Losing a loved one is never an easy experience. If your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence, it can make the process even more difficult, both emotionally and in regard to practical concerns. Medical bills, lost wages, and other financial concerns can be overwhelming. A wrongful death claim is one way to recover damages after such a loss. However, only certain individuals can file these claims in Arizona. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney during the process so you know what to expect and to have support as you proceed.
Individuals Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims
Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 12-612 Section A outlines who can file a wrongful death claim in the State of Arizona.
People with the following relationships to the deceased may bring an action for wrongful death:
- Husband or wife
- Parent or guardian
- Personal representative
This essentially restricts the list of individuals who can file a claim for wrongful death to the deceased’s immediate family members.
One of the individuals who can file a claim is a “personal representative.” Specifically, a personal representative can file a claim on behalf of the deceased’s spouse, child, parent, or guardian. If none of these individuals survived the deceased, then the personal representative can file on behalf of the deceased’s estate. This allows for a claim to be brought even if there are no survivors of the deceased who meet the other qualifications in this statute.
ARS 12-612 defines a personal representative as “any person to whom letters testamentary or of administration are granted by competent authority under the laws of this or any other state.” In simpler terms, this is the person who a person’s will or, if there is no will, a court of law appoints to handle the affairs of a deceased individual. Other states refer to a personal representative as an executor.
While a personal representative can sue for wrongful death, the process will be different than if an immediate family member were to do so since a personal representative cannot recover damages directly.
Navigating a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death case proceeds in a similar manner to a personal injury case. You will need to demonstrate that the death was a result of negligence and will need to account for the damages including funeral expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, loss of consortium, et cetera. Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complex, and it helps to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Wrongful Death Attorneys in Tucson
At Grabb & Durando, we have extensive experience fighting for the rights of Tucsonans who have been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence. We can help your family through this difficult time and will manage the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on grieving.