What to do if a Loved One Dies in an Arizona Car Accident
Having a loved one lose their life in a car accident will be emotionally-draining. Coping with the loss and the grief, while also attempting to handle practical considerations is going to be too much even for the strongest of individuals. This is why finding a reliable professional to count on will be of great importance. When a loved one dies in an Arizona car accident, there could be a reason for filing a wrongful death claim in Arizona. Wrongful death is a very specific term that pertains to certain situations. Understanding its definition is the first part of the process.
What is Wrongful Death?
In Arizona, the term wrongful death applies to the death of a person who reasonably shouldn’t have lost their life under the specific circumstances. A wrongful death lawsuit may be initiated by a spouse, surviving children, parents or guardians whose loved one dies in an Arizona car accident.
The wrongful death lawsuit takes place separately from any criminal proceedings that could also be launched. This is a civil case that could occur on its own or that could be taking place on top of criminal charge processing.
As far as car accidents are concerned, wrongful death occurs as the result of negligence. Usually, the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident would be the guilty party. In that case, surviving spouses, parents or children can recover the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Compensation for the loss of love, companionship and guidance
- Compensation for the pain, grief and sorrow
- Compensation for lost income due to the death
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
It’s very important to contact an experienced Arizona lawyer as soon as you feel capable of going through the process. An attorney will help you figure out whether you have a wrongful death case and whether compensation can be demanded.
Many wrongful death lawyers offer a free of charge first consultation. Even if you feel financially-challenged due to the loss of a partner or a parent, you can still get legal assistance without spending anything on it.
If it’s possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll be advised to begin gathering documents and evidence. Some of the essentials that you’ll have to present in court include medical statements, a medical bill, receipts for funeral expenses and information about the income of the lost one that died in the car accident.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Arizona is two years. This means you have enough time to prepare for an eventual lawsuit. Still, don’t wait too much. If you wait for many months, chances are that you will lose some of the essential documents and the evidence proving the negligence of the other party and the consequences of the loss.
A wrongful death claim is in essence the same as a personal injury case. Your attorney will be responsible for proving the negligence of the defendant. They will also be responsible for demonstrating the scope of the damages. This information will be used to determine the amount of compensation you’ll be entitled to.
Keep in mind that it’s possible to launch a wrongful death lawsuit against more than one individual.
Arizona is a comparative fault state. This means that the blame and responsibility, as well as the compensation payments, will be divided among all of the entities that hold responsibility for the wrongful death.
Typically, an attorney may try to speed things up by suggesting a settlement. The settlement process takes things out of court and it can lead to a faster outcome. In order to settle, however, all parties involved will have to consent to the proposed agreement. In this case, the value of damages will be finalized in the agreement and a payment will be received immediately after everyone has agreed to settle.