Can You Recover for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?

In Arizona, as in other states, those who have lost a loved one to an accident (that was caused by another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional acts) may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death claim.

How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work?

Wrongful death claims give a right of action to certain surviving family members of the deceased, allowing those surviving family members to recover damages to compensate them for the various losses they suffered as a result of the death at-issue.  Importantly, wrongful death claims are not intended to compensate the surviving family members for the suffering of the deceased.  Instead, they are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their own damages.

These damages may include:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Funeral expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of domestic services
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Loss of financial support
  • Mental distress
  • And more

Suppose, for example, that a close relative — perhaps your father — was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The accident did not immediately result in your father’s death.  He is rushed to the hospital.  After a few days in intensive care and a difficult struggle for survival, your father dies.

In the above example, you cannot recover (in a wrongful death action) damages for your father’s pain and suffering, or for their medical expenses or wage loss.  You can only recover damages for your own losses.  If your father was providing you monthly financial support, for example, then you could recover those damages as part of your wrongful death claim.

When determining whether you are entitled to recover wrongful death damages, there are a number of factors that have to be considered: 1) you may only recover if the accident was actually caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of the defendant (if the accident does not actually implicate the liability of a third-party, then you cannot recover), and 2) you must be a qualified, surviving family member.

Who is Entitled to Recover for Wrongful Death?

According to section 12-612 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, an action for wrongful death may be brought by any of the following survivors, related to the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent (or guardian)
  • Personal representative

It’s important to note that Arizona law does not give siblings, and other surviving family members, the right to recover for wrongful death.  If multiple surviving family members are bringing a wrongful death action against the defendant(s), then they will have the right to recover in proportion to their damages.

Speak With an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney for Assistance

If you have lost a family member in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may give you the right to recover in a wrongful death action.  Wrongful death claims can be quite complicated, however — you must not only establish that the defendant caused the death of your loved one (by acting in a negligent or wrongful manner), but you must also demonstrate that you qualify to receive wrongful death damages under the law.  It’s therefore critical that you get in touch with an attorney who has a long track record of success in handling such claims.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys boast several decades of combined experience representing injured clients in a range of accident claims.  We believe that by dedicating ourselves to motor vehicle accident claims, we are able to provide more comprehensive and effective legal representation to our clients.

Like most other personal injury and wrongful death firms, we work on contingency — we are only paid if we win your case — but we charge a discounted contingency fee, ensuring that our clients can keep more of what they rightfully recover in litigation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.