Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorneys
Get Answers to Your Imortant Frequently Asked Wrongful Death Questions
If you have experienced the sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one in an accident that you believe was caused by another person's recklessness or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to take legal action against the responsible party. By filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent person, company, or entity, surviving family members can recover compensation to help cope with the unforeseen expenses and non-economic losses that often occur after a wrongful death.
After suffering such a tragic loss in the family, it is understandable that taking legal action may seem like an additional burden, but it is important to speak with a Phoenix injury attorney as soon as possible to explore your options for gaining restitution. At Breyer Law Offices P.C., our wrongful death lawyers understand that the absence of a loved one is devastating and will work closely with you to ensure that your best interests are protected. While no amount of money can erase the past, compensation can offset financial strain that may affect your future. Call us for a free consultation at (602) 267-1280 or submit an online contact form.
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What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death can be an accident or a deliberate unjust act of another person or entity that causes someone to die.
What Rights do Family Members Have When a Loved One Has Died Wrongfully?
Immediate family members have the right to claim wrongful death damages against the person who caused their loved one's death. In Arizona, immediate family members include a spouse, parent or child. If the victim did not have a spouse, child, or surviving parents, the estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit with the proceeds combined with the victim's assets.
Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?
When a person passes away, it is likely that many lives will be affected by the loss and in some cases, experience economic consequences. However, not everyone is entitled to sue the at-fault party for damages. In Arizona, the surviving spouse, children, parents, or guardian of a deceased person may lawfully pursue a wrongful death claim. A lawyer will act on behalf of the survivors, also known as beneficiaries, to ensure that the case is both uncomplicated and efficient, especially if there are several family members involved.
Settlement vs. Lawsuit
One of the most important questions in a wrongful death claim is whether to accept a settlement offer from the responsible party, or to take your case to court for a decision. This is an area in which it is important to have sound legal counsel from a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.
You will most likely be dealing with lawyers or representatives of the negligent party’s insurance company who have the best interests of their own client at heart. Almost invariably, they will try to get the injured party to accept a lowball offer in an attempt to minimize the amount the company has to pay out.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess the full extent of your damages and negotiate skillfully with the other side on your behalf. If you receive a settlement offer, we can advise you of whether or not it represents full and fair compensation for the losses you have suffered.
If a fair settlement offer is made, acceptance is often the best option, as it can save you the time spent on a lengthy trial and the expense of litigation. Also, when a case is brought to court, it is never guaranteed who will win or lose. Nevertheless, you should not have to settle for less than a fair level of financial compensation for losses you have suffered, and we are ready to fight aggressively for your rights in court when necessary.
In many cases, having a legal team on your side who already has an impressive track record of favorable outcomes can make all the difference in the settlement offer. If the other side knows you are represented by personal injury attorneys who will arrive in court fully prepared, and will not back down in fighting for your rights and interests, a reasonable settlement is likely to be offered. Our firm has a history of success, with 98% of our cases concluded successfully.
Is a Wrongful Death Settlement for Funeral Expenses Only?
A wrongful death settlement includes damages for many other costs the family has incurred due to their loved one's death. A wrongful death settlement includes damages for:
- Medical and out-of-pocket costs before the death occurred
- Loss of future income of the deceased
- Pain and suffering the deceased incurred
- Loss of service to the family
- Loss of love, companionship and guidance
What Damages Can be Recovered?
Through legal action, it is possible for families to not only gain closure and a sense of justice, but also financial compensation for past, current, and future expenses. Common types of economic and non-economic damages that may be awarded in an Arizona wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses for past treatment
- Loss of income and services if the victim had lived
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Loss of consortium, including companionship, love, and care
- Pain and suffering, such as the emotional and mental anguish associated with grief
- Punitive damages that are intended to punish the at-fault party
Every case is unique and a jury will determine the amount of damages that may be awarded based on the circumstances of the victim's death, the victim's income and expected future earnings, and the non-economic losses suffered by each eligible survivor.
Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages may also be awarded in certain wrongful death cases. Punitive damages are not limited by the monetary value of the losses the family of the deceased has suffered. They are designed to punish the responsible party for wrongdoing and to deter similar actions by others in the future.
In Arizona, punitive damages may be awarded in certain types of cases, including those involving reckless and outrageous conduct. For example, if a driver makes an error and unintentionally causes a fatal accident, punitive damages will probably not be included in the award. However, if the driver who causes a fatal accident is DUI at the time of the crash, a crime has been committed and punitive damages could potentially be awarded in court.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Phoenix?
In Arizona, survivors must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death in order to be eligible for compensation. Failure to take legal action within the statute of limitations can result in the loss of right to assert a wrongful death claim. While a statute of limitations is generally strict, there are unique circumstances in which an individual may be able to file a claim after the specific time period has expired. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine whether you still have a potential claim.
The Husband and Wife Law Team - Making a Difference for Our Clients
The compassionate Phoenix personal injury legal team at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. understands the needs of a grieving family, and will work tirelessly to ensure that you gain the compensation you need and deserve. Mark and Alexis Breyer have years of experience defending clients who have suffered emotional and financial losses as the result of another's negligent actions or wrongdoing. Please do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about your options for recovery. Your first consultation is always free. Call us at (602) 267-1280.
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