It’s never easy losing someone you love. When their death was due to another person’s negligence, it can be especially painful for their surviving family, leaving those who loved them both emotionally and financially devastated.
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s careless actions, an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney from Hutzler Law can help you seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses through a wrongful death action.
About Hutzler Law
Hutzler Law is an aggressive trial-ready team that prioritizes giving clients personalized legal guidance to individuals and families in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers will serve as your personal representative to maximize your recovery and make sure justice is served. The Hutzler Law team treats every case it takes as if it will go to trial, backed by robust arguments, hard evidence, and years of experience.
Regardless of the circumstances of your loved one’s injury, we’re standing by to fight for your rights in the face of the wrongful death that left you with physical, emotional, and financial baggage.
Call us at (480) 841-9761 right now for your free case evaluation. We can talk to you 24/7.
Schedule a Free Case Consultation
If you have a loved one that you suspect has passed away due to the negligence of others, speak with wrongful death attorney Jason Hutzler today. We are here to listen.
How Our Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help You With Your Claim
An experienced wrongful death attorney from Hutzler Law can provide several services to assist clients with their wrongful death cases, including:
- Perform a thorough investigation of the accident to determine all sources of liability, all associated insurance resources that can compensate the family members, and evidence to prove the claim in court.
- Develop a claim value based on a tallying of monetary expenses incurred from the death and other factors involved in the claim, such as the recklessness that caused the accident, the amount of available insurance, and the long-term financial and emotional consequences for the deceased’s surviving family members.
- Demand the claim value from the at-fault party’s insurance provider. The insurance company can pay the claim, deny it and provide a reason, or make a fair offer to settle the claim out-of-court.
- Negotiate with the insurance provider to increase their compensatory offer.
- File a wrongful death lawsuit in court within the statute of limitations. Note: The filing of a wrongful death lawsuit does not end settlement negotiations; it often makes those negotiations more meaningful because it pressures the insurance provider to fairly compensate you for your loved one’s death.
- Litigating your wrongful death case, including arranging for eyewitness or expert testimony on their client’s behalf, preparing evidence exhibits, opening and closing arguments, and more.
- Collecting the proceeds of a negotiated settlement or court award.
The legal team at Hutzler Law understands that the most important services we can offer our wrongful death clients are the guidance and information they need. Our attorneys help clients make important decisions about their Phoenix wrongful death claim, such as whether to accept a settlement or file a wrongful death lawsuit. We can explain more about the process and the services we provide through a free consultation and no-obligation case evaluation.
The Definition of Wrongful Death in Arizona
Wrongful death in Arizona is defined as a death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default.” According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, unintentional injury is the third leading cause of death in the state, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths a year. While intentional injuries can also result in wrongful death claims, most wrongful death claims involve negligence.
Accidents That Can Result in a Wrongful Death Claim in Phoenix, AZ
About 200 fatal car accidents take place every year in the Phoenix area. Each of the city’s half-million business owners must protect customers from hazardous properties. In several amusement parks, the failure to ensure the safety of rides can easily lead to death.
Any accident that can cause an injury can also cause wrongful death.
Here is a look at some of the most common accidents that result in a wrongful death claim.
- Motor vehicle accidents, including those involving passenger cars, commercial trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Phoenix area leads the state in traffic fatalities, with nearly 500 deaths from more than 71,000 yearly accidents.
- Premises liability matters, such as slip-and-fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, or dog bite injuries. Around 60 swimming pool incidents occur yearly in Phoenix, resulting in around a dozen adult fatalities and multiple child fatalities.
The Wrongful Death Claims Process
The wrongful death claims process provides an opportunity for the deceased’s person’s loved ones to seek compensation for the financial and psychological costs of their losses. The process is similar to the personal injury claim process, which usually begins with a claim filed against the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
If the insurance company fails to fairly compensate the claim, the claimant can file the claim as a wrongful death lawsuit and let a judge or jury determine the appropriate financial compensation for the victim’s family. An estimated 95-96 percent of wrongful death lawsuits resolve before going to trial.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Phoenix?
Minimal family members are entitled to seek financial compensation through the Arizona wrongful death process.
This short list includes:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse.
- The deceased’s children.
- The deceased’s parents.
- The executor of the deceased’s estate, if there are no surviving family members.
How to Prove Liability in a Wrongful Death Case
For a positive outcome to a Phoenix wrongful death claim, the claimant and their attorney must prove that someone else was liable for the accident.
To prove liability, you must show:
- The at-fault party had a duty to take reasonable actions to prevent harm to others in specific circumstances. In motor vehicle accident wrongful death claims, this duty is to operate the vehicle safely and under Arizona’s traffic laws. In premises liability wrongful death cases, this duty is to regularly inspect the property for hazards and to promptly mitigate them.
- The at-fault party took unsafe actions that breached the duty owed to the deceased person. In a car accident, unsafe actions that breach the duty of care include risky driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, or alcohol impairment and negligent failures to act, such as driving on bald tires. In premises liability claims, a breach in the duty owed occurs if the property owner fails to regularly inspect their property, mitigate the hazard, or promptly warn others of an unmitigated hazard.
- The breach of duty resulted in a fatal accident, and the deceased’s family members suffered expenses and effects related to their loved one’s death.
The Type of Available Compensation
In the legal arena, damages refer to a payment made in compensation for harm. Phoenix’s wrongful death law enables the surviving spouse or other members of the family to seek two types of compensation in the event of wrongful death—economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to compensation for the expenses you incurred due to the loss. Examples of common economic expenses in wrongful death actions include:
- Medical bills and other medical expenses related to the treatment of the deceased’s final injury.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Lost wages that the deceased provided their family.
- Loss of inheritance that the deceased’s family members would have likely obtained if the deceased had lived long enough to complete their career.
- Repair or replacement of the deceased’s property damaged in the accident.
- Loss of household services provided by the deceased, such as mowing the lawn, or laundry.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for the often profound quality-of-life impacts that an individual or family experiences from the loss of a loved one, such as:
- The loss of love, guidance, comfort, and affection the deceased provided for their family members.
- Emotional pain and suffering and mental anguish of surviving spouse and family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Evidence to prove a wrongful death claim
The evidence a wrongful death lawyer will need to prove your case includes:
- The accident report. This document has the investigating officer’s account of why the accident occurred. The report will contain witnesses’ names and contact information, as well as any citations issued to the responsible party.
- Photographs from the scene can depict the conditions in which the accident occurred.
- Documentation from emergency responders and physicians about life-saving procedures performed.
- Pertinent information in the case, such as a driver with a history of DUI-related charges or a business with multiple complaints regarding a hazardous property.
My loved one died in a motorcycle accident, and they weren’t wearing a helmet. Is there compensation available?
Yes, provided someone else’s negligence caused the accident. Surviving family members of individuals 18 years of age or older killed in motorcycle accidents could receive compensation if their loved one was not wearing a helmet. Arizona law allows motorcycle riders age 18 or older to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
Surviving family members of someone who was under the age of 18 and not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred may still recover compensation, but it will likely be reduced because motorcyclists under 18 must legally wear a helmet.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona?
The statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years, just as it is for most personal injury claims. This deadline is extremely important, as failing to file your wrongful death lawsuit in court within the statute of limitations usually results in losing your ability to use the court system. Without the threat of a lawsuit, most insurance companies will not offer a settlement because there are no legal ramifications if they don’t.
I can’t afford an attorney to help me with my wrongful death suit. What should I do?
Call for a free consultation and case evaluation with our experienced wrongful death attorney, who can tell you more about the process and explain the contingent fee billing method we use. This method allows us to begin working immediately on your wrongful death case, and you do not have to pay for our services until we recover compensation for your damages.
My loved one did not die immediately from the accident. Can I still file a claim?
Yes, provided the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence, and you file the claim within the two-year statute of limitations. In a personal injury lawsuit, the statute of limitations clock begins ticking on the day the accident occurred. In wrongful death lawsuits, the clock doesn’t begin to run until death.
Our Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You
The legal team at Hutzler Law understands that no amount of compensation can bring back a loved one and the important impact their presence had on your life. We are committed to assisting you in obtaining the compensation you need to begin moving forward after your loss. While the vast majority of wrongful death claims resolve by settlement, as your personal representative, we ensure that the claims we handle are courtroom-ready by building the strongest case possible for our client.
Hutzler Law, PLLC – Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyers
4323 N 12th St, Suite 101,
Phoenix, AZ 85014