Wrongful death is a unique type of case in that it is not the victim of the accident bringing the cause of action but a surviving family member or personal representative. While we know the aftermath of a death in the family can be overwhelming, it is important to think about pursuing damages through a lawsuit as soon as possible. Wrongful death claims have a deadline in Arizona. Waiting too long to speak to an attorney could compromise your right to recover.
At David Shapiro Law, PLLC, our Mesa wrongful death lawyers are here to offer consolation, advice, and answers for families dealing with unexpected losses of life. We can begin your claim to damages with a free and confidential case evaluation at our local law office. Our attorneys also accept clients in Scottsdale, Tempe, and other Maricopa County cities. Schedule your meeting today by contacting us.
It is crucial to understand that wrongful death claims can be incredibly challenging for individuals to handle on their own. Most family members do not come equipped with the legal expertise or the resources necessary to stand up to other parties involved in these claims. However, a Mesa wrongful death lawyer will be able to handle every aspect of the case on behalf of grieving family members.
The role of a lawyer in these cases will be multifaceted and include the following:
Wrongful death is often the tragic outcome of negligence, recklessness, maliciousness, or wanton disregard for the safety of others. When this is the case, surviving family members may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible for related damages. At David Shapiro Law, PLLC, our attorneys have enough experience handling wrongful death claims to understand their most common causes in Arizona.
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of the ways that wrongful death claims arise in and around the Mesa, Arizona area. If you think that your loved one lost their life due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, please contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible. We want to make sure that we help you understand whether or not you have a viable wrongful death claim.
Most causes of wrongful death are preventable and connected to negligence or intent to harm. Negligence is the lack of ordinary care based on the situation. Ordinary care is what a prudent and reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. If someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing caused or contributed to your family member’s death, discuss whether you have a claim with our lawyers. We respond promptly to all communications.
A wrongful death claim involves many specific laws and statutes. These laws determine how long someone has to file, who can bring the claim, and what damages are available. It is up to you to either navigate these laws yourself or hire an attorney to do so for you. Taking on a wrongful death action yourself could come with the risk of making critical errors, such as waiting too long to file. Working with David Shapiro, on the other hand, could make learning the laws easier.
In the state of Arizona, wrongful death claims can only be brought to court if the deceased person would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit based on the actions that caused their death, had they survived. Wrongful death claims in Arizona are essentially personal injury cases that are handled by the surviving family members on behalf of the deceased. Under Arizona law, the following individuals are allowed to file wrongful death claims and civil court:
If the deceased person is a child, the state of Arizona allows the child’s parents or legal guardians that claim on their behalf.
The wrongful death law in Arizona requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years from the date of the person’s death. If these claims are not filed within this two-year timeframe, family members or the estate will not be able to recover any compensation for their losses, regardless of how egregious the behavior of the at-fault party was.
It is crucial from various elements to be in place in order for a family to successfully win a wrongful death claim in Arizona.
Damages. Finally, families will have to prove that they sustained some sort of quantifiable loss, including medical bills, lost income the deceased would have provided, pain and suffering damages, and more.
Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims in terms of liability laws and requirements of proof. They can be complicated to deal with, especially for a family that is still in mourning. David Shapiro Law, PLLC has years of experience advocating for clients in the fight to hold defendants liable for negligence. He and his associates can effortlessly guide you through the laws connected to your case.
A civil wrongful death claim is not a criminal trial. It is a civil claim for the good of the family rather than a charge brought by prosecutors to convict the defendant of a crime. The goal of a wrongful death civil claim is to make surviving loved ones and dependents whole again. It does this by ordering the party who was responsible for the wrongful death to pay for several related damages.
In Arizona, a family first has the option to divide a total damage award among themselves. If surviving family members cannot make this decision, the matter will go to a court judge instead. A judge may order the family to apportion the award a certain way. This order will become legally binding. If you are curious about how much money your wrongful death claim could be worth, call our attorneys for an in-depth evaluation.
Some states place limitations on the amount of money that can be awarded to plaintiffs in these cases. However, there is no such cap in place in Arizona. A jury is free to award any amount of money that they see fit to family members or the estate.
It is important to make a distinction between the two types of cases that often arise in the aftermath of a person losing their life. In many cases, law enforcement officials and prosecutors will bring charges against an at-fault party for their actions that contributed to the death of another individual. This is particularly true in the event a law was broken in the process. For example, if an individual dies after being assaulted or after being struck by a drunk driver, the at-fault party will likely face criminal charges. When charges are filed, this will be handled through the Arizona criminal court process.
However, this has no bearing on whether or not family members are allowed to file civil wrongful death claims. Wrongful death lawsuits go into the civil court system, and they are completely separate from the criminal case. There are a few important distinctions we want to point out when it comes to determining whether or not a wrongful death claim can be filed:
One of the most common defenses used by defendants in these cases is claiming that the deceased was responsible for causing the injuries that led to their death in some way. By trying to shift blame to the deceased, the at-fault party is attempting to get out of having to pay any compensation. However, wrongful death claims are handled similarly to personal injury claims when it comes to shared liability.
Arizona operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system in these cases. This means that the at-fault party can still recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident. For Mesa wrongful death cases, this would mean that family members and the estate would still be entitled to compensation even if the deceased contributed to their injuries in some way. However, the total amount of compensation the family receives will be reduced based on the percentage of fault the deceased had for the incident.
For example, suppose a family sustains losses of $1 million dollars as a result of the death of their loved one. However, what if a jury determines that the deceased was 40% responsible for causing their own injury? In this theoretical scenario, the family would receive $600,000 instead of the full $1 million could account for the 40% of fault of the deceased.
We understand that this can be challenging to understand. A skilled Mesa wrongful death lawyer will work diligently to uncover the truth of what happened. By gathering all the evidence necessary and by working with accident reconstructionists, an attorney will be able to combat the tactics used by the defendant when trying to shift blame onto the deceased.
At David Shapiro Law, PLLC, we understand that family members often struggle financially in the aftermath of losing a loved one. It can be challenging to figure out how to pay for an attorney to help with these claims. However, our Mesa wrongful death lawyers take these claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will not have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to their case. We only collect legal fees after we successfully recover the compensation that our clients are entitled to after their loss. We believe that this type of fee arrangement allows failing members to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
You may have rights after losing someone you love in an unexpected fatal accident. One or more parties may owe your family compensation as the party responsible for causing the death. If so, the lawyers at David Shapiro Law, PLLC can help you seek justice in the form of a settlement or jury verdict. We are compassionate, caring attorneys who take our jobs very seriously. If you entrust us with your wrongful death claim, we promise to treat it as we would the case of our own family member. Start by requesting a free consultation at (480) 300-5405 24/7. We also respond promptly to online messages submitted through our website.