Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
When a loved one dies as a result of the negligent or wrongful act by another, a wrongful death lawyer Mesa, AZ can investigate negligence of the parties that may be responsible, and explain to the decedent’s survivors the legal options that are available.
Wrongful death is a legal term used when an individual’s life is taken as a result of the negligent or wrongful act of another. The death may occur due to any number of causes where there is negligence, involving vehicle, motorcycle, truck crashes, trauma to pedestrians, or bicyclists, or an unsafe premises condition, death may occur as a result of a work-related injury.
Early investigation is important, witnesses may need to be located, interviewed, an accident reconstructionist may need to be consulted. A wrongful death lawyer Mesa, AZ will investigate negligence, any comparative fault, and look into the available insurance policies that may apply.
Wrongful death cases are usually resolved through settlement or litigation with the adverse party’s insurance company or heard and resolved through a jury trial. The claim is usually pursued against an individual, a company, or a governmental entity.
Under A.R.S. §12-821, and A.R.S. §12.821.01 there are time limits within which a Notice of Claim shall be filed against a public entity, the claim must contain sufficient facts outlining the basis of the claim. The claim must also contain a specific amount that it may be settled for, representation by an attorney is essential to ensure that the claim is properly stated and served.
In Arizona, the general rule is that a wrongful death claim may be brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent of the decedent, on behalf of the spouse or children, or parents of the decedent. Adopted children may pursue a wrongful death case for the loss of an adoptive parent.
Under A.R.S. § 12-613, the amount of damages that a surviving spouse, parent or child may recover will vary from case to case, damages that are considered may include:
- The loss of love, affection, and companionship since the death of the decedent and in the future
- Pain, grief, sorrow and mental suffering experienced since the death, and in the future
- Lost income sustained as a result of the death
A jury has broad discretion to award fair and just damages and to consider mitigating or aggravating circumstances of the act or omission causing the wrongful death. The loss of a loved one is immeasurable, the purpose of the wrongful death lawsuit is to allow a means to determine accountability, and to hold the wrongdoer accountable for damages.
Punitive damages should also be considered, they may be an option in certain types of cases where the adverse party’s conduct is particularly aggravating or wrongful, such as drunk driving, wrong-way driving or overservice of alcohol by a bar. I represented the mother of a daughter who died following a motorcycle crash. The driver of the motorcycle was overserved alcohol at a Tempe, AZ bar. He crashed the motorcycle, his female passenger was killed. A jury assessed fault against the drunk driver and the bar, and determined damages for the decedent’s mother.
The wrongful death attorney should learn about the decedent’s story, the family’s losses and how the family has suffered, emotionally and financially, as a result of the death. The attorney will explain the process, litigation and the time frame involved in pursuing the case. The attorney should be someone you can trust and feel comfortable with, in the effort to achieve a fair and just resolution, by way of settlement or trial.
There should be no attorneys fees unless there is a settlement. The attorney should advance the costs necessary to investigate the case, file the case in court, and proceed with hiring experts, the taking depositions, and preparing the case for the possibility of trial.
There should be a free confidential consultation with the experienced wrongful death lawyer Mesa, AZ, there should be no fees or costs charged unless there is a settlement. Contact the office of Paul Englander, PLC today.