Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer
The loss of a loved one is devastating. Both the financial burden and emotional trauma can impact every area of your life. If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
If you decide to pursue compensation after the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawyer can help guide you through the entire legal process. While a large settlement will not make up for your painful loss, it can offer some sense of justice.
Wrongful Death Facts
- While wrongful death cases are strongly related to personal injury cases, there are some important ways in which these types of cases differ.
- A common reason for filing a personal injury claim is an intentional act of death. However, an unintentional act can also lead to a wrongful death ruling if the defendant acts recklessly in a manner that would knowingly cause an injury.
- Some wrongful death cases will go to court, however, many cases are settled out of court. This means that the plaintiff will receive compensation without a lengthy trial. Many wrongful death attorneys will seek a settlement before they attempt to bring the case to court.
- Even if the deceased made regular payments to their life insurance company, your claim might not be accepted depending on the cause of death. An insurance company may not compensate you as much as a court ruling.
Wrongful death can occur in a number of circumstances. Each year, over 90,000 deaths occur due to medical malpractice alone. This does not include many other causes of wrongful death. The statistics below show a glimpse into the causes and incidences of wrongful death.
Motor Vehicle Fatalities
According to the CDC, in 2005, there were 45,343 motor vehicle fatalities. This makes motor vehicle accidents the leading cause of death in unintentional accidents. 5,212 of these deaths involved truck accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2002, there were 17,419 DUI-related fatalities.
As I mentioned earlier, medical malpractice, including substandard care, surgical errors, failure to diagnose, or misdiagnosis causes an estimated 90,000 American deaths each year. The Institute of Medicine reported that one in five medical errors are fatal or potentially serious. The medical malpractice attorneys in phoenix area are the specialized to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
According to the CDC, in 2005 there were 19,656 slip and fall fatalities. Causes included the use of unapproved ladders and other types of equipment, unguarded stairways, poorly lit walking areas, and slippery, obstructed walking areas.
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that there were 5,840 fatalities that resulted from workplace accidents. Accidents included falls, contact with equipment or objects, violent acts, exposure to harmful substances, and traffic incidents.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can occur because of a medical mistake or because of sudden impact. Each year, more than 50,000 people die due to TBIs.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases will have detailed knowledge of the legal process that’s involved. Their expertise in this area will be invaluable to your case. She or he has in-depth knowledge of the rules surrounding wrongful death laws in Phoenix, Arizona, and what elements are needed to build a strong case.
Hiring Legal Representation Can Save You Time
This type of case can be very time consuming, even more so if you try to navigate this process alone. Because you don’t possess the experience and knowledge that a lawyer does, it can take you significantly longer to gather evidence and file paperwork, especially if you make mistakes along the way.
Wrongful death claims can be very complicated. As with any case, you will be expected to file important documentation to support your case. Figuring out all the details and learning as you go can take a significant amount of time. An attorney will know exactly what must be done and how to do it. They will handle all of these tasks, which will free up your time to spend with your family members as you heal from this devastating situation.
An attorney will also know how to properly value a claim. They will evaluate your situation to assess all the different ways the loss of a loved one has impacted you and your family, allowing them to pursue proper compensation for all of your losses.
When a lawyer values a claim, all aspects will be considered, such as pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and funeral expenses.
Support When You Need it the Most
A lawyer can also be a great source of support for you and your family as you grieve the tragic loss of your loved one.
Additionally, by handling all the big and small details of the case, your lawyer will relieve you of a tremendous burden, allowing you to begin the healing process with limited disruptions.
Taking Your Case to Trial
Even if some attorneys call themselves trial lawyers, that doesn’t mean they spend most of their time in the courtroom. You want an attorney who is as comfortable litigating as they are negotiating with insurance companies.
Not all cases will go to trial as some parties may decide to settle. If a case does go to trial, then you need an experienced injury lawyer Phoenix who knows how to handle juries, judges, and someone with strong litigation skills. This is the type of attorney that will help you obtain the maximum compensation you need.
Wrongful Death Accidents
Many types of incidents that result in death due to negligence can warrant a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are several types of accidents that wrongful death attorneys commonly handle.
- Defective product accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Phoenix?
States laws govern who can file a wrongful death claim. In Arizona, parents, children, and the surviving spouse can seek compensation.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
A family member must have evidence that their loved one’s cause of death was the result of intentional actions or negligence, to bring a claim for wrongful death.
In a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, a variety of personal injury damages are possible. While certain award amounts can fluctuate, based on each case’s unique circumstances, damages are often divided depending on whether they compensate the deceased person’s estate for any losses or the deceased’s surviving family members for the losses they have suffered due to the death of their loved one.
These losses can include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Lost income, including the loss of future income that the deceased would have been predicted to earn
- Lost prospect of inheritance
- Loss of guidance, emotional support, companionship, and love
- Value of other household contributions
Insurance companies and other parties involved will do everything they can to force the family to settle their claim for the lowest amount possible. Insurance companies don’t want to risk a lawyer getting involved.
An insurer will make a lowball offer when the family is at their most vulnerable, hoping that they will settle as fast as possible, without taking into consideration the full value of their claim.
A Phoenix wrongful death attorney can ensure that the deceased’s family members are heard. They will take over dealing with the insurance company on the family’s behalf, handling all communication so the family can focus on moving forward.
Attorneys will also investigate the circumstances that surround the death of a loved one, obtaining witness testimony and evidence.
Statute of Limitations
In Phoenix, Arizona, a family must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of a loved one’s death. By hiring an attorney, a family can ensure they don’t miss their chance to recover the compensation that they’re owed.
Wrongful Death Claims
In Phoenix, to succeed with a wrongful death case, the following components must be proven:
- Death occurred
- The deceased’s surviving family members have suffered financial loss as the result of the death
- The surviving family members and their attorney must prove that the death of a loved one was caused by negligent actions, carelessness, or recklessness.
It must also be proven that the defendant owed a duty to the deceased. For example, a driver must maintain a duty of care to obey and follow traffic laws and drive safely. A doctor must maintain a duty of care and provide their patients with the proper treatments. It’s up to the family member’s attorney to establish how a defendant’s duty existed and how that duty was breached through negligent actions.
In addition to proving the breach of duty, the lawyer must also prove how the accused party caused the death of a loved one.
To prove these points in court in a wrongful death claim, the lawyer must provide witness testimony and convincing evidence.
Burden of Proof
Since this type of lawsuit is not a criminal case, but a civil action, the burden of proof will be set much lower. As opposed to the standard set of evidence in a criminal case, which requires the jury or judge to determine the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in a wrongful death case, it must be won on a preponderance of the evidence.
A civil action in this type of case will entail a number of steps including researching tort law, meeting witnesses, speaking with experts, investigating the claim, and developing a strategy.
The quantity of evidence does not matter as much as the quality and credibility of the evidence. Because of this, it’s crucial that the surviving family members hire an experienced lawyer that can build a solid case, ensuring that the burden of proof is met.
Choosing an attorney is an essential component in a wrongful death case. The reputation and confidence of the lawyer in handling this type of case will improve the odds of receiving a proper award at trial or a large settlement.
Since this type of case can be very complex, hiring an attorney with experience will be important. A successful attorney will communicate with their client, working to achieve a common goal, which is to obtain adequate compensation. A skilled attorney will protect their client’s rights while providing proper representation by building a case that will prove causation, negligence, and a breach of duty.
How to Protect Your Case
A wrongful death lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind after losing a loved one. Instead, you’re dealing with the financial and emotional impact of your loss, while trying to navigate your family’s new reality. You keep putting off meeting with a lawyer but delaying a lawsuit can end up hurting your case. However, filing a claim as soon as possible can be crucial to your future, especially if the deceased contributed financially to your household.
- Doing a little research and learning more about state laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits can be a good start. In Arizona, there are strict procedures and rules that apply to a wrongful death claim, including who can file a lawsuit and how long you have to do it.
- Don’t discuss anything with the defendant’s attorney or insurance company. An insurance company will record your conversation and try to get you to make mistakes. Avoid talking to an insurance company if at all possible. Hiring an attorney can help immensely in this department since they will handle all communication.
- Do not post about filing a lawsuit or the details of your lawsuit on social media. This can be difficult to abstain from, especially as you grieve, but the defendant’s attorney and their insurance company will search your social media looking for information.
- Hire a wrongful death lawyer. Hiring an attorney is an important step and one that can have a major positive impact on your case. They can also prevent you from making any mistakes when filing paperwork and can help guide you through the entire legal process.
Finding the Right Wrongful Death Attorney in Phoenix
There are many wrongful death attorneys out there, and it’s important to know how to find one with experience, someone that’s qualified to handle your case.
Do They Have the Resources to Handle Your Claim?
Pursuing this type of claim can be costly. From hiring expert witnesses to gathering evidence, the expenses can mount quickly. A qualified attorney will need the resources to cover those expenses. A lawyer with a good reputation and a track record in wrongful death claims will most likely have the resources to prepare and litigate your claim.
Choosing an attorney with experience will increase your chances of winning your case. The attorney you hire should have the proper knowledge to litigate your case and thoroughly prepare it.
Be sure you choose a lawyer who can offer you the individual attention your case deserves. Attorneys with a large caseload often don’t have the time to respond to calls and emails promptly.
Seek out a lawyer who has a reputation for achieving the maximum recovery for his or her clients. In some cases, the defendant in a wrongful death case will be a corporation and insurance companies are usually involved. Usually, these cases are defended by highly skilled attorneys who work hard at preventing their clients from having to pay a high award, or they can significantly minimize what their clients do have to pay.
A wrongful death lawyer with a history of securing impressive results for clients against these types of lawyers is the type of attorney you want on your side.
Meet with an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney
After a loved one dies, moving forward with your life may seem impossible. Their loss can be felt in many aspects of your life, especially if they contributed financially to your household. The weight of both the emotional pain and financial burden can be overwhelming. Without legal help, you’re left to handle a claim on your own. Many wrongful death cases are very complicated and can take months or years to resolve. Without the help of an experienced attorney, you may have to settle for a lowball offer from the defendant’s attorney or insurance company.
If you have lost a loved one due to the reckless acts or negligence of another, a wrongful death lawsuit and a Phoenix auto accident lawyer can provide the compensation you need to cover damages including loss of support, funeral expenses, and medical bills. The dedicated attorneys at the Ferguson Law Group will review your claim and help you navigate through the legal process. Contact the Ferguson Law Group today to schedule a consultation.
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