Wrongful Death and Financial Support Losses
The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can leave their family members devastated in many different ways.
Though it’s natural to think only of the emotional consequences at first, there are real financial consequences to the loss of a loved one on whom you and the rest of your family have come to rely for support. Without the income generated by a spouse, for example, a nuclear family may struggle with paying for food, rent, education, and health expenses, among various other necessities of life.
Fortunately, Arizona law may provide certain individuals the opportunity to recover for those losses. If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant wrongful death compensation.
How does it work? Let’s take a closer look.
Wrongful Death Basics
Wrongful death actions give certain qualified family members the right to pursue damages for the losses they have directly suffered due to the death of their loved one. For example, a wrongful death plaintiff may recover damages for the mental anguish they experienced (and continue to experience) as a result of their spouse’s death.
For a wrongful death lawsuit to succeed, there must be underlying liability. In other words, the defendant (who is responsible) must have acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner, thus causing the death at-issue.
Calculating the Loss of Financial Support
In many wrongful death cases, financial support losses form the largest component of the overall damages. As a result, the defendant is likely to employ a range of tactics during litigation to minimize their liability for such damages. These tactics may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Arguing that the financial support would have been reduced or terminated
- Arguing that the deceased individual’s income would not have increased over time
- Arguing that the deceased individual was incapable of or uninterested in returning to work (if they were unemployed or partially employed at time of death)
Suppose, for example, that your father was a generous man, and provided $3,000 per month in financial support to help you cover your costs. After their untimely death due to a drunk driving accident, you bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant-driver.
The defendant might attempt to reduce their financial support damage liability in a number of ways. They might argue that your relationship with your father was deteriorating quickly, and that your father intended to stop all financial support soon. They might (alternatively) argue that your father was nearing retirement age, and that the financial support may only be counted for an additional two or three years. You might be able to counter this assertion by showing that your father used income generated by investment assets to provide the financial support at-issue.
Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Setup a Free Consultation
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience representing wrongful death claimants in litigation, specifically in situations where the death itself is linked to a motor vehicle accident.
We understand just how emotionally overwhelming and difficult it can be to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of tragedy — our commitment to compassionate and personalized legal advocacy has helped many families secure the compensation they need to cover their losses, while doing so in a manner that is respectful of the various burdens they are now saddled with.
Ready to move forward with your claims? If you’re interested in learning more about the litigation process and how we can help, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.