Wrongful Death in Arizona
Compensating families of those killed in auto accidents is not an easy process. Mohave Law PLLC can help guide you through wrongful death in Arizona. Arizona provides by statute that certain family members of a decedent can recover for their losses as a result of the family member’s wrongful death in an automobile accident. The personal representative of the passing family member’s estate can also bring a wrongful death claim, either on behalf of those family members or, if none survive the family member, on behalf of the family member’s estate. In order to prevail in a wrongful death case you must be able to prove negligence of the other driver.
Proving negligence requires proving the at-fault-party had a duty, breached the duty, that the breach was both the actual and proximate cause of the damages and that there are damages. In most auto collisions proving liability is not too complex.
The Arizona Wrongful Death Act, A.R.S. Section 12-611 thru 613 governs procedures for compensating survivors of family members killed in auto accidents. As mentioned, wrongful death laws are applied in addition to negligence laws when pursuing a wrongful death claim.
In Arizona, the damages or compensation available in wrongful death cases is defined by Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-613. The statute provides remedies as follows: “In an action for wrongful death, the jury shall give such damages as it deems fair and just with reference to the injury resulting from the death to the surviving parties who may be entitled to recover, and also having regard to the mitigating or aggravating circumstances attending the wrongful act, neglect or default. The amount recovered in such action shall not be subject to debts or liabilities of the deceased, unless the action is brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate.”
In Mohave County and all other Arizona counties, punitive damages can be awarded in wrongful death cases. In Arizona, the jury also decides what it deems fair and just as well as deciding both mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
A wrongful death claim must be brought as a single action. This will require the coordination of your family so that you do not duplicate efforts and jeopardize the case. In Arizona, if the case is not settled prior to the passing of two years after the death, then a lawsuit must be filed to protect the claim or it will be time-barred, See A.R.S. Section 12-542.
Wrongful death in Arizona only allows certain close family relations to be beneficiaries. Those claimants include children, parents or guardians and spouse of the decedent. Accordingly, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, grandchildren, ex-spouses and best friends can never be beneficiaries of the cause of action.
If you have a loved-one who was killed in an automobile accident within Arizona please contact our office to see if we can help. We understand money in no way substitutes for the loss of your family member, but it is the only remedy our justice system has to offer for the loss. We are available to discuss your options at Mohave Law’s Bullhead City office located at 2020 Silver Creek Road, Suite C-102; Bullhead City, Arizona 86442. Our phone number is (928)-263-2026.