At some point, we will all pass away. But unexpected or wrongful death is a different story. When loss of life is preventable, the question of who is responsible will inevitably arise. While nothing can reverse the wrong of preventable death, compensation for the surviving loved ones may ease some of the burdens that come with it. At Jeff GOULD Law, we are the Attorney in YOUR Corner, and we know that when seeking representation for a wrongful death case, it’s important to know what questions to ask. So, here are 4 questions to ask your wrongful death lawyer.
What is Wrongful Death?
According to Arizona Revised Statutes 12-611, wrongful death is a death caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default by another party. In other words, wrongful death occurs when an individual dies as the result of the legal fault of another person. This includes intentional acts or negligence-based death.
When seeking a lawyer for your wrongful death case, it’s important that you find someone who can explain every aspect of that case to you, even the most basic. Securing a lawyer who can explain exactly what wrongful death means will allow you to be as prepared and informed as possible for the rest of the case. It will also demonstrate that your lawyer is able to articulate the complicated and important aspects of your case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Only a personal representative can file a wrongful death suit for a loved one. In Arizona, there are 4 types of relationships with the deceased permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state’s civil courts:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse;
- Any surviving child of the deceased person;
- A surviving parent or guardian of the deceased person; and/or,
- The deceased person’s representative or executor, on behalf of a surviving spouse, child, parent, or estate if none of those people survived the deceased
Understanding what this means for your particular circumstances is vital in deciding if you have a valid case. Your attorney should be able to walk you through whether they think that your case is viable based on your relationship with the deceased, among other factors.
What Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case?
No amount of money can replace a lost life. When a loved one dies unexpectedly, the surviving loved ones may be left with insurmountable difficulties. This may include inherited debt, loss of family income, or bereavement. The goal of a wrongful death case is to offset some of these damages so that the surviving loved ones can begin to heal.
It’s hard to assign a number to these hardships, but your lawyer should be able to give you an idea of what is reasonable to seek, given the circumstances. In general, wrongful death lawsuits may seek expenses for loss of benefits or income that were covered by the deceased, funeral costs, related medical bills, or pain and suffering.
What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Approaches Me about a Wrongful Settlement?
Insurance companies that cover the individual who is alleged to have caused the death will likely come to you with a settlement offer. It’s important to remember that these people work for the insurance company-not you. Any settlement offer is an attempt to avoid the problem that a wrongful death case would cause as inexpensively and quickly as possible – the goal, during your time of grief, is to pay as little as possible and to keep the money for their shareholders.
Fight back by learning about your rights and responsibilities by calling Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney in YOUR Corner, to advise you on how to navigate these situations. As a rule of thumb, it’s never a good idea to accept these lowball offers. Seek the advice of your wrongful death lawyer before answering any insurance company that offers you a settlement.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.