On October 19th, 2015 what was so far a peaceful day in the city of Tempe ended in tragedy. A car filled with a family of 5 drove into the Tempe Town Lake. The lives of 25-year-old Danica Baxter and her three children Reighn, 3, Nazyiah, 2, and Zariyah, 1, were heartbreakingly lost in the drowning. The police later found the accident to be a murder-suicide by Baxter’s estranged husband. Unfortunately, Danica Baxter’s husband suffered from anger management issues and was upset over the fact that Danica wanted to file for divorce.
This incident is incredibly sad for everyone involved and here at Torgenson Law, we want to send our deepest condolences to the families of those who died. As a personal injury firm, we understand the prevalence of issues like this and we are in the business of trying to prevent anyone we know and love from getting into this situation. If you may be on the fence about the frequency of domestic violence in this country here are some facts and statistics:
In this country, one in every four women will experience domestic violence at some point within their lifetime.
Men are also victims of nearly 3 million assaults.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness.
The presence of a gun in a domestic violence relationship raises the risk of homicide by 500%.
Another reality that domestic violence victim’s families will have to face is who will be the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Often times the insurance companies may deny the life insurance claim, compounding the mourning a family has for the multiple deaths. In a case of murder-suicide, the complexities can confuse the potential beneficiaries depending upon whom the life insurance was filed.
If the life insurance was filed under the murderer, and dies after the victim, then the murderer’s estate will be able to claim entitlement in full. With the victims estate also filing a claim the insurance company will most likely file for an interpleader. An interpleader is a civil procedure that allows a plaintiff (the insurance company) to initiate a lawsuit in order to force two parties to litigate a dispute. This allows the insurance company to deposit the insurance claim money into a court escrow account that they may withdraw from. If the amount of life insurance money is small then the legal fees and costs of litigation could exhaust the life insurance benefits.
Though seeing these numbers and litigation problems suggest that this issue is hopeless, there are resources offered to the people of Arizona. Today we want to provide the contact information for some domestic violence hotlines. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence please utilize these resources. There is strength in being able to ask for help.
The Sojourner Center (602) 244-0089
National 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233
For more information, you can visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website. http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/owch/women/domestic-violence/
Here at Torgenson Law, we understand the magnitude of the situation and want to keep our communities safe. We realize that everyday people get hurt and if you have any personal injury issues you will need aggressive attorneys to help you. Give us a call at (602) 759-0012.