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What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Are you the surviving victim of a wrongful death and considering options for a lawsuit? Filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be an option for you to get the justice and compensation you and your loved ones deserve. Read on to learn more about what a wrongful death is, whether you have the ability to sue for wrongful death, and the compensation you may receive from a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If a victim could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they not died, there is most likely a case for a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is a way for those who were close to the deceased to file a lawsuit against the person or party that is responsible for the death. These lawsuits not only give them closure, but they can also offer justice in the form of compensation. 

What Qualifies As Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the recklessness or misconduct of another person. The death could have been intentional or unintentional. Among other things, wrongful death can occur if any of the following things lead to the end of a life:

  • Murder
  • Medical malpractice
  • Gross negligence
  • Car accident injuries

How Much Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?

The average wrongful death settlement depends on the case and can vary greatly. The amount awarded will be conditional on the circumstances of the case, who the defendant is, the severity of the death, and the availability of evidence. Generally, compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit can range anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million. Compensation for your own case could be more or less than this.

Who Has The Right To Sue For Wrongful Death? 

Every state has their own laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a victim. Usually, these laws assign designated beneficiaries who may sue for wrongful death. These designated beneficiaries are usually defined through their relationship to the deceased. 

On the other hand, some states only allow a wrongful death claim to be brought by the victim’s estate in order to compensate for losses due to the victim’s death. 

In Arizona

Arizona uses the designated beneficiary system, meaning people who had a certain relationship with the deceased are able to file a wrongful death claim. This includes the deceased’s:

  • Spouse
  • Parent or Guardian
  • Child

If none of these relationships exist, the estate of the deceased can be used to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Arizona also lists the types of relatives who are not able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. These include: 

  • Siblings or other relatives
  • Same-sex spouses 
  • Common-law spouses 
  • Life partners 

What Must Be Proven In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To prove wrongful death, your lawyer will use several different strategies, look for evidence, and do in-depth research into your case. Ultimately, there are four things that need to be proven for your wrongful death claim to be valid. 

  • Negligence: It must be proven that the death was caused in whole or in part by recklessness. 
  • Breach of Duty: Drivers have a duty to drive safely, just as doctors have a duty to act in their patients’ best interests. Establishing how this duty was breached is key to a wrongful death lawsuit. 
  • Causation: The victim must show that the defendant’s negligence ultimately caused the victim’s death.
  • Damages: The victim’s death must generate quantifiable damages such as funeral costs, lost income, hospitalization, etc. 

Is It Difficult To Prove Wrongful Death?

Proving the four elements of wrongful death listed above can be tough work and is something that is better left to an experienced lawyer. At Massey Law Firm, we have a long history of working on wrongful death lawsuits. We will work with you every step of the way to make sure that you get the justice your deceased loved one deserves. 

Get A Free Case Review

If you are interested in learning more about your options regarding a wrongful death lawsuit, give our office a call today at 602-955-0055. Someone from our team will review your case for free.



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