Losing a loved one to an accident imposes emotional and financial costs on a family. Without their loved one, they face a long grieving period and a large void that they cannot fill. This impacts them in practically every aspect of their lives. 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 the death legally responsible.

Start that process now by calling Zanes Law Injury Lawyers. We’ve helped many people like you, so our experienced Tucson wrongful death lawyers know how hard this time is. Call us today, and let us see what we can do by easing some of the burdens of your loss.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Tucson and Arizona

Tucson Wrongful Death Lawyer

Arizona has a wrongful death statute that allows families to 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.

People can suffer fatal injuries in:

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.

Who Can File a Tucson Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Tucson Metro Chamber awards_logo2

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 law 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 deceased’s personal representative can file the 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.

Statute of Limitations

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 lawyer in the area could help families understand these deadlines and identify who is permitted to file a lawsuit.

Types of Recoverable Damages

ASLA awards_logo3A 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, funeral expenses, lost wages, suffering, and loss of affection

Punitive damages are awarded if the defendant acted egregiously. There is no cap on the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive. An attorney could review a family’s wrongful death case to determine what damages may be available.

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 deceased has a personal representative to file a lawsuit

You must provide sufficient evidence to prove each element sufficiently to have a successful case.

The Damages that a Family Could Recover in a Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death lawsuits aim to pay the family back for what they lost, as opposed to compensating them for the deceased’s suffering. Beyond just the grief (which is more than enough in itself), a family will suffer losses when they no longer have their loved one. Some of these can be directly quantified. Others end up receiving a monetary value.

These damages could include:

  • The amount of physical money that their deceased loved one would have earned throughout their lifetime, meaning that the family receives payment for the loss of financial support
  • The emotional support that the loved one would have provided to family members
  • Compensation for the role in the family that the deceased played
  • The family’s pain and suffering and trauma that they experienced when their loved one died

In addition, a family has another way to recover for the damages the deceased person suffered. Just because they are no longer alive does not mean that a responsible defendant gets off the hook when they harm your loved one.

Families Could Also Consider a Survival Lawsuit

The estate of the deceased has the legal right to file this lawsuit. They can hold the defendant legally accountable for what the deceased experienced before their death. While some accidents happen in the matter of an instant, others leave the deceased 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 deceased would have earned between their injury and death
  • The pain and suffering that the deceased 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.

One of the first things for your lawyer to do is identify the responsible party and whether you have the legal ability to file a lawsuit. If the fatal injury happened at work, you might not be able to sue. You could receive compensation, but it would usually be through the workers’ compensation system.

How We Might Value Tuscon Your Wrongful Death Claim

One of the first questions that families ask us is how much their wrongful death case is worth. They have suffered a huge loss, and they want to receive payment for what they have lost. It is completely understandable.

The best answer that we can give you is that it depends entirely on many factors. Two different people who die under the same circumstances could lead to the families each receiving different amounts.

Some factors that could come into play include:

  • The age of the deceased – 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.

You can understand how there would be some variance in settlement amounts. Another major factor is the amount of insurance coverage that the defendant has. If they have a large policy, you can recover more than if you need to go after the defendant for any damages in excess of the insured’s policy coverage.

Suing a Corporate Defendant for Tucson Wrongful Death

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.

This is why certain cases could bring larger settlements and jury awards:

  • Truck accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability cases
  • Premises liability lawsuits

The first order of business is not only to get legal help, but also to find the right lawyer for your case. There are many differentiating factors between wrongful death lawyers. The biggest one is the attorney’s experience. You do not want an attorney who focuses on DUI cases to handle this momentous legal action. You also do not want one who has not handled larger cases and has a track record of quickly settling smaller cases and moving on to the next one.

Your family would need an attorney with a track record of helping families fight for every penny that they legally deserve. At Zanes Law, we have that track record, and we relish the fight. It is what we do and why we became lawyers.

How the Tuscon Wrongful Death Legal Process Will Unfold

What happens after this depends on your case. The first thing that your wrongful death lawyer will do is talk to you about the case. They will likely ask you a bunch of questions on 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 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.

Filing an Insurance Claim or File a Lawsuit in Court?

You have two different ways to get financial compensation in your wrongful death claim. 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. They can still negotiate a settlement during the process, and there is no guarantee that their case will go all the way to trial. In fact, a court hearing is very rare.

Why You Need to Begin the Legal Process Now

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 by calling Zanes Law Injury Lawyers. If you wait to file a claim or hire us, you could have to go much longer without getting the money you need.

Seek Help from a Tucson Wrongful Death Attorney

Doug Zanes

Doug Zanes, Tucson Wrongful Death Lawyer

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. A Tucson wrongful death lawyer could help you seek justice for your family.

Take action today and make the call to our Tuscon wrongful death lawyers. We understand that this is a filedifficult time for you, but the legal process often favors those who act quickly. You can reach us at any time at (520) 777-7777 or you can contact us online.

Tucson Office
4580 E Grant Rd #101
Tucson, AZ 85712
(520) 777-7777

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