almost impossible. Every fatal accident has a personal story too, whether the loss was a mother, father, son, daughter, or sibling, it’s the family left behind that are left to navigate through their grief.

At times like this, it’s so important to have a professional and reliable auto injury accident lawyer to truly represent you and your family in wrongful death claim in Phoenix. Starting any kind of legal proceedings can feel incredibly overwhelming when you’re still grieving and having to re-live or speak about an accident that’s resulted in such loss can be traumatic which is why our team approaches things at your own pace. 

It’s no surprise that you and your loved ones will have a lot of questions about what to do now, or how to move forward, so we’ve shared some of the most common questions our attorneys get asked as well as some previous cases we’ve successfully won for clients filing wrongful death claim cases.

The top injury attorneys at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you have more than 15 years of experience in helping clients who have lost family in a fatal auto accident and process wrongful death claim.  Our offices are conveniently located in nearby Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or video call.  You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.

Arizona Fatal Auto Accident Laws

In the unfortunate event of losing a child, spouse, or parent in a fatal auto accident, the legal framework that applies is governed by the wrongful death laws. A wrongful death claim in Phoenix is filed against the responsible driver on behalf of the deceased individual, who would have had the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived the accident.

The state of Arizona permits bereaved family members to make a claim on behalf of a loved one, called a ‘wrongful death’ case. The “wrongful death” law entitles the loved ones of those taken from us, due to neglect or lack of care or deliberate actions of another, to some financial compensation for their loss. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim Lawsuit?

The law permits certain family members of the deceased to file the case:

  • Parents (biological or adopted)
  • Children (biological or adopted)
  • Spouses
  • A personal representative (of the estate or a child under 18)

In the context of a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, if a child under 18 loses a parent, their legal guardian has the authority to file the lawsuit on behalf of the child. However, legally adopted children are not eligible to bring a wrongful death suit for their biological parents. It is important to note that siblings, cousins, grandparents, common-law spouses, and other family members are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim.

We’ve previously written a guide to settlements after a fatal crash that covers information about filing a claim and representing your loved ones.

How to Start a Wrongful Death Claim

To initiate the process of a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, the first step is to contact a highly-rated attorney specializing in fatal auto accidents and schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Once your attorney agrees to represent you, your claim will be filed and presented in a civil court. Simultaneously, the criminal court will handle the legal proceedings against the individual responsible for the fatal auto accident. The civil suit is a private action initiated by you as an individual, alleging harm to you and/or your property, and can involve another person or entity such as a government or corporation.

In contrast, a criminal action is initiated by the state against the same person or entity involved in the wrongful death claim in Phoenix. Regardless of whether you pursue a civil lawsuit, the individual responsible for the loss of your loved one will face criminal prosecution for their actions.

Types of Damages Claimed for in a Wrongful Death Claim case

The damages in a wrongful death claim are based on the individual injuries you and your loved ones suffered due to the death. The two main types of damages are;

Medical and Funeral Expenses

In a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, a surviving family member can seek reimbursement for the medical and funeral expenses of the deceased if they have already made payments or were legally responsible for those expenses.

Past and Future Economic Support

In a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, economic support and services encompass all the contributions made by your deceased loved one to you, their parents, and their children. This includes both past and future damages starting from the time of the accident. When determining compensation, the court will assess the loss of economic support that you would have received, rather than focusing on the actual future earnings.

You and your family may also be entitled to recover for any inheritance property that your deceased loved one probably would have inherited had they not died.

Previous Fatal Auto Accident Case Results For Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm

Our team near you has gained valuable experience working on fatal auto accident cases that have been successfully resolved on behalf of our clients;

  • $800,000 following the death of a 76-year-old grandfather, father, and husband in an auto accident in Mesa, AZ. The negligent driver took medication before driving and was charged with homicide.
  • $215,000 following the death of a wife and mother who was killed in a car accident in Chandler by a driver on prescription medication.

When Should I File a Wrongful Death Claim Suit?

In the case of a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, it is crucial to file a lawsuit within two years from the date of death. However, certain circumstances require the lawsuit to be filed within 180 days from the date of death. To build a strong case, your attorney will need to demonstrate the defendants’ liability for the death and establish that the surviving individuals have suffered harm as a direct result of the death.

What happens if there isn’t anyone to represent the ‘estate’?

In the absence of a surviving parent, child, or spouse, the representation of the estate in a wrongful death claim in Phoenix can be assigned to another person designated by the deceased in a will, trust documents, or determined by the probate court if no will exists.

What happens if the driver who died was uninsured or underinsured?

Regrettably, in the case of uninsured or underinsured motorists, financial recovery is not possible unless you are personally entitled to benefits under the same policy. In the event of a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, the estate can file a claim against the insurance agency to seek the benefits that would have been provided to your deceased loved one.

Will I pay tax on a wrongful death claim settlement?

Awards received from a wrongful death claim in Phoenix are not subject to taxation. However, it is important to note that punitive damages, which aim to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate you and your loved ones, are an exception and are taxable.

While dealing with the emotional loss of a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, it is crucial to consider the financial implications. To alleviate this burden, it is advisable to seek guidance from a skilled attorney who can assist you in navigating the legal aspects of settling this tragic event. Taking proactive steps to preserve your case is essential to prevent any additional financial hardships.

How Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm Can Help You In a Wrongful Death Claim in Phoenix Case

At Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you, we have more than 15 years of experience helping clients who have lost loved ones in a fatal auto accident and process wrongful death claim. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office, conveniently located in your area.

If you need medical treatment after a car accident, contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you in nearby Chandler, AZ, to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area, including ChandlerGilbertMesaScottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.