Surprise Wrongful Death Accidents and Your Rights
When someone you love is killed in a wrongful death incident you don't know what to do. And if this has recently happened to you, you're probably still sorting out the details of their accident, including what happened, where to go from here, and what your family will do without this important person in your lives. But the fact that you have experienced the death of a loved one and that you may have lost a wage earner and important contributor to your family, and that you have rights in this situation, may not yet have dawned on you.
Working through the death of a loved one in an accident can be difficult and painful, and it takes time. According to reports from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) nearly 850 people die in car crashes in the state of Arizona alone each year, and hundreds, if not thousands, more die as the result of being involved in crashes on ATVs, on the water, in the swimming pool, in sports accidents, due to gun shots, as the result of slip and fall accidents, and as a result of many other types of accidents where another person's negligence caused the accident that resulted in the death.
In many cases, individuals who have caused accidents, their insurance companies, and their attorneys are happy to help the families of victims believe that because the death occurred in an accident that no one is at fault. And although the person who caused the death of your loved one may not be charged with a crime due to their negligent actions, they are still accountable under Arizona law for causing the accident, and subsequently the death of your loved one.
Arizona Law and Surprise Wrongful Death Accidents
Wrongful death cases in Arizona, for the most part, are not always straightforward although a wrongful death in the state of Arizona is defined as any death that was caused by the default, neglect, or wrongful act of another person. Accidents may happen at any time and in any place, and sometimes these actions are caused by something that was done or not done by another person, business, or entity. For example, if someone you love died as the result of slipping on water in a grocery store and falling down the escalator, the store may be held accountable for not cleaning up the spilled water. However, this type of case may not be so cut and dry, especially if the water had not been standing long enough for the store management to know about it or to take action.
Although wrongful death cases are not always cut and dry in the state of Arizona, there are ways that you can determine whether your case has merit before doing anything or talking to anyone. A.R.S. 12-611 indicates that the families of victims are able to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party if the victim would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit on their own behalf had they not died. This means that if your loved one is killed in an accident you have the right to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party on their behalf. There are stipulations, however, as to who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party in a court of law in Arizona, however. The only individuals who have this right include the surviving children or spouse of the person who was killed in the accident, the surviving parent(s) or legal guardian of the person who was killed in the accident, a personal representative of the surviving family members or deceased family members, of the personal representative, such as an attorney, for the estate of the person who was killed in the accident. This means that aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and other individuals, like friends and neighbors, are unable to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual, although the person who caused the accident should be held accountable for their actions.
Damages to Request Through a Surprise Wrongful Death Accident Claim
When you and your attorney file your lawsuit for your wrongful death claim there are many different types of damages and expenses that you may request be paid to you and your family in a settlement or judgment from the person whose negligent actions caused the death of your loved. Some of the most commonly requested and provided settlement damages include: recompense for the costs of a funeral and the associated burial expenses, payment of bills including medical bills and other injury-related costs that are related to the accident and to the death of the victim, replacement of the wages and earnings that will never be earned by the victim who died especially if they were the primary household earner or a contributing earner in the household, recompense to cover the costs of repairs to any properties damaged in the accident, and the pain and suffering felt by the person who died prior to their death that was caused by the collision and also that of their family members after the accident and after the death of the victim.
There are additional damages that your attorney may also request become a part of the settlement agreement and be paid to you in the form on financial compensation and these additional damages include recompense for your loss—which may be listed as the loss of a caregiver, guidance for your children or family, and for the loss of companionship; and, the loss of the value the victim brought to your home in the form of household services such as cooking, cleaning, helping to raise the children, and doing other actions around the home.
Depending on who you are (the person filing the wrongful death accident claim) the types of damages that you can request in your settlement will be different. For example, the surviving spouse of a victim has the right to seek recompense for losing companionship and for personal suffering, but the personal representative of the estate of the person who died does not have the right to make this claim in court.
Stipulations for Filing a Surprise Wrongful Death Accident Lawsuit
Everywhere in the state of Arizona claims that are filed in court for injuries and deaths are governed by stipulations like the statute of limitations, in order to ensure that all involved parties, including the negligent party, are treated fairly. If someone you loved died in an accident and you are filing a Surprise wrongful death accident lawsuit it is important to make note of the statute of limitations in the state of Arizona. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit in the state of Arizona is not impacted by other events, including criminal cases that may be ongoing, or pending criminal charges, even if they are directly related to the case. In Arizona, and in Surprise, cases for wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the death of the victim. This means that when your family member has died, it is important to contact an attorney and ensure that you begin putting together the necessary paperwork and evidence to ensure that your case is filed within this timeframe and that you retain all of your rights. Many people do not understand that a lawsuit takes time to put together and that it is not as simple as filing a few sheets of paper with the court. If you wait too long and have only a few months until the statute of limitations expires, it may be very difficult for an attorney to help you file your case and retain your rights.
It is also important to file a case sooner rather than later due to the fact that evidence can be lost, memories can shift, and witnesses may move away, or die, or disappear in a two-year timeframe. The loss of evidence, witness statements, and your own recollection of the events that led to the death of your loved one could make the difference in whether or not your case is heard by a judge and whether you receive a favorable outcome.
Why You Might Want to Speak With a Surprise Wrongful Death Accident Attorney
If your loved one died in an accident caused by the negligent actions of another person, you may want to speak with a Surprise wrongful death accident attorney. Although you are not required to speak with an attorney or have one present in order to file your lawsuit or have your case heard in court, an attorney can help you with many aspects of your case that you may not understand or may not have the ability to handle on your own.
The attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. do whatever it takes to help you get the compensation and justice you deserve for the death of your loved one. We take over the case for you so that you can focus on helping your family to grieve and to work through the emotional suffering that comes with the death of a loved one. We focus on gathering evidence including police reports, accident reports, medical reports, doctors' statements, witness statements, and other documentation from the accident as it pertains to your case. We build a strong case for you and your family to ensure that your suffering and your situation is taken seriously by the court and by the negligent party and their attorneys. We work hard to get you enough compensation to not only cover the costs of medical bills associated with the death of your loved one and the accident but also to cover the costs of losing their income or your own income while you are dealing with their loss, and to also help your family move forward over time.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can also help you by ensuring that the other party does not bully you or confuse you into accepting a settlement that does not meet the needs of your family or cover the expenses you have relating to the death of your loved one. Many times individuals are scared or bullied by the other party, and made to believe that they must accept a lower offer in order to receive any compensation but this is not true.
If you're ready to fight for your loved one's memory and to get the compensation that you and your family need and deserve to move on with your lives and to take care of expenses related to the death of your loved in a tragic wrongful death accident, contact the attorneys at the Husband and Wife Law Team today for a free consultation and help understanding your rights.