Arizona Wrongful Death Laws
While accidents may happen all the time, if a person’s life is cut short due to the negligence of another person, the law provides for legal remedies in the form of a “wrongful death” claim. Like all states, Arizona has enacted specific laws that address wrongful death claims. These laws set forth liability for a wrongful death, who has the right to file a wrongful death claim, and the damages that may be recovered under such a claim.
Liability for a Wrongful Death
Section 12-611 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) provides that when a person’s death is due to a “wrongful act, neglect or default,” a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if the deceased individual would have been entitled to recover damages based on the “wrongful act, neglect or default” that caused his or her death. Put simply, because the injured party is no longer alive, certain survivors have the right to recover damages by initiating a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Action?
Under A.R.S. Section 12-612, the following parties are permitted to file a legal action for a wrongful death:
- The surviving husband or wife
- Any surviving children
- A surviving parent or guardian
- The personal representative of the deceased person for and on the behalf of the surviving spouse, children or parents
- A personal representative on behalf of the deceased person’s estate (if none of the above survive)
Arizona law further provides that either parent can bring a legal action for the death of their child, and a guardian can bring an action for the death of the guardian’s ward.
What Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action?
A.R.S. Section 12-613 addresses how damages are to be awarded in action for wrongful death. The language in the statute is very broad and provides that the jury shall award the surviving parties “such damages as it deems fair and just” taking into account the “mitigating or aggravating circumstance attending the wrongful act, neglect or default.”
In a wrongful death lawsuit, two categories of damages can be awarded:
- Damages to compensate the surviving family members for the loss of their loved one. These damages are generally paid directly to the decedent’s family members and include compensation for pain and suffering and loss of companionship, care, comfort and guidance.
- Damages to compensate losses to the deceased person’s estate. These damages are typically paid to the decedent’s estate and include such items as funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, lost wages and benefits the decedent would have earned, damages to the decedent’s property and other losses.
Discuss Your Case with a Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost someone you love and are considering filing a wrongful death action, the legal team at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. is here to help. The laws addressing these types of legal actions are complicated and are best handled by an experienced Phoenix wrongful death lawyer. Our law firm offers free consultations where we will answer your questions and help you determine the best path to take to recover the legal damages you may be entitled to. You can also learn more about how we handle wrongful death cases by reviewing the following pages on our site: