Phoenix, Arizona Wrongful Death Lawyers
Call our dedicated team of Arizona wrongful death lawyers now at 480-272-8700 for a FREE case evaluation.
We can help you get justice for the loss of your loved ones.
Losing someone you love is devastating, especially when it happens suddenly or unexpectedly because of someone else’s negligence, mistake, or wrongdoing. Whether or not criminal charges apply in your case, you can file a civil lawsuit to hold the person responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their actions.
Justice in wrongful death cases usually involves compensating the victim’s surviving family for the loss. While financial compensation cannot make up for losing a loved one, it can help support you through this difficult time. A wrongful death lawsuit puts responsibility where it belongs, offers financial security, and can help you rebuild your life after a significant loss.
At SGP Law, our dedicated team of wrongful death attorneys supports our clients through the legal process so that you can focus on your healing process. Our family-owned law firm works on a contingency fee basis, so we’re as invested in your case as you are. Contact us or call us at (480) 272-8700 to schedule your free consultation now.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In our everyday lives, we all owe a certain standard of care to each other. This standard is usually what a reasonable person would expect – and considering the circumstances, the standard could change. For example, a surgeon owes a much higher standard of care to their patient than you might to a stranger you walk by on the street. As a driver, your standard of care to everyone else on the road involves obeying traffic rules.
When people fail to take the proper standard of care, other people can get hurt – even if they don’t mean for that to happen. This is called negligence or, in severe cases, recklessness. When someone dies as a result of negligent or reckless behavior, that is wrongful death. A wrongful death could have been prevented if the person responsible had behaved properly.
Even if the perpetrator never intended to harm anyone, they’re still legally responsible for the consequences of their actions. A wrongful death lawsuit holds the perpetrator accountable for the harm they’ve caused by compensating the victim’s surviving family members.
Common Examples of Wrongful Death
Although we can take steps to reduce the likelihood of getting hurt, we can only do so much when it comes to other people’s carelessness. Accidents can strike when we least expect them.
The most common causes of wrongful death in Arizona involve:
- Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents– Even after following traffic rules and practicing defensive driving, you cannot control everything on the road, especially other people’s behavior. Traffic accidents happen all the time because people drive recklessly, speed, fail to signal or turn on their lights, or simply look at their phones at the wrong moment. A fatal accident could throw your family’s life upside down.
- Bicycling and pedestrian accidents – Bicyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road, with no windows or car doors to protect them from other much larger, much faster vehicles. Arizona had one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates for 2021 out of any state, at 3.27 deaths per 100,000 people.
- Defective products – Every day, you rely on products to work correctly, whether they’re household appliances or life-saving technology that helps you stay healthy and well. When products malfunction because of defects, the results could be catastrophic. In worst-case scenarios, companies may try to hide defects rather than taking responsibility and recalling products, putting even more consumers’ lives at risk.
- Medical malpractice – Doctors, physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care because of their extensive training and the high-risk nature of their roles. When health workers disregard their training or fail to follow the proper procedures, innocent people could get hurt or killed.
- Nursing home abuse – Elderly patients and those who cannot advocate for themselves are at especially high risk of neglect or abuse at nursing homes and caretaking facilities. You may have concerns if your family member passed away under circumstances where their health or behavior suddenly or inexplicably took a turn for the worse.
- Slips and falls – Property owners and managers must keep areas safe for visitors, customers, and even some trespassers. Dangerous conditions around the property should either be fixed or made inaccessible to the public with a warning.
- Swimming pool, ATV, and boat accidents – Arizonans love getting outside, but popular recreational activities can go horribly wrong if other participants are reckless or providers fail to properly maintain and service their facilities or vehicles.
- Workplace injuries – You could sue for wrongful death if your loved one suffered a fatal injury at work because their employer or another workplace contractor acted negligently or recklessly or failed to follow proper safety procedures.
Processing the unexpected death of a loved one is hard as it is. Processing the fact that your loved one’s death could have been prevented is another challenge entirely, with a heavy emotional toll. This is especially if you suspect wrongful death but you don’t know for sure or if the responsible party is making it hard to find out exactly what happened.
At AZ Injury, our experienced team of lawyers takes on the burden of proving your wrongful death case so that you can focus on your family and recovery. When it comes to justice for your loved ones, we’re right there with you, leading the charge.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona?
In Arizona, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are a surviving child, spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, or a personal representative for a qualifying family member. If the victim has no surviving family members, the right to sue falls to the victim’s estate or heirs.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Arizona’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is 2 years from the date of death. Because this is such a short time limit, you want to get started and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Once the statute of limitations runs out, you can no longer file a claim.
How Does Liability Work in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Liability means legal responsibility or fault. If someone is legally responsible for another person’s death, then they are also legally responsible for “making the victim whole” as much as possible. Usually, this involves compensating the surviving family members for their losses – that includes both economical and emotional losses. This is called damages.
Wrongful death cases in Arizona cover the following types of damages:
- Any economic losses or physical or emotional pain suffered by the victim between the time they were first injured by the negligent act until they passed away – this includes medical expenses and lost wages if the victim was unable to work.
- Economic losses suffered by the surviving family – including funeral costs and the amount of income the victim would have earned over their lifetime or retirement.
- Emotional losses suffered by the surviving family – to compensate them for being deprived of the companionship, love, support, mentorship, or care of the victim.
In addition, Arizona courts allow juries to give surviving family members punitive damages in rare cases where the responsible party acted with extreme recklessness or disregard for human life. For example, you might get punitive damages if a company knew their product was defective but tried to cover it up instead of protecting their customers with a recall, or if a driver caused a high-speed crash with a blood alcohol level that’s double the legal limit.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
Similar to personal injury cases, the most important thing in a wrongful death case is evidence. The stronger your evidence, the stronger your case, and the stronger your negotiating power.
Is it hard to prove wrongful death? Not to an experienced lawyer who knows what to look for. At SGP Law, we’ll help you gather the evidence you need to prove that:
- The person responsible for your loved one’s death had a certain standard of care that they failed to take (for example, your loved one was a patient at a nursing home where the staff failed to give them their medications), and
- Their negligence or recklessness actually caused the victim’s death (for example, failing to give the victim their medications led to them having a fatal stroke).
Every wrongful death case is different because the circumstances are undeniably personal. When it comes to finding proof, we’ll comb through all the facts and track down any records we can find related to your loved one’s death – such as medical records, work records, product design schematics, expert testimony, eyewitness testimony, dashcam or traffic camera footage, security video footage, photos, or text communications.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Your Case
A good lawyer’s expertise is incredibly valuable in a wrongful death case. An experienced attorney can not only raise your chances of a successful resolution but also negotiate a higher settlement agreement and shield you from the greatest stresses of the case.
Because life is so precious, wrongful death cases have a lot at stake. The legal process is complex and finding evidence can get complicated. Our supportive and compassionate legal team is here to guide you through this difficult time and present the strongest case on your behalf. Call our Mesa, Arizona office at (480) 272-8700 or contact us now to get started.
How Can We Help?
Address - By Appointment Only
1640 S. Stapely, Drive Suite 132
Mesa, Arizona 85204
Two N. Central Ave., Ste. 1800
Phoenix, AZ 85004