Category: Wrongful Death

Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Actions

In Arizona, and elsewhere, the surviving family members of an individual who has died due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party are entitled to sue and recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death action — and in some cases, pursuant to a survival action.  Though the two actions are closely-related in many respects, there are fundamental differences that are worth evaluating. Consider the following. The Basis of the Action is Different Survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased with the intention of recovering losses that were suffered by the deceased directly (prior to their death).  If the deceased dies instantly in an accident, for example, there would likely not be an actionable claim on this basis.  On the other hand, if the deceased is injured in a car accident, and their condition worsens over the course of a month before they die, then their estate would likely be entitled to bring a survival action for significant damages. Wrongful death actions are independent of survival actions, and meant to account for the losses suffered by the surviving family members of the deceased — for example, damages for wrongful death may cover the mental anguish suffered by a surviving spouse after the death of their husband. If you believe that you may have a legitimate survival action or wrongful death action, it’s important to get in touch with a qualified Phoenix wrongful death attorney for further assistance and an evaluation of your claims. Debtors, Creditors, and Liabilities […]

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In Arizona, and all other state jurisdictions, the surviving family members (i.e., the surviving spouse, child, parent, guardian, siblings, grandparents, etc.) of the deceased may bring a wrongful death action against the defendant whose negligence or other misconduct caused the death of their loved one. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident involving a defendant-driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, then you would likely be entitled to bring a wrongful death action for damages. Wrongful death actions can give rise to significant damages.  Specifically, such actions are intended to compensate the surviving family members of the deceased for the losses they suffered due to the death of their loved one.  These losses are quite varied, and are certainly not limited to emotional losses — in fact, surviving family members may be entitled to recover for a range of damages that include lost financial support and lost companionship. Wrongful Death Damages — Basics Wrongful death claims can vary significantly from case-to-case, as the individual bringing the action may have a more interdependent relationship with the deceased (than others with a wrongful death claim).  For example, if you are completely financially dependent on your spouse, and your spouse dies in a car accident (involving the defendant’s negligence), then you would be entitled to wrongful death damages that account for the lost financial support that you would have otherwise received had your spouse survived. Wrongful death damages include, but are not limited, to: Funeral, burial, […]

Arizona Law: Understanding Survival Actions

In the state of Arizona, loss-of-life claims — more specifically, wrongful death claims and survival claims — are a category of injury claims brought either by the surviving family members, or by the estate of the deceased individual.  When a person is killed due to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may entitle a qualified subset of survivors to pursue an action in litigation against the defendant and recover damages. When most laypeople think of loss-of-life claims, they tend to think of “wrongful death.”  Survival actions are an important part of the legal landscape, however, and may lead to significant damage recovery. So, what’s the difference?  Let’s take a look. Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Actions Survival actions are fundamentally different than wrongful death actions, though these differences are often misunderstood. Stated simply, survival actions are brought against the defendant (who is responsible for causing the death at-issue) on behalf of the deceased individual.  In essence, a survival action gives the estate of the deceased an opportunity to recover damages for the wrongs committed against the deceased individual.  It arguably acts as a form of claim preservation — whatever claims the deceased would have had in the event they survived, are preserved and may be pursued by their estate. Suppose, for example, that your loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident by a distracted driver.  Their death was not immediate, however.  After a week of attempted treatment, your loved one finally succumbed to […]

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 […]

Wrongful Death Claims – The Basics

The goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the plaintiff — a monetary award or settlement — so that he or she is “made whole” for the damages caused by the injuries. Usually the plaintiff is the injured person, so the damages are those directly suffered by the plaintiff – for example, medical expenses paid by the injured person, pain and suffering endured by the injured person and income lost by the injured person. But what happens if the injured person dies because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence or misconduct? In the absence of the injured person, who can file a lawsuit and for what damages? A claim for wrongful death is the law’s answer to this problem. It allows the deceased victim’s estate and his or her family members to bring a lawsuit for the decedent’s damages AND the damages suffered by the family. Contact a skilled Phoenix injury lawyer if you need help with your case. Who can claim damages? In Arizona, wrongful death claims can be brought by the deceased victim’s surviving spouse, children or parents, and by an executor or personal representative on behalf of the victim’s estate. What damages are recoverable? Wrongful death damages can be thought of as falling into 2 categories. The first category compensates the decedent’s estate for the damages the victim suffered, including: Funeral/burial expenses; Medical expenses incurred prior to death; Income lost prior to death; Lost future income (based on the idea that […]