Wrongful Death Lawyer Tempe
It is never easy to lose a loved one. And when this loss happens entirely unexpectedly, it can bring on insurmountable emotional and psychological trauma, as well as financial challenges. In the event that your loved one’s death is the result of another party’s negligence, it is common to feel disoriented, paralyzed by grief, and unable to take actions that would be in your best interest.
According to A.R.S. § 12 -612, standing to bring a survivorship or wrongful death action is limited to the following: the decedent’s estate, the surviving spouse; child; parent or guardian; and/or legal representative of the decedent. Unlike other jurisdictions, Arizona excludes recovery for siblings or other relatives, same-sex partners, and common-law spouses. Your loved one can never be replaced by financial compensation. However, the law recognizes that the negligent individual or organization’s liability extends far beyond the decedent’s death, significantly affecting their children, spouse, parents, etc., in numerous ways. And the hardships and obstacles associated with the family’s resulting economic struggles may be alleviated by financial compensation.
A simple search for “wrongful death lawyer Tempe” or “wrongful death attorney near me” should direct you to Pincus & Associates. Our Tempe team is highly skilled and experienced, and only take on personal injury cases. We know that your case is unique. We also know that taking legal action may not be at the top of your list after the death of a loved one. Pincus & Associates will likely reach a settlement, helping you to avoid trial and greater emotional trauma.
With a strong track record, Pincus & Associates wins 98% of cases. And we have the resources and working relationships to precisely and thoroughly examine the cause of your accident, working to protect your rights and ensure that neglectful parties are held accountable.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The decedent’s estate, the surviving spouse; parent or guardian; and/or legal representative of the decedent may bring a wrongful death lawsuit to civil court if the decedent’s death was due to another party’s misconduct, neglect, or wrongful act. According to Arizona Revised Statute 12-611, particular family members and/or legal representatives may bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court in the event that the victim’s death resulted from an individual or organization’s wrongful act, neglect, or defaul that would have been grounds for a personal injury suit in the event that the decedent had survived. Such family members may try to recover compensation and justice through a wrongful death claim.
Nonetheless, the family member or legal representative who pursues the case in civil court has the burden of establishing that the defendant’s negligent behavior or act served as the proximate cause of the decedent’s death. To do so, the family member or legal representative must prove that the defendant’s misconduct or negligence was more than 50% responsible, or the primary cause, of the decedent’s deathly injury, allowing the courts to correlate the event to the death.
Wrongful death lawsuits often follow criminal trials. Even though such civil and criminal trials typically draw upon similar evidence, their standards of proof differ significantly. And there is a possibility that an individual convicted of wrongful death will also be convicted of a crime correlated to that death.
In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove the wrongdoer’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, the facts presented and proven in a criminal trial must fully satisfy the evidence against the wrongdoer, establishing the wrongdoer’s guilt. And a defendant found guilt in criminal court will likely serve time in prison.
Alternatively, the decedent’s estate, the surviving spouse; child; parent or guardian; and/or legal representative of the decedent must prove the wrongdoer’s responsibility for their loved one’s death by a preponderance of the evidence in a civil trial. And so, the family member or legal representative must tip the scale in their favor, presenting evidence the illustrates the wrongdoer’s neglect as the probable cause of the decedent’s death. In the event that the defendant is found legally responsible in civil court, they will need to pay monetary damages.
Typically, the defendant’s insurance company will be legally responsible for paying the damages, whether agreed upon in a settlement or awarded by a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit. But if the decedent’s death was caused by a defective product, manufacturer, designer, or other involved in a product’s production, that party may be deemed legally responsible for paying damages to the decedent’s family members. In cases where the defendant’s insurance coverage fails to cover the damages awarded, the recovery may be minimized to meet the limits of the defendant’s insurance policy, or the defendant’s estate may be used to secure payment for the remaining damages.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim for My Loved One’s Accidental Death?
For situations in which a resulting death was accident, a wrongful death claim can be filed. Under Arizona Revised Statute 12-611, specific family members may pursue a wrongful death claim in the event that the victim’s death resulted from another individual or organization’s neglect, wrongful act, or default. In such cases, the neglectful or wrongful act was accidental and the harm inflicted/death was not deliberate or intentional. Just as a person who ran a stop sign while texting and driving did not cause anyone’s death on purpose. However, under the law, their reckless, dangerous, neglectful behavior would still make them legally responsible.
When dangerous, reckless behavior results in an accidental death, the party that caused the fatality is deemed at-fault. And there are several circumstances in which a defendant may only be liable for the design, manufacture, or sale of an unreasonably dangerous product. For example, SUVs that roll over or gas tanks that explode on impact.
Components of Wrongful Death Claims
Under Arizona Revised Statute 12-612, only the decedent’s estate, the surviving spouse; child; parent or guardian; and/or legal representative of the decedent may legally bring a wrongful death claim to civil court in the state of Arizona.
To successfully bring a wrongful death claim in Arizona, the following components must be present.:
- Breach of Duty: The defendant had a duty to exhibit a reasonable amount of care towards the decendent. For instance, a defendant who caused a death in a car accident owed the decedent a duty to behave carefully and drive safely.
- Causation: The defendant’s negligence must be proven as the proximate cause of death by the victims surviving family members or legal representative.
- Damages: Quantifiable damages must have resulted from the decedent’s death, such as burial costs, loss of earnings, medical bills, and/or pain and suffering.
- Negligence: The decedent’s surviving family members or legal representative must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the death was the result of the defendant’s neglect, wrongful act, or default.
Moreover, wrongful death claims are popularly associated with the following damages.:
- The anguish, grief, mental suffering, pain, shock, sorrow, and stress that resulted from death, both now and likely in the future
- The loss of affection, care, companionship, guidance, love, and protection, now and in the years to come
- The loss of income and services that resulted from the death, both now and likely in the future
- The reasonable expenses of burial and funeral
- The reasonable expenses associated with necessary medical care and services to treat injuries which ultimately resulted in the fatality
A civil suit rather than a criminal suit, the damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit will be economic. If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact Pincus & Associates to consult with a caring, experienced, and compassionate Tempe wrongful death attorney. Our team will provide you and your case with the support and attention you deserve, protecting your legal rights and working to obtain your rightful damages.
Examples of Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases In Tempe AZ
Several circumstances exist in which death actions can arise. Moreover, there are numerous types of preventable circumstances that can result in Tempe wrongful death actions and claims, the most prevalent of which are:
- Birth injuries
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Common carrier claims
- Construction accidents
- Deaths resulting from medical errors
- Deaths resulting from violence
- Fatal injuries sustained by government contractors
- Injuries caused by defective or faulty products
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Workplace deaths
If your loved one’s death resulted from another individual or organization’s negligence acts, omissions, or intentional conduct, you may have legal grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. The Tempe wrongful death lawyers at Pincus & Associates know the factors considered under the law to obtain compensation. And we can help you to best determine if there is a legal basis for your claim.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Action in Tempe
Each state has limitation periods, or time limits, in which lawsuits must be filed. If you fail to file an action within the limitation period applicable to your case, you’ll likely be unable to file a claim or recover damages.
Furthermore, every state has a distinct statue of limitations specifically applicable to wrongful death claims. Typically, such statues are rather similar those applicable to personal injury lawsuits. And though such cases still involve negligence, the fatal nature of the decedent’s injuries affects the court process, as well as the damages available to the plaintiff.
Family members and/or a legal representative of a decedent must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death, under Arizona Revised Statute 12-542. With that being said, the statute of limitations applicable to filing a wrongful death claim can vary significantly. Although most cases can be filed within two years, cases do exist in which a shorter statute of limitations applies. For instance, cases involving workers’ compensation for dog bites have a one year statute of limitations. And for cases in which a government entity is the defendant, a six-month notice of claim and one-year suit filing requirement applies. Thus, one’s eligibility to file a wrongful death claim can vanish in as little as 180 days.
Additionally, numerous courts believe that the discovery rule should apply to situations in which the two-year statute of limitations would destroy the cause of action before it could be uncovered. The discovery rule is often applied in the state of Arizona, establishing that the use of a statute of limitations in a wrongful death case commences when the plaintiff has or should have reasonably discovered the decedent’s cause of death.
If you believe that another individual or organization is legally responsible for your loved one’s death, you should promptly seek legal counsel with Pincus & Associates. We will help you to properly preserve evidence and conduct a thorough, detailed investigation to strengthen your claim and protect your rights. Waiting too long to contact a Tempe wrongful death attorney could result in the expiration of the statute of limitations applicable to your case, preventing your from collecting any damages.
Why File a Wrongful Death Claim if a Criminal Case is Pending?
In the event that a criminal case is pending against a defendant responsible for the death of a loved one, the decedent’s loved ones tend to forgo pursing a civil suit against that defendant. However, there are many reasons why filing a civil lawsuit, whether a criminal case is pending or not, can be in your best interest. Firstly, economic damages can provide a victim’s family with an opportunity to put some good back into the world that cannot be achieved via punishment in a criminal trial. Such economic damages can be used to help support the decedent’s family, pay for schooling, create a charitable foundation, etc., giving a victim’s family a chance to positively carry on their legacy.
Criminal cases have a significantly higher burden of proof than civil cases, requiring prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Alternatively, civil cases require plaintiffs to prove the defendant’s guilt by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it was more probable than not that the defendant is at-fault. Whether or not the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, these major differences in the severity of the burden of proof make the likelihood of a victim’s loved ones and/or legal representative triumphing in civil court much greater.
Well-illustrated by the infamous O.J. Simpson case, O.J. Simpson was acquitted on all charges in his 1995 criminal case for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. However, Simpson was found liable for both deaths in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Goldman family. As a result, Simpson had to pay the victims’ families $33.5 million in economic damages.
You may be able to hold the defendant accountable for their neglect and/or dangerous behavior by filing a civil lawsuit. A simple search fro “wrongful death attorney Tempe,” “wrongful death law firm Tempe,” or “wrongful death lawyer near me” should direct you to Pincus & Associates. Our team of highly skilled and experienced Tempe personal injury lawyers will support you, assisting you in obtaining the compensation which you are legally entitled to. We will work with experts and reconstruct accident scenes, gathering all of the evidence we can to protect your rights and establish liability.
How Pincus & Associates Can Help
Caring, compassionate, understanding, and prepared to develop strategies that uniquely meet the needs of your case, Pincus & Associates only does personal injury law. Our Tempe wrongful death attorneys carry out full-scale, detailed investigations for cases in Arizona. We will assist you throughout the legal process, examining the situation surrounding the accident in question and determine what occurred, who is responsible, and what should have reasonable occurred to prevent the accident.
Pincus & Associates will compile substantial evidence, prepare a strong case, and help you to handle any situations that may arise during the legal process. It is essential to consult with a skilled and experienced lawyer in the aftermath of an accident, specifically prior to speaking to any insurance represenative — yours or theirs!
And it is crucial to promptly contact a wrongful death attorney within the applicable statute of limitations. This will allow you to pursue your case, gather critical evidence, and protect your legal rights. Visit our website today to request your free consultation. Our team offers professional, understanding, and knowledgeable assistance, helping to alleviate our clients’ stresses and obtain damages to which they are legally entitled. And with our contingency fee, we’ll only be paid if we win you money!
WHY CHOOSE THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT PINCUS?
We win 98% of our cases. Personal injury and wrongful death is all we do and the results show.
FOCUS ON YOU
You and your case get the attention and personal service you deserve from our boutique sized firms.
NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN
Our contingency fee means no money out of your pocket.
HEAR FROM FORMER CLIENTS
"I truly am thankful for Amara and her staff. They worked efficiently and provided exceptional customer service. The team is AWESOME!!! Amara never hesitated on responding to my emails. She cares about you and your needs. She is very compassionate about the work she does. She fought for a settlement on my behalf that was fair. I have already given a friend Amara's information and how great they are. I HIGHLY recommend Pincus Law Firm. You won't be disappointed with Amara and her awesome staff."
- Tammy B.
"I highly recommend Pincus and Associates to anyone injured in a car accident. They represented me in my case and I can no be more pleased and satisfied with the work they did representing me. Since the beginning to the end the treated me fairly respectfully and honestly. The frequently kept me updated on my case till they reached a settlement for me that I was very pleased with. Pincus and Associates is a great law firm i highly recommend to anyone needing representation !!!!!!!!! "
- Titan R.
"I wish to offer my sincere thanks for all your time and efforts put in to work on my car accident case. Yes I know it was your job and just what you do for all your clients. Yet, I so humbly appreciate it and would never have been able to navigate the system on my own to resolve the matter on my own. So, I believe in my case, a special thank you is in order."
- Sharleen M.
"Awesome personal injury lawyers that know a lot."
- Zachary Z.
REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION
FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO RECEIVE A FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL INITIAL CONSULTATION