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Top Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer
How do you know if you need a wrongful death attorney? We’ll start with the basics: Has a loved one lost their life based on the ignorance or neglect of someone else? If so, you need the wrongful death lawyers Phoenix at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group.
Nothing can be more devastating than losing a member of your family in a tragic accident. We know that nothing we can ever do will replace that empty chair at the dinner table. But, the Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, a firm with some of the top Phoenix wrongful death attorneys, will defend the reputation and honor of your loved one against the entities responsible for their death.
By filing a wrongful death suit against the negligent person, entity or company, the surviving spouse and family members can recover compensation to cover expenses associated with the loved one’s death. Our law firm offers a free consultation for those who believe they may have a wrongful death case. To schedule your free consultation with one of our compassionate personal injury lawyers, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.
What Is Wrongful Death Under Arizona Revised Statutes?
According to the Arizona Revised Statutes 12-611 and 12-612, a “surviving husband or wife, child, parent or guardian, or personal representative of the deceased person” may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In order to qualify for wrongful death suits, the surviving family members or the person filing the claim must fulfill the following requirements.
- The victim’s death was caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default.”
- If the victim had not died, they would be entitled to “maintain an action to recover damages.” In other words, they would qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- If wrongful death had not occurred, the person or corporation that was responsible would be liable in a personal injury claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not all fatal accidents give family members the right to take legal action. In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit claim in Arizona, a third party must have acted recklessly or negligently and caused your loved one’s death.
You’ll need to prove based on a preponderance of evidence that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person, breached this duty of care, that this breach caused the accident, giving your family compensable damages.
Proof of this wrongful act could exist in eyewitness statements, on police reports, medical records, photo or video evidence, coroner reports, or accident reconstruction.
As a family member, the easiest way to find out if wrongful death law can be applied to your situation is to talk to one of our wrongful death attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group. We’ll discuss the facts surrounding the case during your free case evaluation.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims?
A representative of the estate of the deceased victim is typically who files the wrongful death claim. This is done on behalf of the surviving family members who had a relationship with the victim.
Not everyone is entitled to file a wrongful death claim or pursue compensation.
Arizona law allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving spouse
- Parents or guardians
- Estate representative(s)
While any of the mentioned can technically file a Phoenix wrongful death lawsuit, having an experienced wrongful death attorney acting on behalf of surviving family members can help ensure that the legal matter is resolved efficiently and that the beneficiaries receive the most financial compensation possible for the wrongful act.
In Arizona, the courts typically follow the line of succession when they’re determining who can receive monetary damages after fatal accidents. This becomes complicated when multiple family members file civil claims against the person responsible.
Additionally, the surviving spouse usually must take legal action on behalf of any minor children following the fatal accident.
How Much Can You Sue For Wrongful Death in Arizona?
Damages in a wrongful death claim can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages account for the financial losses that were a direct result of the wrongful death action that caused the victim’s death:
- Future lost wages or loss of income
- Funeral expenses and burial costs
- Medical expenses of the deceased
- Loss of inheritance
- Property damages for any personal property damaged during the accident
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate and typically use a multiplier in wrongful death claims. Examples of non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim can include:
- The deceased person’s pre-death pain and suffering
- Loss of care, companionship and/or consortium
- Mental anguish
- Value of services that the deceased would have provided
While Arizona law does make it difficult to obtain punitive damages, if the person responsible or responsible parties exercised gross negligence or acted maliciously, then an experienced attorney may be able to persuade a judge or jury to include punitive damages, as they are required for fair compensation.
These damages aren’t limited to the monetary value associated with the reasonable expenses that come with the person’s death. Instead, they are designed to punish the responsible party for their reckless behavior and attempt to discourage the actions made by the at fault party in the future.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if a Criminal Case Is Pending?
Yes. You are not required to wait until the criminal case concludes to file your Arizona wrongful death claim. As long as you have enough evidence to move forward with your wrongful death case, the results of the criminal case pending in court may not matter. Even if they are not convicted of a crime, you still have the right to file a civil lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Settlements
It’s important to understand how you might receive repayment if you are successful in your wrongful death case. Wrongful death lawsuits aim to help the surviving loved ones of wrongful death victims cover funeral and burial expenses, as well as medical bills, lost income, and much more. In many cases, payouts from wrongful deaths come in the form of structured settlements. Structured settlements payout over time rather than in one lump sum. This helps the surviving family members to achieve financial security, stability, and to alleviate their debt. Speak with our Phoenix wrongful death attorneys if you have questions about how your wrongful death lawsuit might play out.
Wrongful Death Settlement vs Lawsuit
One of the most commonly asked questions in wrongful death claims is whether or not to accept the settlement offer from the responsible party or parties. This particular legal matter is one in which it’s extremely helpful to have a personal representative acting as your lawyer.
The at-fault party will have their own legal team, who will act on their client’s behalf, especially if the potential for a criminal case arises.
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers have the experience required to accurately assess the full extent of your damages and skillfully negotiate for your family to receive the full and fair compensation for the losses incurred due to someone else’s negligence.
After the negligent party offers a reasonable settlement offer, we advise acceptance, as this is often the better option. Accepting a fair settlement offer saves money by avoiding trial. Furthermore, once wrongful death cases are brought to court, there isn’t a guarantee that your family will win the case.
Either way, you shouldn’t have to settle for less than what’s fair. Our team of experienced attorneys will advise of your legal rights and answer questions via a free case evaluation.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out in Arizona?
There are two basic ways in which wrongful death settlements are paid. This can either be through structured settlements or a lump-sum payout.
How Long Does It Take to Settle Wrongful Death Claims in Phoenix?
Wrongful death lawsuits usually take a year or even years. Some, however, can settle in as little as a few months. Working with a Phoenix wrongful death attorney can help ensure this process moves along more quickly.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Arizona?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Arizona is two years from the date of death.
If you fail to bring your claim within the two-year time frame, you may forfeit your right to secure financial compensation. However, some exceptions may apply to your case.
For example, if your loved one died due to a violent act, the clock may not start until after the completion of the criminal case against the defendant.
Establishing an attorney-client relationship with our legal team is the best way to ensure that you’re meeting the right deadlines for your unique case.
Leading Causes of Wrongful Death in Phoenix, AZ
While a fatal accident can happen for a number of reasons, the most common for Phoenix, AZ include:
- Auto accidents including truck accidents and motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional violence
- Workplace accidents
Other causes of wrongful death can include dangerous drugs, defective products, nursing home abuse, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, chemical exposure, birth injuries, premises accidents, or a private airplane crash.
It’s important to note that filing a claim for a loved one’s death will involve many different elements of negligence. The nature of the defendant’s actions is so important to your case. Different rules exist for filing against a civilian, physician, and government entities. Speaking with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death lawyer will ensure that you’re meeting all of the necessary deadlines in order to secure compensation.
How to Find the Best Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney
You’ll want to start by asking friends and family. Next, check out your state bar association. Read the attorney review. Review the attorney’s biography–how much experience does he or she have?
Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyers
The sooner our wrongful death lawyers Phoenix begin your case review, the better we can prepare your case. For professional and compassionate help, call the Ybarra Maldonado Law Group. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our Phoenix law office at 602-910-4040 today.
Our team of compassionate and experienced wrongful death attorneys are here to help guide you in your time of need.
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