Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona?

wrongful death lawsuit

In the United States, the fourth leading cause of death is accidents. On top of this, every year, thousands of people die due to medical mistakes. Accidents and mistakes happen, but when does it cross the line and become a wrongful death claim? 

When someone’s death is caused by the negligence or misconduct of another party, money can’t make up for the loss of a loved one. However, compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit can help pay expenses and take some of the financial stress away. 

Who can file a lawsuit for a wrongful death? Keep reading to learn what you need to know about who can file a case and more. 

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Arizona, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant is responsible for the death of the deceased person. The plaintiff must also be able to prove that the death was caused by the negligence or intentional misconduct of the defendant.

Many different types of wrongful death lawsuits can get filed in Arizona. Some common examples include car accident wrongful death lawsuits, medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, and workplace injury wrongful death lawsuits.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The easiest way to explain this is that if the person would have been able to file a claim and receive compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, then a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate. 

How Do You Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona, then you need to prove that the defendant was negligent. This means that you need to show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care and that they breached that duty by acting in a way that was not reasonably careful.

For example, if the defendant was driving recklessly and hit and killed the victim, then they would be liable for wrongful death. However, multiple factors play into this. 

Duty of Care

You need to show that the defendant neglected to provide a duty of care as required. This could be something as simple as the duty to obey traffic laws when driving.

Breach of Duty

Next, you must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. This could include presenting evidence such as eyewitness testimony, video footage, or expert witness statements.


Finally, you need to show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused death or injury to the victim. This can be hard to prove if there are other factors involved in an accident, so it is important to collect evidence that shows how and why a particular incident occurred.

You can win a wrongful death claim in Phoenix if you can prove that the defendant was negligent. However, this type of case can be complex and require expert witnesses and careful preparation. Therefore, it is best to work with an experienced attorney who can help you build your case and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona?

If your spouse, child, or parent dies due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you may have a valid wrongful death claim. In Phoenix, Arizona, the following people can file a lawsuit:

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse
  • The deceased person’s children
  • A parent or guardian
  • A representative on behalf of the person’s estate or one of the other parties

A wrongful death claim can be filed against anyone whose careless or malicious actions caused the death of another person. This includes individuals, companies, and government entities.

Who Can’t File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? 

In Arizona, the number of people who can file a wrongful death suit are limited. It’s only since same-sex marriage became legal in Arizona that spouses in these marriages could file a wrongful death lawsuit. While this has changed, life partners or spouses from a common-law marriage cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

This is because common law marriage is not recognized in Arizona. In addition, the siblings or other family members of the deceased party cannot file unless filing as a representative on behalf of one of the above parties. 

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another in Phoenix, Arizona, you may be wondering how to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are several steps to take in this instance. 

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney 

The first step is to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney who can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim. It’s a good idea to request a free consultation and talk to area attorneys when deciding on who to hire.

Gather Necessary Evidence

Once you have hired an attorney, they will begin gathering the necessary evidence to prove your case. This may include medical records, police reports, eyewitness statements, photographs, and other relevant documents.

File a Complaint in Court

Your wrongful death attorney will then file a complaint in court to begin the lawsuit. The complaint includes all the facts of your case and explains why you are entitled to compensation from the negligent party.

Serve Notice on Negligent Party

The next step is for your attorney to serve notice on the negligent party or their insurance company. This notifies them of the lawsuit and allows them to respond.

Engage in the Discovery Process 

The discovery process is when both parties exchange information and documents related to the case as well as answer questions in depositions. This helps both sides build their cases and understand each other’s arguments before a trial. 

Negotiate Settlement or Go to Trial

In some cases, it may be possible for your wrongful death attorney to negotiate a settlement outside of court. If this is not successful, then your case will go to trial where a jury will render a decision.

These are the basic steps for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona. If you believe that you have a valid claim, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to begin the process.

How Is a Wrongful Death Claim Decided?

There are a few factors that are taken into account when deciding if a wrongful death claim is valid. The first is whether the death was caused by negligence or intent. If the death was caused by someone acting recklessly or with criminal intent, then it may be classified as a wrongful death.

Another factor that is considered is whether the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived. For a family member to file a wrongful death claim, they must be able to prove that the deceased would have had a valid personal injury claim.

Finally, courts will also look at whether the surviving family members have suffered financial damages as a result of the death. This can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, and other damages.

What Are the Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona?

When a death is caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, they may be able to recover damages for their loss.

Wrongful death damages in Phoenix, Arizona can be divided into two broad categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value and can be easily calculated, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify but may include pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and emotional distress. Punitive damages may also be available in cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

While no amount of money can ever truly make up for the loss of a loved one, pursuing a wrongful death action can help grieving families obtain the justice and closure they deserve.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona?

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s intentional actions or negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. This means that you must file your lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death, or you will be barred from doing so.

There are some circumstances in which the two-year time limit may be extended. For example, if the person responsible for your loved one’s death is not found until after the two-year period has passed, you may have additional time to file your lawsuit.

If you have any questions about whether you have enough time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Phoenix, Arizona, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

How Is Compensation Divided in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The amount of compensation that each family member receives will depend on several factors, including their relationship to the deceased person and their financial dependence on them. For example, a surviving spouse is typically entitled to more compensation than a child who was already an adult when their parent died.

In addition, some of the compensation might get paid directly into the person’s estate. This can help cover the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Repairing damaged property from the incident

Money not placed in the estate can go to family members. The amount is dependent on the following factors:

  • Monetary support
  • Loss of guidance and companionship
  • Lost value of household services
  • Pain and suffering

If the family cannot agree on how the money gets divided, the court can step in and make those decisions. 

Is Settlement Money Taxable in Arizona?

In Arizona, the taxation on money obtained in a settlement from a wrongful death claim is dependent. Many times this is not taxable because it’s considered compensation.

However, punitive damages received in a wrongful death lawsuit may be taxable. It is important to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Phoenix to understand all of the tax implications of your settlement.

File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit With an Experienced Attorney

We hope this article has helped provide a thorough overview of who can bring a wrongful death claim in Phoenix, Arizona. It is important to remember that the legal process for filing such a lawsuit can be complex, which is why it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney before making any decisions.

The right attorney can help ensure that you get the best possible compensation and that your rights are protected throughout the entire process. With the right guidance, you may find yourself in a much better position come time for settlement negotiations or trial proceedings. 

Are you ready to schedule a free consultation? Work with a law firm that has the experience needed to help you win your case. Contact Sweet Law today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve for your wrongful death lawsuit.  

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