Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyers Helping Families Move Forward
Strong advocacy on behalf of Arizona families who have lost a loved one because of the negligence of another
There is no amount of compensation that makes the pain of a loss go away. Losing someone you love is never easy, even when you’ve had time to prepare for it. When you haven’t had that time, and especially if the negligence of another was to blame for the accident — the emotional, psychological and financial realities of such a loss can be overwhelming.
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we understand that taking legal action so soon after losing a loved one in a fatal accident may not be your first priority. At the same time, obtaining justice and making certain that your loved one’s story gets heard may depend on it. Our dependable Phoenix wrongful death lawyers provide the aggressive representation necessary to prepare a case for trial while remaining sensitive to the family’s mourning process. We have the resources and the working relationships to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Elements of a wrongful death claim
In Arizona, the personal representative of the deceased can bring two types of actions when a loved one dies. The first action is called a survival action and is brought personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Survival damages include:
- The cost of the funeral and burial.
- Any medical bills, including emergency care or medical treatment if the victim did not die at the accident site.
- Pain and suffering the victim endured between the accident and the time of death.
- The amount of income and benefits the loved one would have earned if the accident had not taken his/her life.
- The cost to fix or replace any damaged property, such as damage to a vehicle.
Survival actions are not always in the best interest of the client, especially if the economic loss is small compared to the survivors’ personal losses. Any debts owed by decedent at the time of death can be collected from the proceeds of a survival action.
A wrongful death action is brought for the suffering of the family members. Wrongful death damages include:
- The loss of companionship, guidance, and care each family member would have gotten from the deceased but for the accident. This includes love, support, and education.
- The pain and suffering of the family members. This sum compensates family members for the life-long grief that inevitably comes with losing a loved one.
- The value of household services the deceased would have provided. This includes things like cleaning and shopping.
To bring either kind of case, the person or company which caused the death must be “at fault” for the death. Most civil cases for wrongful death involve negligence as the fault, but sometimes fault may be intentional (wrongful conduct which not only raised the risk of harm, but was intended to cause harm). And in some cases, a defendant may be strictly liable for the design, manufacture or sale of an unreasonably dangerous product (for examples, drugs such as Fen-Phen, SUVs that roll over, tires that suddenly lose their tread, gas tanks on cars that explode in rear-end impacts, etc.)
Our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers represent families in both survival and wrongful death cases throughout Arizona, including Mesa, Chandler, Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Glendale, and Tempe. We use all the resources at our disposal to identify the parties whose negligence caused the victim’s untimely death.
Which family members are entitled to wrongful death benefits?
In a survival action, damages are placed into the victim’s estate and used to pay necessary bills and expenses. Any money is that is left over is then paid to the family and/or designated heirs.
In a wrongful death action, damages are paid to specific family members based on the impact of the loss of the victim on each individual. Generally, the spouse, children—whether they are adults or minors—and parents of the deceased are entitled to be compensated for the grief and financial harm they suffered. Normally, the family agrees upon how damages should be divided amongst family members. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court allocates the money.
Bear in mind that there can be only one claim for a person’s wrongful death, which is brought on behalf of all beneficiaries. In most cases, a single law firm can represent all of the parties involved with no conflicts of interest, but sometimes separate representation is required where there is animosity among family members or if they do not agree on the case objectives or how the funds recovered will be divided.
Contact a Phoenix wrongful death attorney to obtain justice for your loved one
Time is of the essence in a wrongful death claim. There are strict deadlines for how long after the victim’s death a case can be brought. Practically, the sooner a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer begins the case review, the better case can be prepared. For professional and compassionate help, call Plattner & Verderame, P.C. today at 602-783-8793, toll free at 888-657-3573, or contact us for a free consultation. Our firm takes cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we are paid only if the case settles or there is a court verdict.