Wrongful Death

How Do I Know if I Have a Wrongful Death Case?

Photo of Mourners at a Funeral Home

A wrongful death case is a civil claim, similar to a personal injury lawsuit, but following the death of a victim. Family members are allowed to recover compensation for damages incurred by losing a loved one. Each state has its own set of rules that apply to wrongful death claims, specifically regarding who is eligible to file a case. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, the following parties are allowed to file a wrongful death case:

  • A surviving spouse
  • A surviving child
  • A surviving parent or guardian
  • The personal representative of one of the above
  • The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate

Determining Whether You Have a Wrongful Death Case

The factors below can help you determine if you may be able to file a wrongful death claim in Arizona.

  • Was someone killed in an accident? Of course, the first element for a wrongful death claim is that someone was killed in an accident.
  • Was negligence responsible for the person’s death? Next, it will have to be shown that negligence was directly responsible for the death.
  • Was a duty of care owed to the victim? In order to show that negligence existed, it must be proven that a duty of care was owed to the victim—a legal obligation to act in a reasonable, responsible manner. As an example, all drivers have a duty of care to others to drive in a reasonable, responsible manner, obeying all traffic laws.
  • Was there a breach of duty? The defendant (the negligent person or entity) must have breached their duty of care, meaning they failed to act in a reasonable, responsible manner.
  • Did the breach of duty result in death? Next, it must be shown that this specific breach of duty of care led directly to the death of the victim.Suppose a driver failed to act responsibly by running a stoplight. The driver collided with another vehicle because of this failure to act responsibly. If a person in the other vehicle then died, then it can be shown that the negligent actions of the driver directly led to the victim’s fatal injuries.
  • Did the death cause family members to suffer losses? Finally, in order to file a wrongful death claim, it must be shown that the death resulting from negligence caused family members or the estate to suffer losses. Those losses could come in the form of funeral expenses, future lost wages, medical expenses (if the person was in the hospital or under medical care prior to his or her death), and loss of care, comfort, guidance, companionship and advice from the decedent.

Contact Our Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyers

At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers can help you and your family if negligent or reckless actions led to the death of a loved one.

Your family should not have to suffer unnecessary financial expenses because of another person’s negligence. Contact us today at (602)648-4045 for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case. We are here when you need us the most – and we will fight for you every step of the way.

Additional Reading:

Distracted Driving Kills: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Pedestrian Deaths are on the Rise