If someone close to you has suffered fatal injuries in an accident, you might be wondering if you can contact a wrongful death attorney on behalf of someone else. The short answer is “yes.” However, whether you’re eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on your relationship with the decedent.
At Zanes Law, we understand how painful it can be to lose a loved one. That’s why we’re eager to provide the information you need to know about your wrongful death case. The more you know about the legal process, the simpler it will be. Let’s learn more about hiring a wrongful death lawyer on someone else’s behalf.
Parties Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action on Behalf of the Deceased
In Arizona, only certain individuals can hire a wrongful death attorney and take legal action for a fatal incident. According to ARS § 12-612, individuals with the following relationships to the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf:
- Legal guardian
- Personal representative
If the decedent didn’t leave behind any surviving relatives who are eligible to file a lawsuit, an attorney may take legal action on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Parties Who Can Act as a Personal Representative
As mentioned above, personal representatives are legally authorized to pursue wrongful death damages on behalf of a deceased individual. According to ARS § 14-3203, the following parties may petition to become a personal representative:
- Nominated executor: When it comes to acting as a personal representative, nominated executors have priority. That’s because these individuals are nominated in the decedent’s will.
- Spouse: If the decedent’s surviving spouse is a devisee, or someone who received property from the decedent’s will, they’ll be second-in-line to take up the position of a personal representative. If the spouse didn’t receive property from the decedent’s will, they’ll be fourth-in-line to take on the role.
- Other Devisees: Any other devisees named in the decedent’s will are third-in-line to act as a representative.
- Other Heirs: Heirs are family members or individuals related to the decedent who would automatically inherit property and money. Such individuals are next-in-line to represent the decedent.
- Department of Veterans’ services: If the decedent was a veteran, the Department of Veterans Services may represent them in a lawsuit.
- Creditors: If no one files a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent or petitions to become a personal representative, creditors can apply to represent them.
- Public fiduciaries: If there are no executors, spouses, devisees, heirs, or other organizations to represent the decedent, the state government may represent them.
If you are one of the parties mentioned above, you may contact a wrongful death attorney on behalf of the decedent. The lawyer can help you file a petition with a county court to be appointed as the decedent’s personal representative.
For a free legal consultation, call 866-499-8989
Contacting a Wrongful Death Attorney Is Risk-Free
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to file a wrongful death action on behalf of a loved one, you’ve got nothing to lose from asking a lawyer. Most wrongful death and personal injury firms offer free consultation and case evaluations.
That means you can get expert legal advice without paying a dime. Simply find a law firm that offers free appointments, and schedule a consultation to learn more about your legal rights following a wrongful death.
Contingency-Fee Arrangements Make Wrongful Death Lawsuits Affordable
Losing a family member can come with several costs that can catch even the most careful budgeters off guard. Fortunately, most wrongful death attorneys will file a lawsuit on your behalf for a contingency fee. A contingency fee is an agreed-upon portion of the money you receive from your verdict that a lawyer takes as their payment.
A contingency fee arrangement can help you avoid paying out of pocket for an attorney’s services. The best part is that you won’t be charged a fee if your lawyer doesn’t win your case.
How Long You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
It’s important to understand that you have limited time to file a lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf. According to ARS § 12-542, you have two years from the date of your family member’s death to file a wrongful death suit.
If you fail to contact a lawyer soon enough and miss the two-year filing deadline, you probably won’t be able to collect compensation. Contact a lawyer ASAP to make sure your suit is submitted correctly and on time.
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Compensation You Could Receive With the Help of a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’re entitled to contact a wrongful death attorney and file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one, you could receive a number of different damages. Damages available to wrongful death plaintiffs include the followings:
- Medical bills you’ve inherited from the decedent
- Burial, cemetery, and funeral costs
- Loss of financial support and services provided by the decedent
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance
- Diminished quality of life
It can be heartbreaking when you lose a spouse or a family member. Fortunately, these damages can help you navigate the grieving process with comfort and financial support. Reach out to a compassionate wrongful death attorney today to get the resources you need to make it through this tragic time.
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Contact an Attorney Today
If you can contact a wrongful death attorney on behalf of someone else, we suggest you do so soon. Failure to abide by Arizona’s statute of limitations could prevent you from getting the financial support you deserve.
To avoid missing your chance to file, contact the team at Zanes Law today. We’ll schedule a free consultation to determine if we can help with your case. If we can, a wrongful death lawyer from our firm will get started on your case ASAP.