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Wrongful Death

Tucson Wrongful Death Lawyer

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When your loved one passes away due to the negligent actions of another, you have the right to seek compensation for your loss. Suppose you are a qualifying family member of the deceased. In that case, you can file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for losses such as funeral, medical, and burial expenses. 

Surviving family members can work with a Tucson wrongful death lawyer to help get justice for the liable party’s actions. You can learn more about how wrongful death cases are treated and where to begin. Contact Wattel and York today for a free consultation.  

What Is Considered Wrongful Death?

Family members can file wrongful death claims when the deceased has died because of the reckless actions of another. This is when the deceased suffered fatal injuries from the person who caused the damages. A wrongful death can happen for various reasons, such as medical malpractice, car accidents, product liability, and more.

How Can a Wrongful Death Happen?

A personal injury that results in wrongful death can happen in any setting. However, the most common reasons are due to the following:

Automobile Accidents

When another driver is the cause of your loved one’s passing, they can be held liable for their injuries. Car accidents can be caused by speeding, ignoring red lights, unsafe lane changes, and more. 

If the other driver was under the influence of drugs, you could be awarded punitive damages for their reckless disregard for the safety of other drivers. Distracted driving is another major cause of accidents due to texting and talking on the phone.

Medical Malpractice

Doctors can be the cause of personal injury because of their negligence. They may misdiagnose their patients, give them the wrong medication, provide them with the wrong dosage of medication, perform the wrong surgery, make mistakes during a surgical procedure, or more. 

Sometimes doctors perform lab tests and don’t take any action, putting your family member’s life at risk. If your loved one’s medical provider is the cause of their death, your Tucson wrongful death attorneys can seek damages in a wrongful death claim.

Product Liability

If your family member passed away because of a product they used, this would fall under the product liability category. This is when they used a product according to its intended use but were injured because of the product’s flawed design. 

Even if it isn’t the fault of the manufacturer and someone tampered with the product before it reached your loved one, you can still seek damages from the company responsible for delivering the products or the warehouse managing their distribution.  

Workplace Accidents Caused By a Third Party or Subcontractor

Family members can pass away due to a personal injury at their job that can’t be blamed on their employer. 

This can be because of malfunctioning equipment, chemical exposure, electrical accidents, falling from distant heights, and other occupational hazards that can result in untimely death. You can work with an attorney to help provide a settlement for wrongful death damages.  

Nursing Homes

It is unfortunate when you trust caretakers to look after your loved one, but they are neglectful in their actions. Nursing homes sometimes cause wrongful death because the staff doesn’t pay attention to their residents’ needs. 

They may also make medical mistakes, such as mixing up prescription medicine, that can have deadly consequences. If you believe this is the case, you can seek the help of a wrongful death lawyer to prove your claim.  

Airplane Accidents

In rare cases, airplanes can cause deadly personal injury, and the number of these incidents is on the rise. If an aircraft crashes and results in your loved one’s passing, it is possible to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit. This is because a fatal crash can be caused by the manufacturing and design of the aircraft.

Who Has the Authority to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tucson?

Although you may be anxious to pursue your wrongful death claim, you must ensure you have the authority to do so. According to Arizona Rev. Stat. § 12-612, only specific parties are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties, in order of authority to file the claim, include:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s surviving children
  • The decedent’s surviving parents or guardians if the deceased is a minor
  • The decedent’s personal representative
  • The personal representative of the decedent’s surviving children, spouse, or parents

Generally, no matter who files the wrongful death claim, damages will be awarded to the decedent’s surviving next of kin and others who were financially dependent on them. If you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility requirements for filing a lawsuit, do not hesitate to contact a Tucson wrongful death attorney to discuss your legal options going forward.

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Tucson Wrongful Death Claims?

If your family is interested in filing a wrongful death or survival action, you must move forward with your claim promptly. 

Although no one wants to be pressured into pursuing a lawsuit before they are ready, unfortunately, the statute of limitations requires you to file your claim in a timely manner. 

Under the law, you have just two years from your loved one’s death to take action. If you fail to meet this deadline, you will lose your right to have your case heard by a judge and jury. 

Fortunately, the sooner you get an Arizona PI working on your case, the sooner we can file your formal lawsuit against the liable party.

What Kind of Damages Can I Seek for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death damages are unique compared to other personal injuries and include more economic and non-economic damages than most personal injury cases. 

For example, in addition to medical bills, lost income, and property damage, surviving family members can also include lost earning capacity, lost future income, funeral expenses, burial costs, and more. 

Non-economic damages don’t only include pain and suffering. Surviving family members can also include loss of consortium, loss of guardianship, loss of valuable services, and many other losses. You can ask your wrongful death attorney to help direct you on what you can include in your total settlement.  

Punitive Damages After a Wrongful Death

Many families wonder whether punitive damages will be awarded in their wrongful death claim. The answer may not always be cut and dry. Punitive damages are typically only awarded to punish defendants for reprehensible, grossly negligent, or intolerable conduct. 

This means you could be awarded punitive damages if the court system determines the defendant should be punished beyond the compensatory damages your family is awarded.

Who Can Receive Tucson Wrongful Death Damages?

The surviving family members of the Tucson wrongful death victim can receive damages if they are an immediate family member. This includes the spouse, legal partner, siblings, children, legal guardians, or any beneficiaries listed. 

If family members can’t agree on how much they receive after a wrongful death case has been settled, they can go through additional legal proceedings to decide how the compensation is meted out.

Tucson Wrongful Death FAQ

The wrongful death claims process can seem overwhelming, especially as you continue to grieve. With that in mind, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding wrongful death actions in Tucson below. 

If you have additional questions we did not cover on this page, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your specific concerns and further detail.

What Is Comparative Negligence? 

A wrongful death attorney will use pure comparative negligence to allow the surviving members the opportunity to recover damages even if the victim is 99% at fault for their personal injury. This means that even 1% of the damages can be claimed in wrongful death cases. 

Is Wrongful Death Taxable?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, any settlement amount you receive because of a wrongful death is not taxable. This is because it  is considered a claim that stems from physical illness or personal injuries.

How is Wrongful Death Proven?

A wrongful death attorney will use evidence surrounding the wrongful death case to prove that the other party’s neglectful actions caused your loved one’s personal injury. 

This means that the attorney will show how the other party owed your family member a duty of care, breached their duty, caused their injuries and that this ultimately resulted in harm. 

Pictures, physical evidence, medical bills, personal accounts of the victim’s pain and suffering, and other evidence can be used to prove this case. Your Tucson wrongful death lawyers may investigate to find out more about how the wrongful death happened. They may work with other professionals, request reports and video footage, and uncover more proof to help support your wrongful death claim.  

What is a Survival Action?

This is a claim that is made along with a wrongful death claim that states that there are additional damages caused by the other party that happened between the time of the personal injury and the death of the victim. 

For example, this can be income loss, pain and suffering, and medical bills. The survival actions remain even though the victim has passed away. 

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Is an Autopsy Required for a Wrongful Death?

An autopsy is not legally required for surviving families to file a wrongful death claim. However, it can definitely help your claim and can be used as supporting evidence to help prove that the other party was the cause of your loved one’s death. 

Autopsies can reveal more information about how they died and what was the direct cause of their death. It can also be included on the death certificate, making the cause of death more accurate. 

Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Typically, you won’t need a wrongful death lawsuit unless the other party is unwilling to cooperate. Suppose your Tucson wrongful death attorneys provide undeniable proof that a personal injury caused your family member’s death, but the other party won’t negotiate a reasonable settlement. In that case, you should file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

This is when you take your claim to court, and a judge considers all of the information presented by your Tucson wrongful death lawyers. Once the judge has made a decision in your favor, then the settlement is legally enforceable and must be paid by the other party.

Get Help From a Tucson Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

The wrongful death claims process is often intimidating. You should be able to focus on mourning the loss of your loved one without having to worry about the legalities. 

A compassionate Tucson wrongful death lawyer at Wattel & York can help your family through these difficult times and guide you as you fight for justice. Please contact us or call our office to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today.

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