Tucson Wrongful Death Attorneys
Sadly, wrongful deaths occur much more often than people think. Anytime you hear about a car accident, a slip-and-fall, or a dog attack that results in fatalities, a wrongful death lawsuit is always possible. While people who have just lost a beloved family member rarely think immediately about filing a claim, legal action is important for recovering compensation. If you have lost a loved one to someone else’s act of negligence, then you should be fairly compensated for your tragic loss.
That is where we at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., come in. We have years of experience working with the people of Tucson who have lost their loved ones. To speak to a member of our highly dedicated and compassionate team, call our firm at (520) 624-4228. We are happy to offer a free consultation and give you the advice you need.
The term “wrongful death” refers to a death caused by a preventable accident. Had someone done their job and behaved responsibly, the death would not have happened. That distinction is important because it allows certain family members of the deceased to file a claim for compensation, helping them to recover financially after losing a loved one.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to wrongful death, in our experience, are:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Swimming pool falls and drownings
- Product liability
- Negligent security
- Animals attacks
If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. However, not just anyone is eligible to file a claim. Only certain family members can start legal action and recover damages.
Wrongful death claims are civil claims, and the punishments of a criminal trial -- imprisonment and other sentences such as community service -- are not given. Instead, the family is awarded monetary damages from the at-fault party or perpetrator. Arizona courts are strict about which family members are allowed to file a claim, however. Eligible family members include:
- 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
If you are not among those listed, you are not legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim.
Similar to a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim has specific damages that can be awarded. However, 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. Always keep in mind that wrongful death claims are meant to offer financial support to minimize the impact of someone’s sudden death. If these specific losses have been suffered by the claimant, then compensation may be awarded.
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 death
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. It is important to keep in mind that no matter who you are and how you are related to the deceased, you have a time limit to file a claim. There is a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims of just two years after the death. Families must file their claim within a two-year period, otherwise they will not have the right to file for wrongful death.
That may seem like a long time, but mourning the passing of a loved one can make time pass in a whirl. That is why we suggest filing a claim as soon as possible. Going through the process may be emotionally difficult, but our team is here to offer you the support you need while also working to get you the compensation you deserve.
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. Remember, your family should always come first. Will compensation bring your loved one back? No. However, it will help your family recover financially. Having the guilty person or corporation held liable in court will also ease the emotional burden, as you will see justice done for your loved one.
It is also 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. For example, 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.
We always recommend that those who have lost a loved to a wrongful death file a claim against the liable party. A successful claim can help ease the burden of someone’s passing, and ensure a viable financial future. Making sure that a claim is successful, however, will require the help of experienced attorney, who can guide you through the process.
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 our firm, 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.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer