WRONGFUL DEATH & FATAL ACCIDENTS
“The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity, 2002
Arizona Wrongful death
What Does “Wrongful Death Mean?
In Arizona, a lawsuit to recover money as a result of the death of someone is known as a “wrongful death” action. The person who died is sometimes referred to as the “decedent.” Wrongful death actions are regulated by Arizona statutes and by Arizona court rules. You should look for the best wrongful death attorney, someone experienced with fatal accident cases, and knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of death matters. You need someone on your side who knows those laws, rules, and regulations. We are a Prescott, Arizona, Yavapai County, law firm with an experienced lawyer: wrongful death and fatal accident cases, probate, trials, and much more. Arizona wrongful death
Fatal accidents are often not “accidents.” Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer at the earliest opportunity is one of the most important things to do. Another of the most important things to do after a loved one has died at the hands of another is to collect and preserve evidence, whether or not you intend to sue. Evidence not preserved cannot be used. An investigation into the death should be conducted as soon as possible. This is one, of many, reasons why you should hire an experienced wrongful death and fatal accident lawyer as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. Arizona wrongful death
Who Has a Right to be Compensated?
Only certain people are entitled to compensation for the death of another. The exact relationship between the decedent and the person claiming compensation (“claimant”) must be established with evidence that will be “admissible” in a court of law. “Admissible” means that a judge will allow a jury to see and hear the evidence, even if the other side objects to it. Having an experienced wrongful death trial lawyer on your side who knows what is admissible, and what is not admissible, is an important advantage. Arizona wrongful death lawyers
We have successfully represented numerous parties in wrongful death matters. Some cases require a lawsuit, while other cases may be settled without filing a lawsuit. Sometimes, holding people accountable for their conduct is more important than suing to obtain money. Responsibility matters. We have represented claimants, successfully, in cases involving a Ford Pinto, a Chrysler with a plastic fuel tank, an extremely intoxicated driver using a borrowed vehicle, bars that negligently served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, and other means and methods causing the death of a loved one. Arizona wrongful death attorney
Often, an experienced probate attorney can determine whether or not an action for wrongful death is appropriate. Sometimes, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate is the most appropriate (and sometimes only) person to bring a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions must be commenced within a certain period of time, or else they become barred forever. For information about the statute of limitations applicable to Arizona wrongful death actions, consult an experienced Arizona attorney. AZ wrongful death
Are Punitive Damages Available?
Punitive damages are permissible in a wrongful death lawsuit, if but only if, the facts of the case establish certain legal elements. The conduct of the person who caused the death has to be reprehensible, or wilful and wanton. It all depends on the facts. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can analyze the fact situation and determine whether it is appropriate to seek punitive damages.
Is There a Time Limit?
Yes, there absolutely is a time limit on bringing a wrongful death case. Ordinarily, the time limit in Arizona is two (2) years, but if the potential defendant involves a government agency or employee there will be a six (6) MONTH period after death in which to timely serve a proper “Notice of Claim.” This Notice must comply with Arizona statutes, such as Arizona Revised Statutes (“ARS”) 12-612 and ARS 12-821.
Do This Now:
If you think the death of your loved one was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, you should do the following:
* Gather all the information that you can concerning the incident that caused the death;
* If an accident report, incident report, or police report is available, bring it with you to meet the lawyer or send it to the lawyer as soon as possible;
* Do not speak to anyone about the incident except your doctor, your clergyman, your lawyer or the police;
* Do not speak to any insurance company, insurance adjuster, or other representatives of an insurance company until you have talked to a lawyer;
* Obtain the death certificate if you can;
* Do not sign anything until you receive permission from your lawyer;
* Protect and preserve all photographs, videos, letters, emails, tax returns, and other materials relating to the decedent;
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