WRONGFUL DEATH IN ARIZONA – A BASIC GUIDE
Wrongful Death in Arizona is guided by Arizona Revised Statute 12-612 titled: Parties plaintiff; recovery; distribution; disqualification. An action for wrongful death accrues when due to either the intentional actions or the negligence of another, a death occurs that was not the person’s fault. It is a separate cause of action from personal injury claims, but it follows the same statute of limitations. Furthermore, there are limitations as to who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Let’s discuss.
In order for an individual to bring a wrongful death claim in Arizona, that person must have what is called “standing.” Standing means that the person bringing the suit is someone who would be entitled to damages if they had been the one injured or killed. In other words, standing requires a showing of some type of relationship between the person filing as discussed below.
While extremely unfortunate, the reality is deaths happen daily – no matter who you are. Sometimes, these deaths are caused by actions of others. For example, the Law Badgers’ attorneys have handled cases involving prisoners being assaulted and not receiving the proper medical care they need in the right amount of time. For example, and to give the reader a bit of background on prisoner wrongful deaths, Rolling Stone magazine wrote a longform article on the wrongful death of a prisoner in Arizona:
Wrongful Deaths in Arizona also occur in car accidents. Arizonans have been inundated with news of drivers driving the wrong way on our highways. Sometimes these drivers cause car accidents in a head-on collision. Again, appallingly, sometimes the innocent parties die due to their injuries. In that instance, the passengers of the innocent vehicle would be subject to claims of wrongful death against the wrong-way driver. This is where things get tricky.
WHO CAN SUE ON BEHALF OF THE DECEDENT?
Only specific people may bring a Wrongful Death claim in Arizona. These include:
- Surviving Spouse
- Surviving Children
- Surviving Parent/Guardian
- Personal Representative of the deceased person on behalf of the above.
- If nobody listed above survives, then the Personal Rep may bring a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
There are no other individuals that may bring a claim for wrongful death. That includes siblings, girlfriends/boyfriends/other significant others, friends, fiancees, cousins, etc.
COMMON TYPES OF CLAIMANTS
The most common type of claimant is a surviving spouse. In Arizona, if a husband and wife die as a result of the same wrongful act, the claims are brought jointly by the estate of each spouse. The next in line are surviving children. If there are no surviving children or spouses, then the parents of the deceased may bring the action. Barring any of those with standing, a personal representative may be able to bring claims on behalf of the estate.
Wrongful Death in Arizona can be a very complex type of claim to navigate. There may be Federal Law implications such as Civil Rights Violations. There will be a tough investigation to conduct. Evidence will be paramount from the beginning. Everything should be documented. All pieces of information should be immediately gathered in case someone alters documents or loses them altogether.
The Law Badgers team has decades of experience handling Wrongful Death Claims. They are the experienced team you want behind you in these situations. Call us now at 1.833.383.4448 (1.833.DTF.IGHT) for a free consultation.