When you lose a loved one in an accident or due to medical malpractice, you’re faced first with the terrible pain of losing someone you loved. You are also faced with the emotional and financial crisis that accompanies a wrongful death.
How will you pay for final expenses? Will you be able to make up for lost income if you’ve lost a spouse? Who will pay any remaining medical bills?
At Cullan & Cullan, we believe you shouldn’t have to worry about issues like these. Your main concern should be focusing on the healing process, surrounded by family. We’re committed to providing you with the tools to do just that. Our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers can handle every aspect of your case, seeking justice on your loved one’s behalf.
Our Results in Wrongful Death Cases
We have won millions for grieving families in wrongful death cases, including:
- $5.2 million: Wrongful death caused by a truck accident
- $4.1 million: Wrongful death caused by failure to diagnose
- $2.5 million: Wrongful death caused by obstetrical negligence
- $2.5 million: Wrongful death caused by medical malpractice
- $2 million: Wrongful death caused by medical negligence
- $1.7 million: Wrongful death caused by a truck accident
- $1.3 million: Wrongful death caused by medical negligence
Call our wrongful death lawyers in Phoenix at (602) 900-9483 today for a free and confidential review of your case.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Surviving family members may file a wrongful death suit if they believe their loved one died as a direct result of negligence. Wrongful death settlements are intended to take care of funeral arrangements or other final expenses, make up for the deceased’s lost wages, and compensate for intangible losses like loss of companionship.
You may file a wrongful death suit after any type of accident or negligence that has claimed the life of a family member. This may include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home negligence
- Defective products
Anyone can be at fault in a wrongful death claim, from individuals to companies and even the government.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Qualified survivors may be eligible to collect different types of damages as part of a wrongful death claim, which are lumped into three general categories:
- Economic (special) damages. These are easy to calculate and may include financial contributions the deceased made to the family as well as funeral expenses and outstanding medical bills.
- Non-economic (general) damages. These damages cover intangible losses, like loss of companionship, mental anguish, loss of consortium, grief, and loss of protection.
- Punitive damages. These are meant to punish the guilty parties for grossly negligent behavior. For example, companies can be forced to pay punitive damages when they knowingly sold dangerous products or drugs that they knew were likely to cause serious injury or death. A trucking company might have to pay punitive damages if they knew their tractor needed repairs but left it out on the road. A hospital might be liable for punitive damages when they knew a doctor had a drug or alcohol problem and did not suspend their hospital privileges, a driver might have to pay punitive damages for drinking while driving.
A Phoenix wrongful death attorney can explain more about the potential value of your case and your specific options.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Arizona?
In Arizona, the right to sue for wrongful death is governed by state law, specifically Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 12-612. Generally, the following parties, known as statutory beneficiaries, can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona:
- Surviving spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased person typically has the primary right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona.
- Children of the deceased: If the deceased person is survived by children, they may also have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Parents of the deceased: If the deceased person is not survived by a spouse or children, or they are a minor, the parents of the deceased person may have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Personal representative of the deceased's estate: If the deceased person is not survived by a spouse, children, or parents, or if none of these individuals bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may have the right to bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate.
If you're considering a lawsuit, we encourage you to consult with a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer who can provide guidance on the legal process, assess your eligibility to bring a claim, and advocate for your rights and interests throughout the proceedings.
Our attorneys at Cullan & Cullan can do just that.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the deceased person's death. This time limit is outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-542, which requires a claim to be brought within two years:
“For injuries done to the person of another when death ensues from such injuries, which action shall be considered as accruing at the death of the party injured.”
It's essential to understand that the statute of limitations sets a strict deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, and failing to file within the applicable time frame can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation for your loss. This is why you should contact our team at Cullan & Cullan as soon as possible to discuss your case.
What to Expect During a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as probate court or other legal actions you may go through after the unexpected passing of a loved one. It is a form of personal injury litigation with the purpose of holding a party responsible for the death.
Here are a few things you might expect from this type of case:
- Burden of proof. You and your family will bear the burden of proof. You must show that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, and that a breach of this duty is what caused the death. Elements of proof can change depending on the circumstances of the accident.
- Ongoing criminal trial. If the death stemmed from someone’s criminal act, such as intent to harm or kill your loved one, you may file your wrongful death lawsuit at the same time as a pending criminal trial. You can do both at the same time in Arizona. The criminal trial serves to convict the allegedly at-fault party for the crime that caused the death, while the civil trial serves to compensate surviving family members.
- Settlement vs. lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit may or may not go to trial. In most cases, an attorney will try to settle a wrongful death claim outside of the courtroom, during pre-trial motions. However, if the insurance company will not pay a fair amount for the lives their insured has destroyed then it may be necessary to go to trial. If your case does need to go to trial for resolution, you’ll want experienced trial attorneys by your side.
Every wrongful death claim is different. The elements and components of your particular claim are difficult to predict without help from a lawyer. Working with our experienced wrongful death attorneys in Phoenix can give you a better idea of exactly what to expect from your case, as well as how to prepare for pre-trial settlement negotiations and a trial, if applicable.
Your Wrongful Death Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
At Cullan & Cullan, we practice on the notion that no one should have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. We dedicate our careers to helping families in Phoenix and across Arizona recover damages from wrongful death and personal injury claims.
While nothing can erase the emotional distress and grief of losing a loved one, a wrongful death settlement can provide your loved ones with the economic security you need to try to get your life back on track.
When we get calls from families who have lost a loved one due to a senseless tragedy they are in pain. One of the primary reasons they call us is that they want to do what they can to prevent a senseless tragedy from happening to another family. That is our law firm’s goal as well.