Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney
When you lose a loved one in an accident, you’re faced with several dilemmas. 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 for remaining medical bills?
At Cullan and Cullan , we believe you shouldn’t have to worry about issues like these. Your main concern should be beginning the healing process surrounded by family. We’re committed to providing you the tools to do just that. Visit our Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on how we can help you.
What Is “Wrongful Death” in Arizona?
Surviving members of an accident victim’s family 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 from any type of accident: car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, or even defective products. Anyone can be at fault in a wrongful death claim, from individuals to companies and even the government.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Arizona?
Arizona law dictates that you must be related to the deceased in some way to receive a claim. The following parties may be eligible:
- Immediate members of family, including spouses, parents, and children.
- Financial dependents and life partners may also be eligible, as long as they depend on the deceased’s income
- At times, extended family members can file a wrongful death suit (grandparents and siblings sometimes file, particularly if they’re caring for the deceased’s children)
What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Suit?
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, class action suits involving companies often include punitive damages when a company knowingly commits negligence.
Speak with an attorney to learn more about your specific options.
When Can I File?
Arizona sets time limits for filing a wrongful death suit in Phoenix. In our state, the statute of limitations is only two years. If you try to file a suit after this time frame, the courts will refuse to consider it altogether.
It’s important to note, however, that the statute of limitations starts with the date of misconduct that led to the wrongful death. To maximize your chances of recovering damages in a suit, schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
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 a 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 can settle a wrongful death claim outside of the courtroom, during pre-trial motions. If your case does need to go to trial for resolution, you’ll want experienced trial attorneys by yours 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 claims attorneys 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.
Wrongful Death Claims: Frequently Asked Questions
A life cut short can completely shatter your world. It can be difficult to know what to do or where to turn after this type of tragedy. You probably have many questions during this difficult time regarding your family’s legal rights and options. Here are a few general FAQs and answers we receive from our wrongful death clients at Cullan & Cullan:
- How expensive is it? At Cullan & Cullan, we take wrongful death claims on a contingency-fee basis. This means you won’t pay anything to bring your claim unless we win financial compensation for your family. Then, we’ll take our attorney’s fees in the form of a previously agreed-upon percentage of the recovery.
- Is it worth the hassle? With the right lawyer, a claim doesn’t have to feel like a hassle. Even so, the recovery can be well worth the steps it takes to get there. Your family could receive justice for your loved one’s death, as well as money to secure the future for a spouse or children left behind.
- How long will it take? Every case is unique, but Cullan & Cullan strive to resolve wrongful death claims in a timely manner. We make every claim a top priority, and move through the legal system with efficiency to avoid unnecessary delays.
When your family brings a wrongful death lawsuit in the Phoenix courts, you are seeking justice and compensation for a death that should have been prevented. For more information and answers to your specific questions, contact our local firm.
Your Wrongful Death Attorney in Phoenix
At Cullan and 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 Phoenix area families 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 means to move on.
Your settlement begins with a free initial consultation. Let us review your case to see if we have the legal grounds for a wrongful death suit. If so, we’ll take it on a contingency-fee basis. Contact us to schedule your case evaluation today.