Losing a loved one is never easy. This can be even more difficult if that loss occurs due to another individual’s negligence. If your loved one was involved in a fatal car accident, you are likely overwhelmed by many different concerns. In addition to dealing with your grief, you may have financial burdens from medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income. Compensation from a wrongful death claim can help ease your financial worries so you can focus on healing and grieving.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the legal term for a death that was caused by negligence. Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 12-611 gives a full legal definition. The person or corporation who was responsible for the death can be held liable if a personal injury claim would have otherwise been valid if the deceased individual had survived the accident.
Wrongful Death vs Manslaughter
Wrongful death and manslaughter have similar meanings, but they are not the same thing. Both indicate that the defendant unintentionally caused the death of another individual, either through negligence (wrongful death) or by acting recklessly (manslaughter). Wrongful death is a type of civil suit. The family of the deceased can bring these charges and recover damages in civil court. It is necessary to prove that the defendant was negligent by a preponderance of evidence. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is a criminal charge and will be brought by the government. The burden of proof is higher and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted recklessly.
It is possible for a criminal case and a civil case to occur for the same fatal car accident. This depends on the circumstances and these types of cases can be complex. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you understand the unique factors that influence your situation.
Fatal Car Accident Cases
A fatal car accident case proceeds similarly to a personal injury case where the victim survived. In Arizona (ARS 12-612), a wrongful death case can be brought by a surviving spouse, parent/guardian, or child. A personal representative can also pursue a case on behalf of one of these individuals or, if none of these survive, can pursue a case that will benefit the deceased individual’s estate.
Both economic and non-economic damages contribute to the amount of compensation. Economic damages include any medical bills, funeral/burial costs, and loss of the deceased individual’s expected income. Non-economic damages include pre-death pain and suffering, loss of companionship/care, and loss of consortium.
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Tucson, AZ
At Grabb & Durando, our personal injury lawyers understand how emotionally difficult wrongful death cases can be. We work hard to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on healing and grieving.