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How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Posted on July 6, 2021 in

The death of someone close to you can cause unimaginable pain and grief. It can also place your family under great financial strain, especially after the death of the breadwinner. A wrongful death civil suit in Arizona can help your family move forward by holding someone accountable for the loss of your loved one’s life and reimbursing you for related losses. If you wish to begin a wrongful death claim, contact a wrongful death lawyer today.

Know the Laws in Your State

It is important to follow the rules in Arizona to have a valid and successful wrongful death lawsuit. The courts do not take mistakes lightly, such as errors on your wrongful death petition or a claim filed after the deadline. A wrongful death lawyer can help you learn and navigate Arizona’s wrongful death statutes for a better chance of a positive outcome. Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona:

  • Did a wrongful death occur? The grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona is if the death was caused by the default, wrongful act or neglect of another person or entity.
  • Do you have the right to file? Only a deceased person’s surviving spouse, child, parent or guardian, or personal representative may file a wrongful death claim in Arizona.
  • Are you within your deadline? The deadline for filing (statute of limitations) is two years from the date of death for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Verify that you have grounds to file a wrongful death cause of action, that you are a qualifying party and that you are within your deadline before initiating the claims process. Otherwise, you may be unable to bring this type of lawsuit. If you need assistance verifying these facts, a wrongful death lawyer can help you.

Consult With an Attorney

Before initiating the legal process, request a free initial consultation with a wrongful death attorney in your city. A free case review gives you the opportunity to ask questions, speak to a real lawyer and receive honest advice about your situation. Most wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, as well, meaning that you won’t pay the attorney unless he or she obtains financial compensation for you.

If the attorney agrees to represent you, you and your family will benefit from the expertise and resources of a trained and licensed professional. Your attorney will understand Arizona’s wrongful death laws and be able to handle confusing paperwork on your behalf. Your Scottsdale wrongful death attorney can also gather evidence for you to build a compelling case against one or more defendants.

Act By the Deadline

With only some exceptions, if you fail to file the necessary paperwork with the civil courts to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit within your two-year window, the courts will refuse to hear your case, meaning you will lose the right to recover financial compensation. You may have less time than two years, however, if you are trying to hold the government responsible for your loved one’s death. The best way to make sure you file the necessary paperwork before the deadline expires is by working with an attorney.

Commence Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Once you are ready to file the claim, obtain the correct paperwork by asking the courthouse clerk, downloading it online or working with an attorney. The first form you will fill out is the complaint or petition. This form identifies the defendant, describes the incident and the grounds for the lawsuit, and states the amount of financial compensation you are seeking to resolve the dispute.

You will file this paperwork with the civil courthouse in the county where you currently reside or the decedent resided. You or your lawyer will also need to file a summons along with your initial petition, which notifies the defendant that he or she is being sued. From there, your attorney can help you interpret the defendant’s response, negotiate with the defendant for a fair and full settlement, or take your case to trial for a positive outcome.