Family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit when their loved one sustained a fatal injury caused by another person or party’s negligence, recklessness, or deliberate misconduct. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to help compensate surviving family members for losses to their household incurred in the deprivation of the decedent’s financial support, companionship, benefits, and services.
“Do I Need A Wrongful Death Attorney?”
Wrongful death cases are exceedingly complex. Though your family is grieving and legal action is understandably the last thing on your mind, the sooner an experienced wrongful death lawyer begins to work on your case, the better. Wrongful death claims take time and due diligence to prepare, and there are state-mandated deadlines in effect that could limit your right to compensation. Recovery depends on establishing clear liability and demonstrating substantial losses.
In the event of a sudden death in the family, Showard Law Firm can:
- Investigate the circumstances of the death to identify possible areas of liability.
- Identify the legally responsible parties whose actions or inactions contributed to the fatality.
- Assist your family in obtaining justice on behalf of the decedent.
- Maximize compensation for outstanding medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and noneconomic losses.
- Represent your interests during settlement negotiations or at a court trial at no cost unless we win.
At Showard Law Firm, we are sensitive to your needs at this delicate time, and we treat everyone who walks through our doors like family. One of our goals is to allow you to focus on personal matters and help your family arrive at a new normal while mitigating the financial hardship that sudden tragedies often cause.
While no amount of money can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, we will fight hard as your advocate to obtain justice on behalf of your loved one, while striving tirelessly to provide you with the answers and closure you deserve as part of your healing process.
Reasons to File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Arizona
When individuals act outside widely accepted norms to create a dangerous situation, the law allows us to hold these people liable for the harm they cause.
The most common types of wrongful death lawsuit in Tucson include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – More than 1,000 lives are taken by car accidents in Arizona each year. Drunk, distracted, drowsy, speeding, and reckless drivers cause most fatal accidents in our state.
- Workplace accidents – Falls, crushing injuries, and transportation mishaps in the workplace account for nearly 100 fatalities a year. Construction and resource extraction are the deadliest industries for workers in Arizona, followed by manufacturing and service sectors.
- Medical malpractice – The Grand Canyon State has one of the highest rates of medical malpractice lawsuits in the nation, with roughly 24 claims for every 100,000 Arizona residents. Nationwide, medical errors represent the third-leading-cause of death.
- Unintentional drowning – Arizona ranks seventh in drowning deaths at a rate of 1.5 per every 100,000 residents. The majority of deaths – some 41 out of 75 – involve children, sending shockwaves through local communities. Every one of these deaths is preventable through adult supervision, barriers between children and water, and swimming lessons when age-appropriate.
- Defective products – Products causing death include dangerous car parts, appliances, medical devices, beauty products, medications, children’s toys, and chemicals.
Sometimes the exact cause of death is not immediately apparent. A qualified personal injury attorney can aid in your investigation at no upfront cost to you. Many times a grieving family member contacts Showard Law Firm with nothing more than a hunch. Your lawyer works with local law enforcement, private investigators, researchers, and outside experts to determine what happened and why it happened.
What Might A Wrongful Death Settlement Include?
When a loved one dies, we lose so much beyond measure. What price tag can one place on the loss of companionship, the cost of services the decedent could have provided, and the mental anguish suffered?
Despite the enormity of it all, forensic economists can help approximate the level of suffering survivors experience. According to A.R.S. § 12-6123, a wrongful death lawsuit provides for any damages that are “fair and just with reference to the injury resulting from the death to the surviving parties.”
Sample damages awarded in a wrongful death settlement can include:
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- The decedent’s medical expenses
- The decedent’s prospective earning capacity
- Lost household services and contributions
- Diminished inheritance value
- Loss of love
- Loss of affection
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of consortium
- Personal anguish and suffering
- Legal and courtroom fees
In other words, a wrongful death lawsuit pays for any losses the SURVIVORS incurred.
Should You File A Survival Action?
A survival action is a different type of claim that may be pursued alongside a wrongful death claim. Often, attorneys file a survival action when the decedent did not die instantly but suffered with injury for a time before ultimately passing away.
Survival action damages include compensation for:
- The decedent’s medical costs prior to death
- The decedent’s lost wages during the period of prolonged injury or hospitalization
- The decedent’s mental anguish, pain, and suffering
In other words, a survival cause of action compensates for any losses THE DECEDENT suffered before dying.
Questions to Ask A Wrongful Death Lawyer
Knowing the right questions to ask a wrongful death lawyer will ensure open channels of communication between you and your legal team, help you manage your expectations, and provide a smooth process overall.
You may consider asking:
- Who should be included in a wrongful death lawsuit? Spouses, parents, and dependent children are the most common beneficiaries, but other parties may be included, and family status at the time of death can complicate matters.
- Is there a time limit to file my wrongful death claim? Survivors generally have up to two years from the date of death to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. In some cases, this timeframe may be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances, so it is best to call a lawyer for a free case review as quickly as possible.
- What type of financial compensation can I expect? Wrongful death settlements can reach up to multi-million-dollar payments. Understanding the potential of your claim and which factors will affect your compensation amount can help you maintain realistic expectations.
- How long do you expect my case to take? No lawyer can provide an exact timeline. It could take one to four years to settle a wrongful death claim. A good attorney will keep the lines of communication open and let you know when to expect an update on your claim.
- How much does legal representation cost? While pursuing litigation will cost you nothing upfront, you should receive a detailed legal contract with a list of attorney fees and expenses, so you understand what will come out of your total settlement or award upon a successful resolution of the claim. If no compensation is recovered, you owe nothing for services rendered.
How to Choose a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’re wondering how to choose a wrongful death lawyer, tips include:
- Choose based on experience. You want to be sure the person you choose has extensive experience in wrongful death claims, particularly. You want your attorney to have relationships with local judges and courts.
- Consider the price. Most – but not all – wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means they only get paid if you win. If you have a strong claim, you should have no trouble securing a risk-free deal.
- Gauge if their strategy aligns with your goals. You want to see that the lawyer representing your loved one and your family has a coherent game plan. Some lawyers are interested in settling as quickly as possible to keep their success rates high, while others are more concerned with securing maximum compensation and are willing to see the case through trial if necessary. You’re ultimately in the driver’s seat with how the case proceeds in civil court, but it’s good to be sure your legal representative is on the same page.
- Go with your gut. Ultimately, you’ll know after the free initial consultation whether you feel good about working with a particular law firm or not. Communication should flow freely, and you should feel like your concerns are taken seriously.
Get a Free Case Evaluation with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Tucson
The emotional and financial hardships you face following an unexpected loss cannot be overstated. You’ll find a trusted and knowledgeable friend at Showard Law Firm. Your lawyer strives to give you as hassle-free an experience as possible, answering all your questions and providing you with honest legal advice. Contact Showard Law Firm for a free, no-obligation case review with a Tucson wrongful death attorney.