Tucson Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful deaths occur much more often than people think. Anytime you hear about a car accident with fatalities, a wrongful death lawsuit is always possible. Tucson in particular, has many wrongful death cases in their court systems every year, and the numbers are only growing.
The term 'wrongful death' in any state is classified as a death that is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person. This is true in Arizona as well, but A.R.S. Section 12-611 goes one step to further to specify that if the deceased person would have had a valid personal injury claim, their loved ones may file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Wrongful death cases are a type of personal injury claim, and so imprisonments and other sentences such as community service are not given. Instead, liability is compensated through monetary damages, for which the family members can make a claim in court. Those family members are:
- The spouse of the deceased
- Children of the deceased
- Surviving parents or guardians of the deceased
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate
- A personal representative of the deceased spouse, child, parent or guardian
The amount of compensation awarded in wrongful death cases depends partially on who is filing the claim. If the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit) is a direct family member, such as a spouse or child, they can sue for damages such as:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering of surviving family members
- Loss of support and guidance
However, if the plaintiff is a representative of the state, they could not sue for these damages because they did not rely on the deceased in the same way.
Damages known as compensatory, or economic, damages can also be sued for. These are damages that can have an actual monetary amount placed on them and include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before they passed away
When damages are awarded to family members in Arizona wrongful death cases, the family members must decide for themselves how to divide the compensation. If they cannot decide on their own, the court will award different amounts to each individual.
We know that compensation will never bring a loved one back, and this is the argument we hear the most when clients are hesitant about filing claims. But filing a claim can help offset the high costs of funeral expenses and medical bills the deceased left behind. It is a common misconception that by filing a claim, you will be in some way hurting the person or persons who are responsible for the wrongful death, but that is not true. This is because it’s extremely rare that a person is required to pay out on a wrongful death claim. In the case of auto accidents (the most common wrongful death claim in Tucson), it’s an insurance company that typically pays out on the claim. And in the case of wrongful death due to medical malpractice, it’s often the insurance company of the hospital or the doctor that pays out on the claim.
The simple fact is that, compensation in wrongful death claims can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it’s impractical to ask a person to pay this out because most can’t. Fearing that you’re going to "break" someone or take them for everything they have is no reason not to file a wrongful death claim, simply because it’s just not going to happen.
Filing a wrongful death claim may seem like the last thing you want to do during your time of grief. However, compensation awarded from these claims can greatly help with some of the financial stresses that can accompany a sudden death. When you’re ready to get the help you need, contact Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (520) 624-4228. Our Tucson personal injury lawyers can help with this difficult time, and make the entire process easier for you and your family.