Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Phoenix, AZ Of 2024 – Forbes

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Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be intimidating. Mourning family members must navigate complicated civil law processes to prove that they are owed damages because another party’s negligence resulted in the death of their loved one.

The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must present evidence that shows that another party (the defendant) carelessly caused their loved one’s death. If they successfully do that, the court awards them compensation for losses resulting from that death.

While the process may seem simple, the laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits in Arizona are complicated enough that claimants should not try to handle these cases alone, especially when they are in mourning. Instead, they can work with experienced wrongful death lawyers in Phoenix.

Arizona Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

When a claimant pursues a wrongful death lawsuit, they present evidence that the defendant was liable for the death of their loved one. Similarly, the defendant presents evidence that they weren’t liable.

Unfortunately, evidence begins to deteriorate over time. Witnesses forget what they saw, records get misplaced and physical evidence gets lost or destroyed. This means that the defendant may find it increasingly difficult to present a strong defense as time passes.

Arizona recognizes this problem and accounts for it by limiting the time that a claimant can file a lawsuit. This law is called the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Arizona is two years from the date the death occurred. Notably, this clock doesn’t start until the victim dies. This means that if they were injured in May but didn’t die from that injury until two months later, the statute of limitations would begin in July.

Arizona Wrongful Death Laws

These are some of the more important laws that claimants should be familiar with before contacting wrongful death lawyers in Phoenix.

  • The right to file a lawsuit. A claimant has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in any situation where the deceased could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived.
  • Who can file a lawsuit? Only specific individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona. The claimant must be the spouse, child or parent (or other guardian) of the deceased. Additionally, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a lawsuit on behalf of one of the above individuals.
  • Economic damages. Arizona allows claimants to recover financial losses resulting from the death. The most common economic damages are funeral costs and the value of the deceased’s lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages. Claimants can also ask for monetary compensation for the emotional pain they suffered and the loss of companionship.
  • Damage caps. Unlike some states, Arizona does not place caps on either economic or non-economic damages.

Wrongful Death Settlement Considerations

When litigants file wrongful death lawsuits, very few cases result in a jury verdict. Most Phoenix wrongful death lawyers negotiate a settlement before the case goes before a judge or jury.

Does the result change if a case ends in a settlement instead of a verdict? Legally, there is little difference. The dispute is resolved, and one side is obligated (contractually rather than by court order) to compensate the other side.

Furthermore, Arizona and the federal government treat a settlement as if it were a court order in terms of taxes. This means that the claimant doesn’t have to pay taxes on money recovered from a wrongful death settlement.

The biggest differences between settlements and trial verdicts are time and attorney fees. Typically, a settlement takes months to conclude. In contrast, trials can take years to complete, even if neither side appeals.

Additionally, most Phoenix wrongful death lawyers charge between 25% and 33% of the settlement amount as a fee. However, if the case goes to trial, that percentage usually increases, reaching as high as 40%.

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