WRONGFUL DEATH ARIZONA
“The dead cannot cry out for justice;
it is a duty of the living to do so for them.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity, 2002
In Arizona, a lawsuit to recover money as a result of the death of someone is known as a “wrongful death” action. The person who died is sometimes referred to as the “decedent.” Wrongful death actions are regulated by Arizona statutes and by Arizona court rules. You need someone on your side who knows those laws, rules, and regulations.
Grief usually, but not always, expresses itself in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While some people go through these stages in the order indicated, not everyone does so. Some people do not experience one or more of the stages of grief. For more information about the five stages of grief, click here.
We are an Arizona law firm with an experienced lawyer: wrongful death and fatal accident cases, probate, trials, and much more. Mr. Goodman, who graduated first in his law school class (summa cum laude), served as an editor of his law school’s Law Review. As CWSL indicates, “[m]embership is perceived as one of the highest achievements and honors in law school that attracts the best and the brightest students. . . . The staff is comprised of second and third-year law students who are in the top 10 percent of their class.”
The sooner you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney, the better: investigations need to happen right away. Evidence needs to be preserved. Cases are won when admissible evidence is obtained, collected, preserved, and presented. We know how to do this.
Fatal accidents are often not “accidents.” Collisions are not accidents, they usually result from negligence (carelessness). Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer at the earliest opportunity is one of the most important things to do. Another of the most important things to do after a loved one has died at the hands of another is to collect and preserve evidence, whether or not you intend to file a lawsuit. Evidence not preserved cannot be used. An investigation into the death should be conducted as soon as possible. This is one, of many, reasons why you should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. And, do not discuss the circumstances of death with anyone except your lawyer.
Only certain people are entitled to compensation for the death of another. The exact relationship between the decedent and the person claiming compensation (“claimant”) must be established with evidence that will be admissible in a court of law. Having an experienced wrongful death trial lawyer on your side who knows what is admissible, and what is not, is an important advantage.
We have successfully represented numerous parties in wrongful death matters. Some cases require a lawsuit, while other cases may be settled without filing a lawsuit. Sometimes, holding people accountable for their conduct is more important than suing to obtain money. Responsibility matters. We have represented claimants, successfully, in cases involving a Ford Pinto, a Chrysler with a plastic fuel tank, an extremely intoxicated driver using a borrowed vehicle, bars that negligently served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, and other means and methods causing the death of a loved one.
Often, an experienced probate attorney can determine whether or not an action for wrongful death is appropriate. Sometimes, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate is the most appropriate (and sometimes only) person to bring this type of lawsuit. Wrongful death actions must be commenced within a certain period of time, or else they become barred forever. For information about the statute of limitations applicable to these lawsuits, consult an experienced Arizona attorney.
If you think the death of your loved one was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, you should do the following:
* Gather all the information that you can concerning the incident that caused the person to die23;
* If an accident report, incident report, or police report is available, bring it with you to meet the lawyer or send it to the lawyer as soon as possible;
* Do not speak to anyone about the incident except your doctor, your clergyman, your lawyer or the police;
* Do not speak to any insurance company, insurance adjuster, or other representatives of an insurance company until you have talked to a lawyer;
* Obtain the death certificate if you can;
* Do not sign anything until you receive permission from your lawyer;
* Protect and preserve all photographs, videos, letters, emails, tax returns, and other materials relating to the decedent;