Who Can File A Wrongful Death Suit in Arizona?

September 17, 2020

Losing a loved one due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else is incredibly difficult. When these cases arise, family members may be able to recover compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona. It is important to understand how wrongful death cases arise, whether or not this is a civil or criminal action, and who can file a wrongful death claim in this state.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death cases can arise anytime a person loses their life due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another person or entity. Arizona, like every other state in the country, has laws in place that allow the estate or family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death in Arizona include:

  • Car accidents
  • Commercial trucking accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective product incidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • and more

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

Under Arizona’s wrongful death laws (A.R.S. Section 12-611), those allowed to file wrongful death claims in the state civil court include:

  • Surviving spouse of the deceased
  • Surviving children of the deceased
  • Surviving parent or guardian of the deceased
  • A personal representative of any of those parties
  • A personal representative of the deceased person’s estate

Who Can Be Liable?

There may be various parties that could be held liable in the event a person loses their life due to careless or negligent actions of another. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, the following parties could be held liable:

  • The perpetrator of a crime that led to the death
  • Negligent property owners or operators
  • Careless or negligent drivers
  • Medical professionals that commit malpractice
  • Companies or manufacturers of defective products

Any party whose actions can be linked to the wrongful death of another could face an Arizona civil wrongful death lawsuit.

Is Wrongful Death a Criminal or Civil Claim

It is important to point out that many wrongful death cases arise due to a violation of Arizona law. It is not uncommon for a person to face criminal charges for the death of somebody else, but this does not mean that they cannot also face a civil wrongful death case. Criminal charges related to the wrongful death of somebody are completely separate from the civil wrongful death claims that family members may file.

Additionally, there does not have to be any criminal charges filed in order for a person to face a civil wrongful death lawsuit. These are two separate courts (criminal and civil).

How to File an Arizona Wrongful Death Suit

Wrongful death claims in Arizona can become incredibly complicated, and surviving family members should speak to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. It is important to point out that there is a two-year statute of limitations in place for these claims. This means that if family members or the estate of the deceased fail to file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of the deceased person’s death, the court will likely refuse to hear the matter altogether.

A skilled Phoenix wrongful death attorney is going to provide you with a free consultation of your case and then outline the steps that will be taken in the lawsuit. Again, these cases can be complicated, and they will likely require extensive resources and investigation on the part of your attorney.