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Wrongful Death Attorney in Scottsdale

Losing a loved one in an accident that could have been prevented if it wasn’t for another person’s negligence is devastating. However, it’s important to know that you can still seek compensation on behalf of your loved one and make the at-fault party responsible for their actions. Learn how wrongful death cases work in Arizona and how a Scottsdale wrongful death attorney can help you get justice for your loved one.

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death case is a civil lawsuit that arises when one person is killed due to the negligence or wrongful act of another. It is a way for the family of the deceased to seek justice and financial compensation for their loss.

Wrongful death cases work similarly to any other personal injury cases in the sense that they are based on negligence – someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior created a dangerous situation that led to an accident in which a victim gets injured and sustains damages. However, in a wrongful death case in Scottsdale, the injuries were so severe that the plaintiff did not survive, so the plaintiff’s family could file a wrongful death suit to recover damages on behalf of their loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Arizona?

In Arizona, only certain individuals are legally permitted to initiate a Scottsdale wrongful death case, including the decedent’s spouse, parents, guardian, child, or a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It may come as a surprise that other relatives such as grandparents, siblings, cousins, same-sex partners, and common law spouses may not file a wrongful death claim, according to Arizona laws.

The family member or legal representative who files a wrongful death lawsuit in Scottsdale is essentially taking legal action the same way the decedent would have if they had survived the accident. In other words, if you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit for your family member, you may need to be ready to support your case with evidence proving how the at-fault party’s negligence resulted in serious damages and led to the death of your loved one. Working with a wrongful death lawyer in Scottsdale is essential for a successful case.

What Kind of Damages Can You Recover in a Scottsdale Wrongful Death Case?

As a category of personal injury case, a wrongful death claim allows the surviving family members of the plaintiff to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages resulting from the accident, their loved one’s injuries, and their loved one’s death. Economic damages include financial losses such as any medical expenses and hospital bills for emergency care the victim may have received before passing away, as well as other related losses. These may include lost wages and loss of future income that the decedent would have generated and can also include funeral expenses and burial expenses.

The courts also understand that no amount of money is enough to make up for the loss of your loved one, so the next best thing they can do is to provide restitution for the emotional distress and grief the surviving family of the plaintiff is likely experiencing. This can be done through the payment of non-economic damages, including pain and suffering as a result of the death and loss of consortium, and if the decedent had children, they might also be compensated for the loss of care, guidance, and companionship. Your personal injury legal representation in Scottsdale can advise you on the estimated value of your claim and the types of damages you may be eligible to claim on behalf of your family member.

Can a Scottsdale Wrongful Death Case Be Criminal?

A wrongful death claim is a civil case handled by a civil court, and because of that, it cannot result in any type of criminal conviction for the defendant. In a civil case, the victim of the defendant’s wrongdoing (or their surviving relative) is encumbered with the job of initiating the case and proving that the defendant was negligent and their negligence led to an accident that left the plaintiff injured and caused financial damages. If the defendant is found to be at fault for the plaintiff’s damages, the court may order the defendant to pay monetary compensation to “make the plaintiff whole” and leave the plaintiff in the position they would have been in if the defendant had not been negligent.

In contrast, a criminal case is brought by a prosecutor on behalf of the state and seeks to punish a defendant for their acts with penalties such as fines and imprisonment. It is up to the prosecutor to prove their case. If the defendant is found guilty, they may face prison time, fines and end up with a criminal record. However, it is rare for a criminal case to result in any type of financial restitution for the victim. For this reason, it is not uncommon for civil and criminal cases to be ongoing simultaneously.

For example, suppose an individual has committed vehicular manslaughter after driving drunk and killing a pedestrian. The state may seek a criminal conviction against that person while the surviving relatives of the person killed by the defendant may initiate a wrongful death claim to hold the defendant financially liable for their actions.

Each wrongful death case is unique. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s recklessness, you need a strong legal ally that can help you seek justice on behalf of your deceased loved one. The Wilson Ortiz Law Firm is here to help. Call our office in Scottsdale at 623-294-1442 to request a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.