Have you lost a loved one to the negligent actions of another party? If so, please call a wrongful death lawyer Maricopa County, AZ trusts, such as one from the Saavedra Law Firm.
Wrongful death claims can be filed for both accidental and intentional deaths; however, most are filed based upon claims of negligence. Examples of these cases include, but are certainly not limited to:
Depending on the case, the liable party might be criminally charged, and could face imprisonment. Even if this is true for your situation, you can still pursue a civil claim.
Proving a Wrongful Death
In order to prove a wrongful death, you must demonstrate that the party was negligent, careless, reckless, or acted with malicious intent, and that their actions (or lack of) resulted in the death of a person. If the death was intentional, there must be evidence to support that claim. If you retain a wrongful death lawyer in Maricopa County, Arizona, it will be up to him or her to show the burden of proof.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arizona?
According to Arizona legislation, family members of a person who died can file a claim for compensation. These claims can be filed by a:
Before a claim can be filed, the family member must first be appointed by the estates’ personal representative. In general, the family will agree on who will hold this position. As a wrongful death lawyer in Maricopa, AZ can explain in more detail during a consultation, one claim is typically filed on behalf of all parties involved.
Steps to Filing a Case
If you believe you have a case, the first step to take is to call an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Maricopa County, AZ. If the Saavedra Law Firm determines that you have a valid case, a personal representative should be appointed by the court. This procedure is generally done through the probate court located in the county where the decedent last resided. In addition to this, a lawyer may need to help you with the following:
Wrongful death cases can take anywhere from 8 months to 2 years, or more. How long your case might take will depend on the circumstances. The same principle applies to the value of your case. In other words, it cannot be said what your case is worth until it is thoroughly reviewed and investigated.
If Your Loved One Was Lost Due to Work-Related Harm
In Arizona, surviving loved ones of employees (who are eligible for workers’ compensation at the time of their deaths) whose fatal injuries were caused by work-related harm – injury or illness – are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits under certain circumstances. Arizona law provides for up to $5,000 in burial expenses in addition to general compensation awards. The amount and distribution of these awards is dependent upon the wages that the deceased was earning at the time of their death and the dependents that they left behind.
For example, if an employee is survived by a spouse and the couple had no children, the spouse is entitled to two-thirds of the average monthly wage earned by the deceased paid in monthly installments. The surviving spouse is entitled to receive this compensation amount until they pass away or remarry. In the event of remarriage, they may collect a final amount of compensation equal to two years’ worth of compensation owed, in a lump sum. However, if the deceased and surviving spouse shared children, the compensation award is subject to the same terms but the amount reduces to 35 percent of the average monthly wage of the deceased. The surviving children of the deceased, shared by the surviving spouse are then entitled to an additional 31 percent of the average monthly wage – divided equally among them, if there are more than one, until each reaches the age of 18 or 22 if they are enrolled as a full-time college student. The surviving spouse will then be paid as if there were no shared children once all of the shared children reach these milestones and are no longer eligible for benefits.
Different standards apply to single surviving children, the parents of a deceased worker who was unmarried and had no children, as well as brothers and sisters of deceased workers. In short, closely-related relatives of workers eligible for workers’ compensation benefits who died as a result of work-related harm may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits, subject to very specific conditions and award terms. If this form of compensation may be relevant to your situation, speak with our team about your eligibility and the claims process so that we can advise you of your rights.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases Related to Wrongful Death
It is important to understand that any civil action you may file in regards to the loss of your loved one is independent from any criminal proceedings that may or may not be filed related to your loss. Too often, surviving loved ones are not informed that they may hold individuals civilly liable for criminal wrongdoing that leads to a loved one’s death. Whether the individual(s) who caused your loved one’s fatal injuries have or have not been criminally charged – and if they’ve been criminally charged, whether or not they are found guilty – has no bearing on your ability to hold them liable in civil court. The standard of proof is far lower in civil court than it is in criminal court, so you may be able to hold someone accountable for your loss in civil court even if a prosecutor can’t make charges stick in a criminal context.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have lost someone to the negligent, or wrongful, actions of another person or entity, please call a wrongful death lawyer in Maricopa County, Arizona today. Call the Saavedra Law Firm, PLC to learn about your rights and to be advised of your legal options.