Wrongful Death is a lawsuit which is brought by a close family relative against the person or entity which caused the death of a loved one due to a negligent act. It can be an emotional and financial devastation to the family involved. When a loved one is wrongfully killed, not only is there mental anguish but there are often medical, hospital and funeral expenses which must be addressed.
Who receives the proceeds of a Wrongful Death lawsuit or claim?
The close family relative is the one that is asking to be compensated for the taking of life of another close family member. A wrongful death claim allows the surviving relative a cause of action which entitles him/her to recover for the loss of financial support, love and affection, companionship and care that would normally be provided by the deceased had he/she not died.
Does the Individual who has died have any rights to claim monies recovered under a Wrongful death lawsuit or claim?
Generally, the estate of the deceased would not have any right to make a claim for pain and suffering of the deceased. However, the personal representative for the estate of the deceased can bring a claim for medical, funeral or any expenses directly related to the accident.
Who has a right to claim proceeds for a wrongful death claim?
Under Arizona law, the only individuals who are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- Parents of the deceased
- Surviving husband/wife and
- Surviving children.
Who is a surviving spouse?
In Arizona, you can only recover under a wrongful death action if you are married to the deceased. Arizona does not recognize common law marriages where two people have lived together for a long period of time without getting legally married.
What kind of Damages can a person recover under a wrongful death claim?
- Medical and funeral expenses associated with the death of the family member
- Loss of victim’s anticipated earnings in the future up until the time of the victim’s anticipated retirement age or natural death.
- Pain and suffering or mental suffering to the survivor.
- Loss of companionship, love and affection.
- Punitive Damages meant to punish the person or organization causing the death if their conduct was willful or wanton in nature.
What should I do if I think that I have a wrongful death case?
- Gather as much information As you can with respect to the events surrounding the death and get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all potential witnesses.
- Make sure you have a copy of the death certificate.
- Get a full copy of the incident or accident report that was prepared by the law enforcement agency investigating the accident involving the deceased.
- DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING RELATING TO THE ACCIDENT–ESPECIALLY ANY TYPE OF REQUEST FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION.
- Don’t talk to the responsible parties legal or any other representative, including any insurance representative.
- Notify all of your insurance carriers including your automobile insurance, home insurance and life insurance representative.
- Contact The Cabrera Law Firm at (520) 792-9292 immediately in order to ensure that your rights are adequately protected and that all potential evidence and witnesses are preserved.