Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one under any circumstances is traumatic and difficult. When your family member suffers an untimely and unnecessary death at someone else’s hands, it is even more difficult for your family.

While the legal process may not be the first thing on your mind, it is something you must address. Even if you are not thinking about money now, you may feel an immense financial loss that you need to recoup from the legal process in the coming days. In addition, monetary compensation is also a way to get justice from the person responsible for your loved one’s death.

Contacting an experienced wrongful death lawyer is the first step to take in the legal process, and the legal team of Gallagher & Kennedy is ready to help.

We obtain financial support for grieving families, including:

  • $1.55 million for a fatal bicycle crash
  • $3 million for a fatal aircraft accident
  • $2.25 million for a young inmate who suffered fatal medical negligence in jail

There are many risks of wrongful death around Phoenix, including high-speed crashes on I-10, swimming pool accidents, or pedestrian collisions at 75th Avenue and Indian School Road. No matter how your loved one died, always take time to learn about your legal rights. We’re here to help, so reach out today.

 

How Wrongful Death Cases Work

Personal injury cases seek compensation when you have suffered a loss or injury because of someone else’s wrongful actions. In this case, the personal injury your family has suffered is the loss of a family member with whom you had a close, loving relationship. The untimely death of a loved one has a devastating effect on a family. It hurts you financially and families will never be the same, collectively and individually.

A wrongful death case is a legal action where your family must prove that someone else caused your loved one’s death. Like every other personal injury case, you demonstrate that someone else should be liable by proving that they were negligent. To do this, you must prove that someone else acted unreasonably under the circumstances.

Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Here are some examples of things that courts may consider negligence in a wrongful death case:

  • A driver runs a red light and hits your loved one on the driver’s side in a t-bone crash.
  • A doctor fails to anticipate risk factors and does not order an emergency c-section, resulting in the death of a child or mother in the delivery process.
  • A truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel because they were violating hours of service rules and hits your family member in a head-on crash.
  • A driver does not see a crosswalk because they were looking down at their phone, and they hit your loved one crossing the road.
  • A restaurant owner does not limit the number of people on a patio, and your loved one loses their life in a deck collapse.

How to Prove Wrongful Death Cases

You will need to gather proof that shows what happened to demonstrate that someone else was responsible for the accident. What makes it even harder in a wrongful death case is that your loved one cannot say what they saw. Therefore, you need an experienced injury lawyer to piece together what occurred and assemble a case that they can use in a lawsuit or insurance claim.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death lawsuit pays your family for what they have lost, not what the deceased person went through.

When your loved one dies unexpectedly, your family can suffer in many ways, and you can recover compensation for all of them:

  • You will suffer emotional distress and trauma from losing a loved one suddenly because of someone else’s wrongful actions.
  • You will lose the guidance and support of your loved one.
  • You will suffer financially because your loved one is no longer around to support your family financially.
  • You will lose your close and loving relationship with your family member.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The ability to file wrongful death lawsuits comes from Arizona law. The statute dictates a hierarchy of who may file a lawsuit.

The following people can bring a wrongful death claim:

  • Surviving wife or husband
  • Surviving children
  • Surviving parent or guardian
  • Personal representative

Arizona law only allows for one wrongful death lawsuit against a defendant. The family members must join one case and work together to advance the lawsuit. The hope is that everyone can agree on the necessary actions.

In addition, Arizona law is also very strict about who can file a wrongful death claim. Siblings and life partners may not file a lawsuit unless nobody else can and are the personal representatives.

We Can Navigate Arizona’s Laws on Your Behalf

Phoenix Wrongful Death LawyersEach state has unique wrongful death laws that surviving family members must follow to bring claims against the parties responsible for causing their losses. Your Phoenix wrongful death lawyer can navigate these laws on your behalf, file your lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations, and ensure that it meets all relevant laws.

  • Grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death occurs under Arizona law when a fatality results from someone else’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. A claimant may have the right to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party if the deceased individual would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim had they survived their injuries.
  • Deadline to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Arizona law places a strict time limit on your ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona. Claimants have two years from the date of the death in most cases to file their claims. They may have even less time if they have claims against government entities or employees. Most courts do not grant exceptions to the statute of limitations, so filing your case by the required deadline is essential.
  • Restrictions on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Most people who were dependent on the deceased person for financial or emotional support can file a wrongful death claim in Arizona. These individuals include the surviving spouse, children, or parent of the deceased person or a personal representative of the victim’s estate.

Arizona’s wrongful death statute also lists the potential financial recoveries a family could receive for the wrongful death of a loved one. Your family could be eligible for losses suffered by both your loved one and their estate. Damages may include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Emergency care costs
  • Lost financial benefits
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Property repair and replacement
  • Pain and suffering

Your family does not have to go through the legal process alone. We are one of Arizona’s most respected wrongful death practices, and we are ready and willing to help your family. We have helped hundreds of other families over the last 25 years cope with the legal issues involved after the loss of a loved one. We are here to help you hold individuals and entities responsible for their misconduct in causing the death of your loved one.

Survival Actions

Above, we mentioned the possibility that you can also seek compensation for what your loved one endured between their accident and death. In some cases, your loved one did not die immediately.

For example, in a product liability case for defective medication, your loved one may have lived for years with cancer before they eventually succumbed to it. The responsible party must also pay for these damages. Instead of the family filing a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s estate will file a survival action.

Damages in a survival action will include:

  • The medical bills necessary to treat your loved one
  • Income that they did not earn between the time of their injury and death
  • The pain and suffering that they endured as a result of their injury
  • The loss of enjoyment of life between their injury and death

Your loved one’s estate will divide the damages from a survival action per their will’s terms.

Wrongful Death Is Your Family’s One Chance to Get Justice

Your family wants justice when your loved one dies tragically because of something that someone else did wrong. For you, financial compensation is the way that you get justice. Not only does it help your family, it sends a message to the defendant.

You only get one chance to hold someone accountable for what they did to your family. You must put your best foot forward because you cannot make someone answer twice for what they did for the same set of facts.

In addition, you will need to sign a release clause once you settle your case to get the check. The release clause means that you are signing away your legal rights. You cannot return for more money if you settle your claim for too little because the settlement released the defendant and their insurance company from further liability.

Unless minimal exceptions apply, the release clause is always final. Therefore, you need an attorney on your side to maximize your financial recovery.

How Wrongful Death Proceeds Are Divided

Just like the family members need to work together on the lawsuit, the hope is that they can also agree on how to split the wrongful death proceeds. The settlement or jury award can be significant, so families are trying to divide a lot of money.

In some cases, families cannot agree on who gets what. When that happens, the court may step in and allocate proceeds to eligible family members. The judge will look at the strength of each person’s relationship with the deceased when deciding how to allocate the settlement or jury award.

Your Wrongful Death Settlement Options

The money you get in a wrongful death settlement must last because it needs to take care of your family for a long time. Your family cannot afford to make poor financial decisions with the money because there is no more where it came from. Accordingly, you will need to plan to manage the settlement money.

Here are two options for how to get your wrongful death proceeds:

  • You can take a structured settlement that pays you out money over time. Some families find this preferable if they cannot manage money well.
  • You can take all the money at once in a lump sum payment. If you do this, get financial advice about managing and preserving your money.

Regardless of your choice, take care with your money.

Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer

The insurance company wants to make money, not help your family by paying the full damages that their policyholder’s carelessness or recklessness caused you.

If you do not have an attorney, you may recover far less than you deserve—if you get any money.

Here is what a wrongful death attorney can do for you and your family:

  • Spare you and your family from the legal details during this challenging time
  • Investigate the circumstances behind your loved one’s death, gathering the evidence that will be necessary to prove that someone else must pay for your family’s damages
  • File a lawsuit on your family’s behalf or a claim with the insurance company if that is the best legal strategy
  • Estimate the damages that your family has suffered as a starting point for settlement negotiations
  • Discuss possible compensation as part of a settlement agreement, either after filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim
  • Try your case before a jury if you cannot reach a settlement agreement.

At Gallagher & Kennedy, we help you every step of the way with compassion and a commitment to providing the best client service possible.

Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case

Even if you have some time to file a lawsuit, you will want to begin the legal process now. First, you may want to explore whether you can settle with the responsible party’s insurance company. It usually takes an insurance company some time to respond to a demand letter. Then, it may take more time to see if the insurance company wants to settle your case for a reasonable sum.

Second, the legal process, in general, can take years from start to finish. Your family likely needs the money that your loved one will have earned. Knowing that the legal process is deliberate and you cannot rush, you should contact an attorney to at least take your first steps now. Wrongful death lawsuits require patience, and we understand that can be difficult when you want and need results now.

Contact a Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Bob Boatman Personal Injury Attorney

Robert W. Boatman, Wrongful Death Attorney

The law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy fights on behalf of families when they have suffered the most significant loss of all from someone else’s recklessness or carelessness. Nothing can replace your loved one. You can lessen the other losses your family suffered.

We see firsthand the devastation families experience from a tragic loss and our personal injury lawyers are here to help. We will handle your case diligently and will exercise the greatest degree of compassion when dealing with you and your family. To begin the legal process, you can call us today at (602) 530-8400 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.

Gallagher Kennedy – Phoenix Office

2575 E Camelback Rd, Suite 810
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Tel: (602) 530-8400