When a family member is killed as the result of another person’s negligence, it may be appropriate to consider hiring an attorney, like an Arizona personal injury lawyer, to investigate and pursue the case.
Was there negligence, how could the tragedy have been prevented? What are the losses and damages to the decedent’s survivors?
The attorney should have the necessary experience, resources and commitment to competently represent the interests of the survivors and deal with the other party’s insurance company. Investigation issues include who may be at fault, getting witness liability statements, determining applicable insurance coverages and limits. In a motor vehicle crash, were there commercial coverage, underinsurance, uninsured motorist policies. Litigation may be necessary to obtain the best possible result.
The law in each state will vary. In Arizona, the general rule is that a wrongful death claim may be brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent of the decedent, on behalf of the spouse or children, or parents of the decedent.
The amount of damages that a surviving spouse, parent or child may recover will differ from case to case, there are many variables.
Damages that are considered may include the following:
- The loss of love, affection and companionship since the death of the decedent and in the future.
- The pain, grief, sorrow and mental suffering experienced since the death, and in the future.
- The lost income sustained as a result of the death.
In Arizona when a governmental entity or employee may be responsible for the wrongful death there are Notice of Claim requirements that need to be properly satisfied. There are time limits within which a claim shall be filed against a public entity, the claim must contain sufficient facts outlining the basis of the claim. The claim must also contain a specific amount that it may be settled for, representation by an attorney is critical.
Recently, the issue of distracted driving has gotten more attention, given its potential deadly consequences. Cell phone use and texting while driving are frequent causes of fatal crashes.
Impaired drivers are another common cause of fatal crashes. There has also been more publicity regarding fatalities caused by wrong way drivers, many of who are also impaired.
A wrongful death attorney may also look into where the drunk driver consumed alcohol, was there overservice by a bar, before the crash, there may be liability for the crash by the driver, or the bar, this is also called a dram shop claim.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Paul Englander for their insight into wrongful death lawyer.