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Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Lawyer Phoenix

Photo of a woman in grief

The tragic and unexpected death of someone you love can be devastating. In many cases, you cannot grieve and honor the memory of the deceased because you and other family members must take care of the financial obligations associated with this tragic death. 

You may be facing medical and funeral expenses and maybe feeling the shortage of funds by the financial loss of this person’s support with which the family can no longer count on. In the middle of all this upheaval and emotional pain, you may have to decide to hire legal representation to help you fight for your loved one’s rights as well as your own and that of the surviving family members affected by this death. 

Working with a wrongful death attorney in Phoenix will guide you in your legal options and help you understand if you are eligible to recover monetary compensation by bringing a wrongful death claim against the party whose negligent actions resulted in this death.

At Wattel and York, your Phoenix wrongful death lawyer has the necessary tools and knowledge to help you navigate through the complicated legal system so that you can obtain the desired results. We will not stop fighting until we can recover the compensation you deserve. 

Set up an initial consultation today to allow us to listen to your story and give you a no-obligation case evaluation. You deserve to have peace of mind at this time while your lawyer does the legal fighting to protect your rights.

Filing a Claim for Wrongful Death

When a loved one dies in an accident or as a result of one, it may be confusing for the surviving family members to understand how to seek compensation for the death. As a surviving relative, you know you have had to deal with many expenses, not to mention the funeral itself. 

You may also need continued financial support if the person who died provided for the family. That is why the law allows for a close loved one or a representative of the victim’s estate to bring a claim against whoever is responsible for the accident and subsequent death. 

The surviving family members can be the spouse, children, and other dependents. It is up to them to decide how the damages awarded in the lawsuit will be divided when they recover compensation. Should the relationship between these relatives be too strained, it may be up to the court to make this decision.

What does wrongful death mean?

When someone loses their life due to someone else’s negligence, certain surviving family members and loved ones are entitled to take legal action. This can be against another individual, a corporation, or another entity. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions that allow you to recover compensation from the party at fault and their insurance provider.

The purpose of seeking this compensation through wrongful death claims is to help families deal with a series of unanticipated emotional and financial effects they have come to experience due to having lost their loved one. In some cases, the plaintiffs may also seek punitive damages. 

Punitive damages are meant to punish the parties who are liable for their horrific acts of negligence and help ensure that acts similar to this one do not occur again in the future.

Common Causes for Wrongful Death  

You are entitled to pursue compensation for various damages after you have suffered the death of a loved one due to another party’s negligence. Among the most common causes for wrongful death claims you can find:

Common Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

It is common for several different types of damages to be sought in a wrongful death claim. Among them:

  • Medical expenses, medical bills, and other healthcare costs
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost contributions to spousal or child support
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of household
  • Loss of prospective training and education
  • Loss of the guidance, comfort, and care that would have been provided by the deceased, had they lived
  • Pain and suffering

Determining Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

In personal injury cases, damages are awarded based on the impact the injuries or death may have on the affected party. This means that in wrongful death cases, damages aim to compensate the surviving relatives for the victim’s loss on their financial and emotional well-being. 

It is common for plaintiffs in wrongful death claims to be awarded compensatory damages that may cover the cost of the medical care that the victim received after the accident, their burial and funeral expenses, and other costs that the surviving relatives may have had to pay due to their loved one’s death.

The court takes into account the income the victim might have earned had they lived. To come up with an accurate number, lost income is calculated based on the age of the person who died at the time of death. Also, their life expectancy and earnings potential are added to the calculations. 

Other compensatory damages may be awarded in wrongful death actions, such as the value of the deceased’s contribution to their household’s housekeeping or childcare services.

Additionally, non-economic damages such as grief, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and others may be awarded to family members, especially if the defendant’s reckless or egregiously negligent behavior resulted in the victim’s untimely death. Some cases also result in punitive damages awarded to the plaintiff at the discretion of the court.

Average Wrongful Death Settlements

If you have a legal claim and are considering hiring legal representation to bring the claim, having information regarding the average settlement in these cases can help you understand what to expect going forward. 

Still, it is also essential to know that every wrongful death is unique, and it is impossible to accurately guess how much you will be awarded in the end. However, it is common for settlements to range between $500,000 and $1 million, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.

Time to File Wrongful Death Claims

In Arizona, the victim’s estate or a family member has two years from the day of the death of wrongful death victims to file a wrongful death suit in the civil claim court system. Reach out to the wrongful death attorneys at Wattel and York as soon as possible to give your lawyer plenty of time to conduct a thorough investigation into the fatal accident and build a solid case on your behalf to fight for financial compensation. Set up an initial consultation today to talk about your case.

Our personal injury attorneys will do whatever it takes to recover the compensation to which you are entitled, giving you and your loved ones the peace of mind you need while you grieve.

Proving Wrongful Death

For a wrongful death claim to move forward, it is crucial to be able to prove that negligence was present and that it played a role in the ultimate death of your loved one. However, in many personal injury cases, proving negligence after the death of a loved one can be complex and challenging. 

If there is no clear liability, your wrongful death lawyer can help make sure that all the facts of the case are thoroughly investigated. In wrongful death cases, negligence is established when your Phoenix wrongful death lawyer can help you prove that:

  • The victim’s death was caused by the defendant or their actions or lack of action that contributed to the death.
  • The accidental death happened as a direct result of the negligence displayed by the defendant or by their wrongdoing.
  • The family members, survivors, or dependents of the person who died have been affected financially by this wrongful death action, dealing with medical bills and countless other expenses.
  • This death resulted in expenses or other monetary damages for which you are seeking financial compensation.

Difference Between Wrongful Death and Murder

While a murder case is filed in criminal court, a wrongful death claim goes through civil courts. In criminal cases such as murder, when the defendant is found guilty, they are punished for committing this crime with jail time. In civil cases, on the other hand, the defendant is found to be liable and is held financially responsible for the victim’s death. 

In murder cases, the burden of proving guilt falls upon the prosecution, while in wrongful death cases, the burden to prove liability falls on the plaintiff. 

Finally, in murder cases, the jury will look at the defendant’s intent to commit the crime. In contrast, in wrongful death cases, the jurors determine whether there was negligence on the defendant’s part and if this negligence caused the decedent’s injuries in the fatal accident. 

If you have any questions regarding the differences between a murder and a wrongful death case, your Phoenix wrongful death attorney will clarify them for you before filing your personal injury claim.

We Will Help You Get a Fair Wrongful Death Settlement

Several steps need to be taken to ensure that you will get a fair settlement. Your Wattel and York lawyer will start by ensuring that you have the standing to file the case and that the case is filed in the right court. Also, the written documents prepared by your attorneys are crucial. They have to comply with the law and correctly and accurately state the legal basis of the claim.

Determining the Value of Your Case

Your personal injury lawyer will help you determine the value of your case and the types of compensation you can claim. These figures will be calculated after your personal injury attorney thoroughly investigates and gathers important documents to back up your claim. We know that the stronger we build your claim, the stronger your position will be when it comes to receiving compensation and when the time comes to negotiate your settlement.

Working with an Expert Negotiator

We cannot stress enough the value of having an expert negotiator by your side. Negotiating a fair settlement is an acquired skill that takes practice and patience. We have the experience to know when the best option is to accept an agreement with the other party and when the time has come to move your case forward and take it to court.

At Wattel and York, we understand clearly how difficult it is to lose a loved one unexpectedly and under dreadful circumstances through a wrongful act. Our wrongful death law team knows that you and your loved ones are going through a difficult time and facing a string of challenges. That is why our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers are committed to providing you with the caring and compassionate legal help and guidance you require.

You Can Rely on Our Experience

Our wrongful death lawyers have resolved hundreds of wrongful death suits and are familiar with the steps needed to fight for your rights through a wrongful death action effectively. Our experienced wrongful death attorney offers a free initial consultation with contingent fees on your wrongful death case. This way, you will never have any upfront out-of-pocket expenses while waiting for your wrongful death settlement. Call us today and get that heavy weight off your shoulders.

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“Amazing people, they had my claim for about a week before they were able to get my truck totaled out. Otherwise I would have been stuck with a truck that had heavy front end damage if they hadn’t stepped in to help me. I tried to deal with my insurance company myself for over a month and that got me nowhere, all I got was a massive headache and a messed up truck. They are very professional and act quickly on your claim. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for help.”

Candy J.


“I was in an accident and decided to call Wattel and York. After months of going to a Chiropractor, I finally felt better. When it came time for settlement, the insurance company was making an offer I wanted to accept, Mr. Wattel advised against it and felt the insurance company was shortchanging me. He recommended I file a lawsuit and that will get them to cave. Well, Dave filed suit, and sure enough, the insurance company increased their offer by $4,000! I am very satisfied with how my case was handled.”

Nardeasha S.


“Wattel & York were flat out outstanding with my personal injury case. They made the process painless and kept in constant communication throughout the entire time. Any questions I might’ve had were promptly answered and detail oriented. They gave me crucial advice that I would’ve otherwise not been aware of. I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Put your trust in these guys, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks Wattel & York.”

Mattew P.


“Thank you so much for all your hard work on our behalf! Thinking I could handle it on my own, I was originally reluctant to take my accident claim to an attorney. But I am SO glad I called you instead. Your people were always helpful, pleasant and responsive at every step along the way. You represented us with honesty and integrity and made a traumatic experience as painless as it could be. And best of all, you helped us get a settlement that was fair and far more than I could ever have negotiated on my own! I highly recommend Wattel &York to anyone who has suffered a personal injury.”

Cathy M.

“I was the passenger in a vehicle that was 'T- Boned' at an intersection in 2014. The issues of responsibility and recovery became a difficult and convoluted confusion. I really needed help. This Team at Wattel and York walked me patiently and encouragingly through difficult months, sorting through issues and finally arriving at a satisfactory conclusion. I especially want to name two great and encouraging "warriors" of Wattel and York who directed me along the way..Brian Torba and Melissa Patterson..to them and the whole team I say "Thank You" with heart felt gratitude. Sincerely, God Bless You.”

Robert G.

“Honesty. Integrity. Transparency. Partnership. Wattel & York brought all of these qualities and more to my accident case. I'd love to thank all of the team members who helped me with the process: David Guzman, who conducted the initial interview in my home, Aly Shomar-Esparza, who seamlessly guided me through paperwork and filings, Debbie Harrach, who conducted final review, paperwork revisions and scheduling, and Thomas Grisoni, who counseled me before and attended my deposition. I never felt alone during the arduous process and always knew there was a professional team looking out for my best interest. I highly recommend Wattel & York if you are unfortunately involved in an accident that was not your fault.”

Russ W.

“I was a passenger in a car that got t-boned a few years ago and got a huge gash. I didn't know a lot about lawyers, so I basically just picked one on the flip of a coin. I called Wattel and York and they explained everything, I went into the office and filled out paperwork. Got treatment on my gash over the time I worked with them, glad I did as it opened back up a couple times and bled. They did really good, got me the maximum amount of money, and made sure I was well taken care of. I was updated from time to time so that was good. The only thing I might change is I never got to thank or talk to my lawyer. I think it was because I was already used to dealing with the lady at their Glendale office so they just kept her as my point of contact. So it's okay, I'll thank them with a good review. The last thing I could say about them is months after I thought my case was over they called me and said they had another check for me for a few hundred dollars. Apparently, they negotiated with the hospital I went to after the accident. It was a nice surprise and shows they really had my interests in mind.”

Trent B.

“Wattel & York has been great for me in the past few years. I was involved in a really bad accident while I was on Active Duty in Yuma, Arizona and they have been patient with me every step of the way through a very long process. I would recommend them to anyone thank you for all your help.”

Levy G.

“Appreciate David taking the time to speak with me. He was most kind. From the front line with the receptionist, to him, the firm was a class act all the way around.”

Claire B.

“Dave Wattel represented me and my son on a Personal Injury case from a motor vehicle accident back in 2009. Jake P. handled my deposition and Dave did the Quarterbacking. The insurance company hired NFL referee Ed Hochuli's firm to try and deny our claim. But Wattel & York made it look as easy as Tom Brady on the football field. The result was more than acceptable and my son and I were compensated for our injuries and rehabilitation. Dave Wattel cares about his clients. If I ever find myself in a situation like this again, Wattel & York will be on speed dial!!”

Vince C.

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