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Helpful tips and information from Tucson legal experts

News, insights, and opinions from the Doug Newborn Law Firm on probate, estate planning, personal injury, and vehicle collision laws and how they impact you and your family.

Unfortunately, death directly impacted by a person, company, or entity sometimes happens. The surviving family members of the deceased may seek assistance from wrongful death lawyers to seek litigation founded on multiple factors surrounding the death.

With a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s vital to understand what’s involved in it to justify the claim. Typically, the lawsuit is filed when the victim is killed through the actions, or lack thereof, by another individual or organization.

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This is where the help of wrongful death lawyers come in. If you are not sure that you have a wrongful death case, consult with a lawyer specializing in this type of lawsuit.

Until then, we’ll share more information about what wrongful death is so that you can have a better understanding of this situation.

What Is Wrongful Death?

The wrongful death statutes outline in Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) §§12-611 states that:

“The spouse, child, parent, or estate of a decedent may bring a wrongful death action if an act or omission that would justify a personal injury lawsuit causes the death of a family member. In most situations, this generally means that the individual, corporation, or government entity will have engaged in negligent conduct. Negligence essentially is the failure to exercise ordinary care to prevent foreseeable injury to others. This might include causing a motor vehicle collision by driving too fast or failing to repair a broken step that causes a fatal fall.”

Under state law, the surviving spouse, parent, child, or guardian may initiate the wrongful death action. The liability of the company, entity, or person responsible for the death of another person goes beyond the death of the specific individual – and the surviving family members can file a suit reliant on that liability.

Wrongful death lawyers can help navigate this legal process.

A wrongful death claim may even be brought into action if the circumstances surrounding the death would constitute manslaughter charges or first- or second-degree charges.

Thus, criminal charges don’t end civil wrongful death suits that could be filed against the defendant under the Arizona statute.

Furthermore, the state can appoint a personal representative to represent the beneficiaries. The personal representative is responsible for handling the lawsuit for the deceased victim on behalf of the surviving family members.

If there are no surviving claimants, the personal representative may initiate a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased victim’s estate. If the deceased is a child or a minor, the parents or legal guardian may bring the lawsuit.

Filing for Wrongful Death Claim

In most states, a wrongful death lawsuit may only be initiated by a designated beneficiary of the deceased. This means that an individual or group of people identified by the state statute based on their relationship to the deceased.

For instance, some statutes appoint the widower, widow, or children as the statutory beneficiaries. Wrongful death lawyers will confirm if you are eligible to bring a case.

Filing for wrongful death can be overwhelming.
  • Surviving spouse, children, adopted children, parents, parents of the unmarried deceased, and other immediate family members
  • Life or domestic partners
  • Distant family members, such as siblings, aunts, uncles, or grandparents, if there are no immediate family members available
  • Financial dependents or those who will suffer most financially due to the death

Filing for wrongful death is exclusive to the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries of the deceased. Some examples of the designated beneficiaries may include:

Make the Most Out of Your Wrongful Death Claim

Navigating this process can get overwhelming. Accepting the death of your loved one while at the same time dealing with a wrongful death claim is going to be challenging. When choosing among wrongful death lawyers in the state, make sure to pick one who will take a thorough look at what can be recovered before considering any settlement value on the claim.