How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michael E. Trauscht with The Law Office Of Michael Trauscht.
A wrongful death claim may be filed when one person dies as a result of the negligent conduct of another party. As a general rule of thumb, if the person would have been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived their injuries, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim. Damages which can be included in a wrongful death claim are vast, and include payment for the victim’s medical bills, loss of expected income, pain and suffering, and even funeral and burial expenses. It is important to note that laws vary from state to state regarding wrongful death litigation. To learn more about wrongful death claims, or for help filing, reach out to a wrongful death attorney in your area.
In Arizona, several parties may be considered eligible to file a wrongful death claim, including:
- Surviving spouse
- Parent or guardian
- Personal representative on behalf of the spouse, children, parents, or estate.
In most cases, distant relatives are not considered eligible to file a wrongful death claim. However, if the deceased did not have close family, this could change the eligibility requirements. In this situation, it is particularly important to seek legal counsel from an Arizona wrongful death attorney.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Arizona is two years from the date of death.
A statute of limitations is a window of time, after which passes, a person is no longer eligible to file a claim for their loved one’s death. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is the same; however, it is important to note that the window of time for a wrongful death claim does not begin until the victim’s date of death, even if their injury was sustained in the months or even years prior.
If the deceased could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they survived, a wrongful death claim exists.
In Arizona and in many other states, this is considered the basic rule in deciding when a wrongful death claim is possible. So, even if someone had already begun filing a personal injury claim when they died of their injuries, all the family must do is close the personal injury lawsuit and open a wrongful death claim. In some cases, an injury or illness can be sustained long before the death occurs; some examples of this include being exposed to harmful substances at work or taking harmful medications over time. The conditions caused by these scenarios can eventually lead to a person’s death, in which case the family can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death lawsuits include the following:
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Dangerous premises
- Dangerous products
- Medical malpractice
- Water and recreational accidents
- Workplace injuries and accidents
- Criminal activities
It may help to note that if your loved one’s death occurred as the result of criminal activity, you may still file a civil wrongful death claim at the same time as the criminal case is pending. In fact, this is highly recommended; the longer family members wait to file a wrongful death claim, the more complicated it can be. Wrongful death attorneys understand the emotional pain and financial stress that families endure after a wrongful day; that’s why most of them offer free consultations and work on contingency, so that families only pay for their services if they win the lawsuit. To learn more about when and how to file a wrongful death claim in Arizona or elsewhere, reach out to a wrongful death attorney in your state.