Wrongful Death Attorney in the Greater Phoenix Area
Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death cases are highly emotional and complicated. Hiring a WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY at BUDGE LAW FIRM will help you to navigate through the complicated legal process. We have years of experience and knowledge in dealing with these types of cases, and will help you to alleviate the stress that comes from being involved in a wrongful death case.
In order to bring a successful wrongful death cause of action, the following elements must be present:
- The death of a human being;
- Caused by another’s negligence, or with intent to cause harm;
- The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death, and;
- The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
A wrongful death claim may arise out of a number of circumstances, such as in the following situations:
- Medical malpractice that results in decedent’s death;
- Automobile or airplane accident;
- Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances;
- Criminal behavior;
- Death during a supervised activity.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Pecuniary, or financial, injury is the main measure of damages in a wrongful death action. Courts have interpreted “pecuniary injuries” as including the loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses. Most laws provide that the damages awarded for a wrongful death shall be fair and just compensation for the pecuniary injuries that resulted from the decedent’s death. If the distributees paid or are responsible for the decedent’s funeral or medical care, they may also recover those expenses. Finally, a damage award will include interest from the date of the decedent’s death.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Case
- The surviving family members have two years from the date of death to either settle the case or file a lawsuit within the proper court or they will lose the ability to recover. A.R.S. §12-542.