Losing someone close to you can cause unimaginable pain and grief. It can be especially difficult to cope with a death if it was caused by someone else’s careless or wrongful actions, such as a drunk driver or criminal. Nothing will ever replace the life of a beloved family member. Filing a lawsuit with an experienced Chandler wrongful death attorney by your side, however, can bring your family justice and financial compensation that can help you move forward. At Stone Rose Law, our team can help you with every step of the legal process.
Your family has been through enough – you should not also have to deal with the wrongful death claims process on your own. Hiring the right Chandler wrongful death attorney to represent you can allow you and your family to focus on what matters most while a trained professional does the rest. A Chandler personal injury lawyer experienced handling in wrongful death claims can aid you in ways such as:
An attorney can take your wrongful death case to trial, if necessary, to obtain maximum compensation. Most importantly, our personal injury lawyers will provide support for you and your family after a tragic loss.
A common question that we get at Stone Rose Law is, “How much does an attorney cost?” Cost is a legitimate concern for grieving families. It is a question that will need to be answered to find out if hiring a lawyer is worth the cost in your particular case. At our law firm, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to worry about paying for your lawyer out of pocket in any scenario, win or lose.
With this payment arrangement, you do not pay anything if we don’t win your wrongful death claim. You won’t pay for any of the services that we already provided in your case. If we do win, we will charge our fees as a percentage of the overall settlement or judgment won. We will have a pre-agreed upon fee rate with you before we start your case to avoid any surprises.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-611, a wrongful death is a death caused by someone else’s legal fault. Legal fault can be based on negligence, which is the careless failure to act in a reasonable way, medical malpractice or an intentional tort (wrongdoing). A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought on behalf of surviving family members or beneficiaries against the person or party allegedly at fault for the preventable death. A wrongful death lawsuit may arise after a fatal car accident, workplace incident, assault, slip and fall accident, dog attack, or another type of tragedy.
In addition to filing a wrongful death claim for financial compensation for the family’s losses and expenses, a plaintiff in Arizona may also be able to file a survival action in pursuit of compensation for the deceased individual’s losses. This type of suit is known as a survival action because it is a legal claim that survives the victim who suffered the injury. In general, a personal representative will file a survival action at the same time as a wrongful death lawsuit for the decedent’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
A wrongful death action is part of the civil justice system, not the criminal justice system. The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to address the losses and grievances of surviving family members. The purpose of a criminal case for homicide or murder, on the other hand, is to penalize the party guilty of causing the death.
If your loved one was killed in a criminal attack or because of a defendant’s intent to harm, there may be a criminal case on top of your wrongful death lawsuit. In Arizona, both types of cases can proceed at the same time, although many civil cases are paused until the completion of a criminal case. If the defendant is found guilty of the crime of killing your loved one, your family can use this as evidence during your wrongful death lawsuit.
The burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is less than in a criminal case. To win a civil case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant is more likely to be responsible than not for causing the death. It is not necessary to prove intent to harm. In a criminal case, on the other hand, the prosecutor must establish intent and guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Wrongful death law makes it the filing party’s burden to prove the claim that he or she is making. The burden of proof in civil law is a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to prove that the claim is more likely to be true than untrue. To achieve a positive case outcome, you or your Chandler wrongful death lawyer will need to present clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is at fault for the fatal injury.
The most common principle used to prove a wrongful death lawsuit is negligence. Negligence consists of three main elements of proof:
To prove a wrongful death claim in Arizona, it is not necessary to show that the defendant intended to kill the victim. A civil wrongful death lawsuit differs from a criminal case against a defendant for murder or homicide in this way. It is possible for a defendant to be liable for wrongful death even if he or she is found not guilty for a related crime.
In Arizona, only certain people have the right to file wrongful death claims. By state law, this right is given to a deceased individual’s surviving spouse, surviving child, surviving parent or guardian, or the personal representative. A personal representative, also called an administrator or executor, may be named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the courts. If the victim was a child under the age of 18, the child’s parents or legal guardian may file.
If you believe you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit, begin by consulting with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you with the entire legal process, making it easier for you and your family. The next step is issuing your demand letter. This is a written letter that you will submit to the insurance provider of the at-fault party. The letter will explain why you believe the insurance company is liable and how much your family is demanding in financial compensation to resolve the claim.
When the insurance company receives your demand letter, it will investigate and either accept or reject benefits. With an acceptance comes a settlement offer. Bring the offer to an attorney to determine if it is fair before accepting it or signing anything. If you and the insurance company cannot negotiate a settlement or if it rejects your claim, you may have to file a wrongful death lawsuit instead.
Filing a lawsuit requires filling out and submitting the correct claims forms to the civil courthouse in the county where the fatal accident took place. You may need to pay a filing fee. You must file the paperwork within Arizona’s deadline for a valid claim. The courthouse will process your claim and serve a copy on the defendant. From there, you will enter into the discovery period. At any time before your court date, you may reach an insurance settlement. If not, the case will go to trial.
Different wrongful death claims are handled in different ways. Most reach settlement agreements. These are agreements made between the claimant and the insurance company without the case having to go to trial. Settlements are faster than wrongful death trials. Although the timeline will vary from case to case, most settlements can be achieved within about six months. A wrongful death lawsuit, on the other hand, can take several months or even years to complete. An attorney can help you determine which choice is right for your family.
Arizona has a law known as a statute of limitations that places a deadline on the ability to bring a wrongful death cause of action. If you fail to file by the deadline, you will most likely forfeit the right to seek financial compensation for your loved one’s death. This is why it is important to contact a Chandler wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The statute of limitations on a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona is two years from the date of the individual’s death, with only some exceptions.
At Stone Rose Law, we realize that no amount of money will ever make up for a death. However, we also recognize the financial needs of the average family and the financial duress that can arise after an unexpected loss. We can review your case to estimate how much it might be worth based on the type and extent of your family’s losses. If the case is successful, your family can collect financial compensation for damages such as:
Any settlement or judgment award achieved during a wrongful death lawsuit will be distributed among beneficiaries according to the requests of the decedent’s will or Arizona’s intestate succession laws. Compensation may also go to the decedent’s estate. There is no cap in Arizona on the amount of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our wrongful death attorneys in Chandler will use aggressive legal tactics to negotiate for the best possible case outcome on your behalf.
Take your time with the process of finding the right wrongful death lawyer. The lawyer that you choose can make a difference to the outcome of your case. It is important to select the right one for your case, needs and goals. Schedule a few free consultations with top choices of wrongful death attorneys in Chandler. Bring the following list of questions with you to your first meeting to find out if the lawyer is the right fit for you:
The attorneys Stone Rose Law have been trusted advocates for thousands of clients throughout Arizona over the years. We are a reputable local law firm with the personnel, resources and passion for justice to help your family with a wrongful death case, no matter how complicated. Learn more about your legal options and how we can help during a free case review with one of our attorneys today.
Your family deserves answers, justice and closure after the wrongful death of a loved one. Please contact the Chandler wrongful death lawyers of Stone Rose Law to request a free consultation about a potential case. We will use our full resources to hold someone accountable for this tragedy. Call (480) 498-8998 or contact us online today to speak to an attorney.