Depending on the severity of the accident, individuals might perish immediately or suffer injuries that are ultimately fatal. When this happens, it is crucial that the surviving loved ones consult with a legal professional for guidance and representation.
The Glendale wrongful death attorneys at The Law Offices of John Phebus understand that the loss of a loved one can be devastating both emotionally and financially. If the deceased was a major wage earner in the family, it can be nearly impossible to financially recover from exorbitant medical bills and funeral expenses. Placing a dollar figure on the life of a loved one can be a frustrating and confusing experience. Let us worry about the legal process while you focus your attention on grieving your loss.
Peoria Fatal Accident Attorneys
If your loved one was fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident, due to medical malpractice or through another serious accident, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Glendale. Once liability has been determined after a thorough examination of the accident, we will negotiate a beneficial settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. If a settlement cannot be reached, we are fully confident in our ability to represent you in court. It is our goal to recover the maximum monetary compensation possible in your situation to provide financial stability for your family following this devastating loss.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death?
Not everyone has the privilege of filing for wrongful death. As in the case in most states, Arizona limits the ability to file for wrongful death to only certain parties close to the deceased person. Arizona Revised Statute 12-612 states who can and cannot file a lawsuit after the wrongful death of a party. The law gives the initial opportunity to file to the deceased person’s surviving husband or wife. The opportunity next passes to the decedent’s adult child, then a parent or guardian. If these parties do not wish to bring the claim themselves, they can use a personal representative of the deceased person to file on behalf of all surviving loved ones.
A successful wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of family members could result in compensation for losses such as grief, mental anguish, pain and suffering, unpaid medical expenses, past and future lost wages, lost inheritance, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial costs. The courts will distribute compensation for wrongful death to the parties listed above in proportion to their losses. In most cases, the spouse and children of the decedent will receive the bulk of an award due to their dependence on the decedent.
Should the deceased person have no surviving spouse, child, parents or guardians, a representative of the decedent may bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate. In these cases, any compensation awarded will become an asset of the estate. The estate may then use the money to pay off outstanding debts and/or fulfill the wishes of the decedent’s will (e.g. going to named beneficiaries). In a wrongful death case in which a surviving spouse, child or parent committed a crime that took the life of the decedent, that party loses the right to file a wrongful death claim or recover benefits.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing in Arizona?
If you are one of the eligible parties who can file for wrongful death after medical malpractice in Arizona, the next rule to learn is the state’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a law requiring plaintiffs to file claims by a certain deadline. The point of a statute of limitations is to keep the civil justice system just for both parties. Without a deadline to file, a plaintiff could theoretically wait until the loss of important evidence on the defendant’s side to bring a claim. The courts in Arizona take statutes of limitations very seriously, with few exceptions to the rule.
In a medical malpractice wrongful death claim, the wrongful death statute of limitations will typically apply. This deadline is two years from the date of the loved one’s death, not the date of the malpractice that caused the death. This differs from a personal injury claim, in which the clock starts ticking on the date of the negligent or reckless act. If your loved one died days or weeks after the alleged medical malpractice, the time limit on filing a claim will not begin until the date of death.
Some wrongful death claims qualify for exceptions to the general statute of limitations rule. If the filing party (such as a child of the deceased) is a minor under the age of 18, he or she will have two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a claim, regardless of the date of the parent’s death. The courts will also toll, or extend, the deadline in most cases involving criminal charges. If the party that caused your loved one’s death is on trial for a crime, the civil courts may toll the statute of limitations until the completion of the criminal case. Speak to an attorney from The Law Offices of John Phebus to learn your precise deadline to file. It is important to meet this deadline if you wish to retain any right to damages.
Contact Our Glendale And Peoria Offices
If you have questions regarding personal injuries, car accidents, medical malpractice and more, schedule a free consultation at The Law Offices of John Phebus. Our Glendale wrongful death attorney can be reached by calling 623-847-7117 or by completing our online contact form. Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend appointments are available based on the needs of our clients.