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Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney
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Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

The loss of a loved one to an accident is a tragic event and there is nothing anyone can do to replace them. In addition to the emotional turmoil it creates, such a loss one can create devastating financial pressures, especially if the loved one was the sole earner for the family. Arizona law, however, provides a legal remedy for surviving family members to seek compensation if their loved one was killed as a result of negligence. In these cases, a Phoenix wrongful death claim may be available to help put your family as close as possible to the financial position you were prior to the death.

Further, a wrongful death claim can also compensate you and your family for the loss of the emotional support, contribution of your loved one to your household, other intangible effects of the loss. A successful wrongful death claim can also provide closure and some semblance of justice for families.

At The Entrekin Law Firm, we understand how difficult the aftermath of a tragic death can be. We have dedicated our practice to helping those who have suffered from preventable accidents and will fight relentlessly for justice for your loved one. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Phoenix Wrongful Death Resources

To immediately access the resources at any point on this page, click the corresponding link below.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Common Accidents Leading to Wrongful Death Claims
Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?
Do You Need an Attorney for Your Case?
Process of a Wrongful Death Case
Settlement vs. Trial
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
Working With Insurance Companies
Damages in a Phoenix Wrongful Death Case
What is My Case Worth?
Arizona’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
Wrongful Death FAQs
Speak to an Attorney Today

Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that can be brought against an individual or entity who has caused the death of another through negligent or intentional actions. If the plaintiff is successful, they may be awarded damages for their loss, including medical and funeral expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Although there’s no amount of money that can ever make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can help to ensure that the family of the deceased is financially compensated for their loss.

Common Accidents that Lead to Wrongful Death Claims

Losing a loved one to a tragic accident that was caused by someone or something else may entitle your family to compensation through a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim under Arizona Law can be brought by:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • The surviving children of the deceased
  • The surviving parents of the deceased
  • A person claiming on behalf of the deceased’s estate

Common accidents that lead to wrongful death claims include:

If your loved one suffered before death or did not succumb to their injuries immediately, a wrongful death claim may be paired with a survival action. A survival action can preserve the opportunity to recover damages they may have been eligible for had they survived, such as pain and suffering.

Whatever the accident that led to the death of your loved one, when it was caused by someone or something else, you will be entitled to compensation. To collect compensation you will have to prove the cause of the accident by using evidence, evidence that would be admissible in court if your claim is denied and a lawsuit is necessary. Your local Phoenix wrongful death lawyer will handle the process for you every step of the way, so you can focus on coping with your loss and managing life after it.

Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?

In Arizona, the following individuals may bring a wrongful death claim:

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse
  • Any surviving child of the deceased person
  • A surviving parent or guardian of the deceased person
  • The deceased person’s personal representative 

If none of the above individuals are available to file a wrongful death claim, Arizona law allows for the claim to be brought by the individual who would inherit the deceased person’s property under Arizona’s intestate succession laws. 

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Case?

Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when their death was the result of someone else’s negligence. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While it is possible to represent yourself in court, it is almost always in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. Here’s why:

1. An Attorney Can Help You Prove Fault

To win a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant is at fault for your loved one’s death. This can be a difficult task, especially if you are not familiar with the legal process. An attorney will know how to collect and present evidence that will show that the defendant is liable for your loved one’s death.

It’s particularly important that your attorney try to remove any of the blame from your loved one that they played a part in their death. If it’s determined that they were partially responsible, any damages you receive will be reduced accordingly.

2. An Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Legal System

The legal system can be complicated, and if you don’t have experience with it, you may make mistakes that could jeopardize your case. For example, if you miss a deadline, that could derail your entire case.

3. An Attorney Can Help You Maximize Your Damages

If you are successful in your wrongful death lawsuit, you may be entitled to damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income. An experienced attorney will know how to calculate these damages and ensure that you receive the full amount that you are entitled to.

Process of a Wrongful Death Claim

Process of a Phoenix Wrongful Death Claim

In Arizona, loved ones are able to file wrongful death claims in order to seek justice and compensation. The following are some of the steps in the process of filing a wrongful death claim in Phoenix.

Have Your Case Reviewed by an Attorney

The first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim is to have your case reviewed by an attorney. An experienced attorney will assess the validity of your claim and determine whether there are grounds to pursue it further.


If the lawyer decides to take on your case, they will launch a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. This includes collecting evidence of any negligence that may have been involved and reviewing liability policies that may apply to the situation.

Evaluate Financial Losses

Another important part of the process is calculating any financial losses incurred as a result of your loved one’s passing. This includes lost wages from their job as well as any other potential income sources such as investments or business ventures. 

All relevant financial records should be gathered for this purpose. It is also important to consider potential pain and suffering experienced that result from losing your loved one, as this is often recoverable compensation.

Make Contact With The At-Fault Party

Once all relevant information has been gathered and assessed, contact must then be made with the at-fault party (or their insurance company) notifying them of intentions to file a claim against them for damages incurred due to their negligence. This should be done by your lawyer.

Seek Compensation from At-Fault Party

Once you file a claim, settlement negotiations will then commence with the defendant’s attorney to reach an agreement on an appropriate amount of compensation for damages incurred. If no settlement can be reached, further legal action may be taken to seek justice through the court system instead.

Settlement vs. Trial

Making the decision between settling or taking your Phoenix wrongful death claim to court is an important and difficult one. It’s important to have a knowledgeable attorney to help you in this process.

When deciding whether it’s best for you to settle or take your wrongful death claim to trial, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. These include: 

  • The amount of compensation being offered in settlement – Is the settlement offer enough? Will it compensate for lost wages and medical bills? Does it reflect emotional distress caused by the death? 
  • The strength of your case – Do you have compelling evidence that supports your wrongful death claim? Are there any potential weaknesses in your case that could weaken your chances at trial?       
  • Cost – Litigation can be expensive – is it worth going through with a trial if it will cost more than what you would get from a settlement?      
  • Time – Settlements can be reached much faster than trials, so if time is of the essence, a settlement might be the better option.           
  • Experience – An experienced attorney can provide guidance and advice on which option is right for you based on their experience handling similar cases.     
  • Emotional Factors – This decision involves consideration of both financial and emotional factors so make sure you get advice from someone who understands both sides of this complex equation.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would under the circumstances. To win a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions (or lack thereof) fell below this standard of care and resulted in the death of their loved one. 

For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s cancer in its early stages, and the cancer goes on to spread and ultimately be fatal, the doctor could be found guilty of negligence. Similarly, if an employee at a construction site does not follow safety protocol and this results in another employee being killed in an accident, the first employee could be held liable for wrongful death. 

To prove negligence in a wrongful death claim, there are four elements that must be present: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. 

Duty: The first step is to show that the person who caused your loved one’s death had a duty to exercise reasonable care. For example, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.

Breach of Duty: Once you have established that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, you must then show that they breached that duty. For example, if your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you would show that the driver breached their duty by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. A Phoenix car accident attorney would be able to help you litigate your case.

Causation: The next step is to show that the breach of duty was the direct cause of your loved one’s death. This can be tricky to establish, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it can be done. 

Damages: Lastly, you will need to show that you have suffered damages as a result of your loved one’s death. These might include things like funeral expenses, loss of income, or loss of companionship.

Working With Insurance Companies for a Wrongful Death Claim

When the wrongful death of a loved one occurs, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is dealing with insurance companies. Unfortunately, when pursuing a wrongful death claim in Arizona, this is often an unavoidable step.

When insurance companies receive notice of a wrongful death claim, they initiate investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident. 

During this process, it is important that claimants provide only factual information. Insurance company representatives may attempt to ask leading questions or make statements implying fault or culpability on behalf of the claimant to reduce or deny any potential payment due on valid claims. These tactics are usually not illegal but can be difficult for individuals without legal training to detect and combat effectively.

A wrongful death attorney can negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement and prevent plaintiffs from being taken advantage of. Insurance companies are typically more responsive when communicating with lawyers than when dealing directly with individuals who aren’t versed in the law. Always speak with a lawyer before engaging with the insurance company.

Damages in a Phoenix Wrongful Death Claim

If you are successful in your wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value attached to them, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, or lost wages. 

Non-economic damages are more subjective, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium (the loss of companionship or emotional support). 

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if it is determined that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. This is intended to punish the defendant and deter them and others from engaging in a similar type of behavior in the future. The Arizona statute doesn’t explicitly discuss punitive damages, but states any damages the jury deems fair can be awarded.

How Much is My Case Worth?

The amount of money awarded in a wrongful death case will depend on many different factors. Some of these factors include: 

  • The age of the victim 
  • The income of the victim 
  • The number of dependents the victim had 
  • The relationship between the victim and the plaintiff 
  • The defendant’s financial resources 
  • The amount of insurance coverage available 
  • Whether punitive damages are available 

Arizona’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Arizona’s statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident or injury. This includes wrongful death claims. This means that if you do not file suit within two years of the date of the accident, your case will likely be dismissed by the court and you will lose your right to compensation. 

The Two-Year Rule Applies To Most Cases But There Are Exceptions

There are some very important exceptions to the Arizona statute of limitations that could apply in your case and extend the deadline for filing suit. These include:

Claims Against The Government: If you are suing a government entity such as a city, county, or a state or federal agency, you only have 180 days from the date of the accident or injury to provide notice of your claim. After that time period expires, you will forever be barred from recovering compensation unless an exception applies. Therefore, if you plan on pursuing a claim against a government entity it is absolutely critical that you contact an attorney immediately so they can begin investigating your claim and meet all deadlines. 

Fraudulent Concealment: In some cases, defendants will try to hide their liability by keeping information about their wrongdoing hidden from victims and their families. If this occurs, then the statute of limitations may be extended for up to three years from when victims discover (or reasonably should have discovered) defendants’ fraud.

How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?

Most wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they are successful in obtaining a settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. Contingency fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the total amount recovered, so you will not be responsible for any upfront legal fees. The percentage is usually between 33% and 40%. 

If your case does go to trial, there may be additional costs associated with taking the case to court. These costs could include expert witness fees, court filing fees, and other litigation expenses. Your lawyer will typically advance these costs on your behalf and only seek reimbursement if you are successful in obtaining a verdict or settlement.

Phoenix Wrongful Death FAQs

How Long Does a Person Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona?

In Arizona, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death:

“Except as provided in section 12-551 there shall be commenced and prosecuted within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, the following actions:….2. For injuries done to the person of another when death ensues from such injuries, which action shall be considered as accruing at the death of the party injured.”

If you miss this deadline, you will be prohibited from filing a claim and recovering compensation.

How Long Does a Wrongful Death Claim Take?

How long it takes to pursue a wrongful death action depends on several factors, including how complicated your case is, whether the insurance company is cooperating, and whether you have an attorney representing you. Generally speaking, it could take anywhere from one to three years to complete your wrongful death claim.

How is The Money Distributed?

Arizona law only states that compensation from a wrongful death claim should be distributed to eligible beneficiaries in proportion to their damages: “The amount recovered in an action for wrongful death shall be distributed to the parties provided for in subsection A of this section in proportion to their damages, and if recovery is on behalf of the decedent’s estate the amount shall be an asset of the estate.”

In some cases, all beneficiaries agree to take certain percentages or equal shares. If the beneficiaries can’t agree on the best way to distribute the money, the court will step in and decide based on each beneficiary’s relationship with the deceased.  

For example, if one beneficiary was financially dependent upon the deceased while another was not, then they may receive different distributions of funds based on their individual losses.

Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer

Discuss Your Case with a Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer

Working with a local Phoenix wrongful death lawyer who is familiar with the courts and procedures in your area will support the best possible outcome in your case. While you are dealing with the loss of your loved one, also trying to put together the best possible wrongful death claim on behalf of your family can be extremely difficult. With a lawyer on your side, you can step back and allow your attorney to handle the entire process for you, taking the stress out of your day-to-day life.

At The Entrekin Law Firm, we strive to be that advocate for our clients. Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Phoenix are standing by to provide a risk-free, cost-free assessment on your case. We only get paid if we win, and you never have to pay anything out-of-pocket.

To discuss options on how we can help you recover the full amount in compensation that you are entitled to, schedule a consultation today.

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