Why is the death I believe was wrong? The unexpected death of a family member or friend places a significant burden on everyone in the family. You are
Why is the death I believe was wrong? The unexpected death of a family member or friend places a significant burden on everyone in the family. You are struggling with profound loss and a sense of disorientation, and in some instances, you may even feel rage. The experience of all of these feelings is completely natural after suffering a loss. When you anticipate a loss, you are better able to manage the range of emotions you experience. These emotions could be made worse by an unexpected loss.
When someone is suddenly taken from us, it is natural for us to wonder what transpired in their last moments that led to their passing. Unfortunately, in some cases, families may learn that a member of their family would still be alive if it weren’t for the actions or inactions of another person or party. This can be a devastating discovery. When something like this takes place, there may be grounds for filing a claim for wrongful death.
- 1 Arizona Wrongful Death Claims: Why is the death I believe was wrong?
- 2 Types of Documentary Proof in Wrongful Death Claims
- 3 Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims
- 4 How Insurance Adjusters Deal with Wrongful Death Claims
- 5 Affording an Attorney to Assist With a Wrongful Death Claim
Arizona Wrongful Death Claims: Why is the death I believe was wrong?
According to the state’s legal definition, “wrongful death” refers to “a death caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.”
Statutes that govern wrongful deaths allow certain members of a deceased person’s family to file a claim for compensation if they can demonstrate that their family member would still be alive if it weren’t for the act that led to their passing.
To establish that a person died as a result of another’s negligence, you must prove:
Concern Obligatory Failure to Exercise Reasonable Care the Proximate or Actual Cause of the Damages Sustained
Before they are allowed to pursue a wrongful death suit on your behalf, your attorney for wrongful death must first demonstrate that one of these four elements has been met. Let’s take a look at each component so you can get a better grasp on what each one means.
Duty of Care
A requirement that a person acts toward others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use; the duty of care is described as “a requirement that a person acts toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use.”
This definition is quite broad, but what it actually means is that a person is expected to behave sensibly in accordance with the circumstances. Let’s take the example of somebody who is driving on the roads in Arizona. A person operating a vehicle should exercise reasonable care by complying with traffic signals and speed laws, as well as by yielding the right of way when it is appropriate to do so. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle has a responsibility to live up to these standards. They have a responsibility to exercise caution around other motorists, passengers in other vehicles, motorcycle operators, cyclists, and pedestrians who are using the roads.
Breach of Duty of Care
A violation is when someone breaks a law, an agreement, or a code of conduct or fails to observe it. It is necessary to fall short of one’s duty of care in order to be considered as having broken that duty.
When it comes to vehicular mishaps, some examples of this include the following:
- Disregarding a red signal
- Ignoring posted speed limits is a violation.
- While being distracted, you are driving.
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is a serious offense.
- violation of the duty to yield the right of way
- Barbecuing in the trunk
These are just a few examples of how a driver can violate their duty of care owed to others with whom they share the roadways in Arizona. There are many other ways in which a driver can break this duty.
Proximate or Actual Cause
The following piece of evidence that must be presented is that the deceased person would still be alive if it weren’t for the actions of the person who violated their duty. This can be demonstrated easily in some circumstances. For instance, if two cars collide head-on because one of them crossed over a lane and ended up going in the wrong direction, and the other driver passed away immediately in the collision, it is simple to establish that the actual cause of death was the collision.
On Arizona’s roadways, more complex scenarios may present themselves at any given moment. A motorcyclist is taking advantage of the warm afternoon weather by riding in the outside lane. After signaling its intention to move into the same lane as the motorcycle, a semi-truck fails to notice the motorcycle in its rearview mirror and proceeds to move into the same lane, knocking the rider off the motorcycle and throwing them to the side of the road.
The motorcyclist sustains severe head trauma and is taken to the hospital, where they spend the next four days in a coma due to the effects of their condition. The coma is broken for the victim, and they come to. The following day, the motorcyclist experiences a sharp increase in his blood pressure, followed by a sudden drop. After running tests, the physicians discover bleeding inside the patient. Unfortunately, they were unable to stop the internal bleeding, and the victim passed away as a result.
In this particular case, the injuries that were sustained in the motorcycle accident are the immediate contributors to the decedent’s passing. Even though the motorcyclist passed away as a result of the complications, his family may have a strong case for wrongful death.
As soon as an injured party is taken away from the scene of an accident by an ambulance, the billing process for medical services can begin. An injured person will likely receive bills the moment they check into the hospital, regardless of whether or not the injured person has medical insurance coverage. When someone passes away at the scene of an accident, their body is transported to the hospital so that their loved ones can identify them and take possession of their remains.
In both instances, the victims were forced to deal with the financial burden of medical bills in addition to funeral and burial costs. In both of those scenarios that we just went over, there is also the issue of lost wages. Therefore, it is not too difficult to demonstrate the damages that have been incurred.
Before submitting a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim’s family, a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases will establish all four of these elements.
Types of Documentary Proof in Wrongful Death Claims
Documentation that can be used to support a claim of wrongful death will be produced in the event of every traffic accident.
The following are some of the most typical types of documents:
Accident reports: The parties involved in an accident in Arizona are required to file an accident report with the appropriate authorities whenever the accident results in bodily injury, property damage in excess of $2,000, or death. Accident reports are made available to anyone who was involved in the incident, as well as the families of those who perished as a result of the incident. In the event that an accident takes place within the city limits rather than on a state roadway, the officers are responsible for filing the accident reports with the local jurisdiction.
Officers are required to submit accident reports within 14 days of the incident in every circumstance. Accident reports will provide useful details, such as whether or not the officers who responded to the incident cited anyone for causing the collision. Accidents that occur on state roadways are the responsibility of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Statements from witnesses: During the investigation into the accident, the police may ask witnesses to provide statements detailing what they saw in the moments just before the collision. This information may be used to demonstrate that the responsible party committed an improper act.
You can use photographs and videos to prove who was at fault for an accident if anyone was able to take photographs in the immediate aftermath of the accident or if the police took photographs or created diagrams of the scene as part of their investigation. In addition, a video from the traffic cameras located close to the location of the accident may be requested from AZDOT. After thirty days, this recording will be overwritten by a system, so you should make sure that your attorney requests this evidence as soon as possible.
Medical records: The records from the medical team that treated the decedent after the accident up until the time of death will be an invaluable tool in making the case that the decedent would not have lost their life had it not been for the accident.
It is possible to prove a person’s injuries and the damage done to their vehicle by using any documents that pertain directly to the accident or the care the decedent received immediately following the accident. This information might be obtained by a wrongful death attorney with prior experience.
Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims in Arizona must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death, per state law. The victim’s surviving spouse can file these claims, any of the victim’s surviving children, the victim’s parents, or guardians if the victim had no surviving spouse or children (or if the victim was a minor).
It may appear that meeting the deadlines will be simple, but there are, in fact, some delays that will cut into this time. It could take up to two weeks for police reports to become available, and it could take even longer to gather witness statements and conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. The time it takes to submit a claim could be extended because of these holdups.
Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one allows families to concentrate on each other as they grieve. Family members need space and time to grieve in whatever way works best for them. Hiring a lawyer with experience in such cases can relieve the stress on the family.
How Insurance Adjusters Deal with Wrongful Death Claims
An adjuster will be appointed to handle a family’s claim for compensation by the insurance company of the party at fault. The adjuster is not on the claimant’s side in any way. They are employed solely to aid the insurance firm.
Paying insurance premiums is a lucrative business for insurers. Paying out claims results in a loss for insurers. Any claim, including those for wrongful death, will be scrutinized by the adjuster to ensure the insurance company pays out as little as possible.
Refuse to accept responsibility—Insurance adjusters will search for inconsistencies in witness accounts, police reports, and any other documentation related to the accident. If they do, their client’s liability will be denied.
Insurance providers frequently make unreasonable requests, such as for recorded statements, access to all medical records pertaining to the deceased, and the signing of numerous documents. If you need help negotiating with an insurance company after a fatal accident, it’s best to hire a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases.
Insurers will often offer a quick settlement that is significantly lower than the family’s losses in order to avoid paying out a large settlement. They count on you to accept the offer due to your precarious financial situation. In the event of a loved one’s death, you should never accept an insurance company’s initial offer without first consulting an attorney.
The insurance company may use these and other tactics to avoid compensating the victim’s family or estate for their losses. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf in good faith. Your attorney may decide that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is your best option if the insurance company is unreasonable or unwilling to make a fair settlement offer.
Affording an Attorney to Assist With a Wrongful Death Claim
People often delay seeking legal counsel due to financial concerns, even though they may wonder when they should hire a personal injury lawyer. There’s no need to do that.
Attorneys who specialize in wrongful death cases can provide:
Almost all personal injury lawyers provide free initial consultations to assess your case. By conducting these interviews with prospective clients, you can learn if they have a valid claim and what their rights are after the death of a loved one.
Nearly all wrongful death attorneys operate under a contingency fee agreement. This means that you won’t have to worry about footing the bill for your lawyer’s services unless and until they win you a settlement. After you hire a lawyer and have them sign a retainer agreement, they will deal with all of the negotiations on your behalf. The law firm will also begin preparing for trial while continuing to negotiate in the event that a settlement cannot be reached in the wrongful death case.
In this trying time, having an attorney on your side will help ease your mind.
Contact a wrongful death attorney today to learn more about the services they provide and your legal options if you have lost a loved one and are unsure of how to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.