Losing a loved one to an accident can impose emotional and financial costs on you and your family. Without your loved one, you may face a long grieving period and a large void you cannot fill. This can impact you in practically every aspect of your life.
There is nothing that you can do to bring your loved one back. However, you can recover compensation for what you have lost and hold the person who caused their death legally responsible.
The legal team atZanes Law Injury Lawyers has helped many people with similar cases, so our experienced Tucson wrongful death attorneys know how hard this time is. We offer a free consultation where we can show you what we can do to ease some of the burdens of your loss.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a party or multiple parties’ misconduct or negligence results in someone’s death. The parties usually have an obligation to follow specific rules to ensure that they do not cause any harm, often known as aduty of care.
When a breach of this duty of care results in someone’s death, the deceased person’s survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim. According toA.R.S. § 12-612, families can file a lawsuit against the party that they believe to be responsible for the death.
This is a personal injury lawsuit with some special categories of damages that recognize what the family lost. Arizona law factors in that families lose the most when their loved one dies at someone else’s hands. A wrongful death attorney in Tucson can evaluate your case to determine whether you may have a valid claim.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Tucson, call 866-499-8989
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Tucson and Arizona
Wrongful death cases can stretch across many industries and situations.
Some common causes of fatal injuries due to negligence are:
- Car accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Construction site accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Slips and falls
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Burn injuries
- Defective products
While a diverse range of accidents can cause fatal injuries, there is a common theme between them.Personal injury law principles apply, and you could recover compensation when you prove that someone else was to blame.
Tucson Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me 866-499-8989
Who Can File a Tucson Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Families will also need to identify who will be filing the wrongful death lawsuits. Courts have crowded and busy dockets, and they can only legally allow one wrongful death claim among the family. An order of precedence in Arizona Arizona Rev. Stat. § 12-612 dictates who can file a wrongful death claim.
It is as follows:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse has the first right to file a wrongful death claim.
- If there is no spouse, the right then shifts to the surviving children (they would file the case together).
- If there are no children, the surviving parent or guardian has the legal right to file the lawsuit.
- If none of the three above categories exist, the decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The hope is that all eligible family members can agree on the legal direction of the case and how to distribute the proceeds of any settlement or jury award.
Types of Recoverable Damages in a Tucson Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death claim brought forth by family members may include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages encompass the plaintiff’s economic and non-economic losses. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, loss of benefits, loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of inheritance
Punitive damages are awarded if the liable party acted egregiously. There is no cap on the number of damages you may receive. A wrongful death attorney from our Tucson legal team can review your family’s claim to determine what damages may be available in a civil lawsuit.
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You Must Prove Both Negligence and Your Damages
There are two parts to a wrongful death lawsuit. The first is proving that someone else was responsible. This is the same as any other negligence lawsuit, and the same principles apply. The same four-factor test that applies to every other personal injury claim would also apply to your wrongful death claim.
Specifically, you must show that:
- Another person owed your loved one the duty of care
- That person breached the duty of care by acting unreasonably under the circumstances
- Your loved one suffered an injury
- Your loved one’s injury happened due to the other person’s actions
In a wrongful death case, the elements of the case are as follows:
- A person died
- The death resulted from the negligence of another person
- The deceased person’s surviving family suffered a monetary loss
- The decedent has a personal representative to file a lawsuit
You must provide sufficient evidence to prove each element sufficiently to have a successful case. Our Tucson wrongful death attorneys at Zanes Law will investigate the responsible parties, work to establish negligence, determine liability, and fight for your fair settlement.
Families Could Also Consider a Survival Lawsuit
The estate of the decedent has the legal right to file this lawsuit. They can hold the defendant legally accountable for what the decedent experienced before their death. While some accidents happen in a matter of an instant, others leave the decedent with injuries that will eventually cost them their lives.
The defendant could cling to life for months or years. What happens between the injury and death could be compensable. These damages could include:
- Lost wages that the decedent would have earned between their injury and death
- The pain and suffering that the decedent experienced before they died
- Medical expenses paid for their care while they were alive
- Funeral and burial costs
- Possible punitive damages based on how bad the defendant’s conduct was (this is not available on the wrongful death side of the claim)
If the estate succeeds in this lawsuit, it will receive the proceeds of the settlement. The money goes to beneficiaries according to the estate’s instructions for the distribution of assets.
A wrongful death lawyer in Tucson can help you pursue a wrongful death claim or survival action.
How We Might Value Your Tucson Wrongful Death Claim
One of the first questions that families ask us is how much their wrongful death case is worth.
Some factors that could come into play include:
- The age of the decedent: Cases of younger people with jobs and smaller children would be worth more than the wrongful death of the retired person or someone nearing retirement.
- Whether they were a parent: The family would presumably suffer even more if they lost a parent who actively provided guidance and support in person every day.
- Their specific job and earnings: Higher-paid earners would obviously lose more in prospective earnings.
- How the death hurt the family that they left behind: This requires consideration of the unique family situation in the wake of their loved one’s death.
Another major factor is the amount of insurance coverage that the defendant has. A wrongful death lawyer in Tucson can identify all potential sources of liability to ensure that you are able to seek maximum compensation for your loss.
Suing a Corporate Defendant for a Wrongful Death in Tucson
In addition, compensation could increase if you can file a claim against a company. Families are usually able to recover more when there is a corporate defendant. This is not because the claim is necessarily worth more.
A corporate defendant would have much greater insurance coverage because they do not want a lawsuit to take their business away. If the person who caused the death worked for a company at the time of the injury, the employer might also share vicarious liability in a wrongful death claim which is referred to asrespondeat superior.
This is why these cases could bring larger settlements and jury awards:
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability cases
- Premises liability lawsuits
Challenges of Suing a Corporate Defendant
If you are suing a corporate defendant, you should be ready for every excuse in the book as to why they can’t give you the compensation you deserve. When our Tucson personal injury attorneys go after a corporation, we hear the same reasons over and over again.
A company is usually worried about losing profit as a result of making its products safer. This same company that makes millions of dollars every quarter won’t add a standard safety feature that only costs the manufacturer $100 to make.
These tactics are common among big corporations, but our personal injury team is ready to take them on. If a corporation’s negligent actions caused the death of a loved one, our wrongful death lawyers can help you get justice and compensation for your loss. We can answer any questions you have about your case.
How the Tucson Wrongful Death Legal Process Will Unfold
The first thing that your wrongful death attorney will do is talk to you about the case. They will likely ask you a bunch of questions during the initial consultation to learn more about the facts. After all, since you only pay them if you win, they want to make sure that you have a plausible case before they invest the time fighting for you.
After that, your personal injury lawyer will begin to investigate and learn more about what happened to cause your loved one’s death. At this phase, they will begin collecting and gathering the evidence that you would need to prove the negligence that is a prerequisite for legal responsibility.
They may speak with witnesses and consult with experts to help assemble your case. At some point, they will be ready to file your complaint or claim. This could happen quickly, depending on the strength of the evidence in the case.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or File a Lawsuit in Court?
You have two different ways to get financial compensation in your wrongful death claim, and our wrongful death lawyers in Tucson can help with both.
Since there is an insurance company involved, you could try to explore a claim and settlement agreement with the insurance company. There is a claims process that you would follow, submitting evidence of someone else’s legal responsibility and your damages.
They may then offer a settlement, and you would negotiate the amount. This is not an easy process because insurance companies often make an initial low settlement offer and only raise it after your lawyer rejects it on your behalf and intensively negotiates.
The other option is filing a wrongful death lawsuit. If you try to work with the insurance company, it does not keep you from filing a wrongful death claim at another time. You can do it at any time before the statute of limitations expires if the insurance company denies the claim or if they are being unreasonable in settlement negotiations.
Sometimes, this is the best way to show the insurance company that you mean business and that they should not try to take liberties with your legal rights. Many families will file a wrongful death lawsuit right after the accident. A settlement can still be negotiated during the process without ever needing to go all the way to trial. In fact, a court hearing is very rare.
Why You Need to Begin the Legal Process Now
Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the family member’s passing, though there are some rare exceptions. For example, a person who does not learn of the death immediately may be given more time to file a claim.
A wrongful death attorney in the Tucson area can help families understand these deadlines and identify who is permitted to file a lawsuit.
Nonetheless, the legal process associated with a wrongful death claim could drag on, especially if the defendant digs in their heels and fights. This is why you need to begin the process early. If you wait to file a claim or hire a lawyer, you could have to go much longer without getting the money you need.
Seek Help from a Tucson Wrongful Death Law Firm
If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be experiencing a lot of emotional pain. Though no amount of money can bring back your loved one, filing a wrongful death claim could provide you with an opportunity to recover damages for your losses. An attorney could help you seek justice for your family.
Take action today and make the call to our Tucson wrongful death lawyers at Zanes Law. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, but the legal process often favors those who act quickly. To get a free consultation, call us orcontact us.