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Scottsdale Wrongful Death Attorney

Scottsdale Wrongful Death Attorney

Many people in Arizona know they have the right to file lawsuits if they get injured in preventable accidents around town, such as vehicle collisions or slip and fall accidents. They may not, however, recognize the right to file on behalf of someone else. If a beloved family member lost his or her life in a fatal accident in Arizona, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party on behalf of the decedent. A wrongful death claim could pay your family and the deceased person’s estate for related losses.

The lawyers at Shapiro Law Team guide families in Scottsdale through wrongful death claims in pursuit of justice and financial compensation. We have years of experience representing families in wrongful death insurance claims and lawsuits. Discuss your case in detail with our lead attorney today. Call (480) 300-5405 to schedule a free initial consultation in Scottsdale.

Why Hire Us?

  • Our wrongful death attorneys can take cases all the way to trial in Maricopa County, Arizona.
  • Our lawyers use a personalized legal style, always getting to know their clients before strategizing claims.
  • Our clients benefit from our history of success, which shows insurers we mean business.
  • Our attorneys have experience handling cases involving many causes of injuries and fatalities.
  • Our Scottsdale wrongful death lawyers do not charge upfront for their services.

Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer

A plaintiff’s attorney will know exactly how to build and bring a wrongful death claim in Arizona on your behalf. You will not have to worry about determining the defendant, proving fault, or gathering evidence after you hire a lawyer to take care of these processes for you. Your lawyer can deal with confusing paperwork and claims filing in your county while you plan your loved one’s funeral and spend time healing with your family.

You also will not fall prey to insurance company bad faith tactics if a corporation tries to take advantage of you. Your lawyer will stand up for your rights during each phase of negotiations. You will have the peace of mind to focus on other things after you hire a wrongful death attorney to take care of your claim.

How Do I Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case?

If a person’s death is caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, the surviving family members will generally have the right to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the at-fault party. However, these cases can become incredibly difficult when it comes to proving the negligence of the other party.

First, we want to point out the importance of hiring a Scottsdale wrongful death attorney who will be by your side throughout this entire process. Proving negligence in a wrongful death case requires significant resources and legal expertise. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help in these situations, and an attorney can level the playing field against the other party.

Most people do not realize that negligence actually has specific legal definitions. Particularly, there are four elements of negligence that must be present in order to prove that a defendant owes compensation to a deceased person’s family or estate. Typically, the plaintiff in the case (with help from their attorney) must prove the following elements:

  • Duty of care. The plaintiff has to prove to the court that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased individual. The duty of care in wrongful death cases will look different depending on the nature of the accident that caused the death. For example, in a car accident case, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant owed an obligation to obey traffic laws and drive carefully while operating their vehicle. Product manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers to provide goods that are working properly and not harmful to consumers.
  • Breach of duty. After a plaintiff has established that a duty of care existed between the deceased and the defendant, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care in some way. If a defective product caused the death of the victim, it needs to be shown that the defendant was careless or negligent in their duties and allowed the product to be sold to consumers. If the incident involves a traffic accident, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to obey applicable traffic laws, such as operating their vehicle while impaired by alcohol, running a red light, etc.
  • Causation. Merely showing that a defendant broke the law or breached their duty is not enough to prove negligence. A plaintiff will also need to show that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death. Even if a defendant runs a red light while operating their vehicle, they will not necessarily be responsible for the death if the death was caused by something else, such as mechanical failure (airbag failed to deploy, seat belt malfunction, etc.).
  • Damages. Finally, the last element in a wrongful death case is proving that the plaintiff has sustained some sort of compensable loss. This can include a variety of monetary and non-economic losses, including funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering damages, loss of future income of the deceased, etc.

In order to properly prove all of these elements of wrongful death, an attorney will need to use their resources to conduct an extensive investigation into the incident. This will include gathering various types of evidence, such as the following:

  • Safety records of the defendant
  • Video or photo surveillance of the incident
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Accident reports or police reports
  • Mobile phone data
  • Vehicle “black box” data

The types of evidence necessary to prove wrongful death in Scottsdale, Arizona, will vary depending on the type of case and cause of death. In some cases, an attorney may need to employ the assistance of an accident reconstruction expert who can use the evidence gathered as well as science and mathematics to properly piece together what happened. A reconstruction expert can then provide testimony to insurance carriers or a wrongful death jury on behalf of the plaintiff.

What Are the Leading Causes of Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death cases can arise anytime a person loses their life because of the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual, business, or entity. There are countless ways that wrongful death cases arise in Scottsdale, Arizona. At Shapiro Law Team, we regularly help clients who have lost a loved one due to the following:

  • Automobile accidents. Auto accidents can include incidents caused by distracted driving, drug- or alcohol-impaired driving, aggressive drivers, roadway construction, and more. Vehicle accidents are amongst the leading causes of death in the United States.
  • Commercial truck accidents. Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often devastating, regularly resulting in death for those inside traditional passenger vehicles involved in the collision. There may be various liable parties for a wrongful death case involving a commercial truck accident, including a truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, maintenance company, etc.
  • Bicycle or pedestrian accidents. Bicyclists and pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable in and around the roadway. Accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are much more likely to lead to fatalities than those involving only vehicles.
  • Defective products. Product designers, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers all have a responsibility to minimize the risk of harm their products cause to the public. Deaths caused by faulty designs, manufacturing defects, or a failure to warn of possible hazards can all be the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Work-related accidents. Any death that occurs in the workplace that is a result of employer negligence or the negligence of a third party could give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death in the workplace include unsafe work environments, fires or explosions, improper training, defective equipment, machine-related incidents, vehicle accidents, and more.
  • Criminal actions. If any person loses their life because another person commits a criminal act, this could constitute wrongful death. These cases arise in various ways, including murder. However, there are other types of criminal acts that lead to death that are not necessarily murder.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Some other most common causes of medical errors that lead to death include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, failure to treat, surgical mistakes, improper medications, anesthesia mistakes, healthcare-acquired infections, and more.

What Forms of Compensation Can be Recovered in an Arizona Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There are various types of compensation that may be available to family members or the estate as a result of a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages refer to various types of financial losses that a family will incur due to the wrongful death. This can include the following:
    • The cost of any medical treatment a person incurred before death
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • The income or resources the deceased would have provided had they lived
  • Non-economic damages refer to the types of losses that are harder to calculate properly. These losses are more immeasurable and can include coverage for the loss of:
    • Love
    • Affection
    • Nurturing
    • Companionship
    • Consortium

When working to calculate the total economic losses in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff and their attorney will typically add up all calculable expenses, including medical bills, bills from funeral homes, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, etc. More complex calculations will be necessary to establish the amount of money that the victim would have provided their family during the course of their normal lifespan. Some of the considerations that will be taken into account by the court include the following:

  • The age of the deceased
  • Their health condition before the incident
  • Their earning capacity
  • The needs of their children
  • Other pertinent details

Establishing a monetary amount for non-economic damages is going to be more challenging. An experienced Scottsdale wrongful death attorney will work to properly express the emotional distress, pain and suffering, and inconvenience that the family has to go through because of the untimely death of their loved one.

Calculating both economic and non-economic damages will usually require assistance from trusted economic and financial experts who can evaluate the totality of the situation, determine appropriate compensation amounts, and justify these amounts to insurance carriers or a wrongful death jury through testimony.

Arizona’s Wrongful Death Laws

Before your family or the deceased person’s estate can recover financial compensation from a defendant, you must obey Arizona’s wrongful death laws. Going about filing a wrongful death claim and pursuing compensation involves different laws depending on the state where you file. Although many different laws may pertain to your case, learn a few of the most essential.

  • Filing restrictions. You may only file a wrongful death claim in Arizona if you are a surviving spouse, child, parent, or guardian of the deceased person. You will also have the ability to file if you’re the personal representative of the decedent’s estate or of the decedent.
  • Statute of limitations. Although most families focus on a funeral and burial before contacting a lawyer, it is important to act within at least two years of the date of your loved one’s death. If you miss your statute of limitations, your family may lose the right to hold someone responsible for the fatal accident.
  • Comparative fault laws. Arizona will use the doctrine of pure comparative fault in a wrongful death case that involves the possible negligence of the decedent. If your loved one contributed to the accident, your family may receive a reduced compensatory award. The acceptable percentage of a plaintiff’s fault in Arizona goes all the way up to 99%.

Attorney David Shapiro or another attorney at our law firm could walk you through all the laws in Arizona that may apply to your wrongful death claim. These may include product liability laws, premises liability laws, fault-based insurance laws, and more. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can ensure you correctly navigate all the statutes that are relevant to your claim.

Contact a Scottsdale, AZ Wrongful Death Attorney

A family member’s death is one of the hardest things you will have to deal with in your life. At Shapiro Law Team, we do not believe families in Arizona should have to handle wrongful death claims alone. While you focus on grieving, your lawyer can handle legal matters such as collecting evidence and building a claim against a defendant on your behalf. Speak to a compassionate attorney at our law firm today. Call (480) 300-5405 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in Scottsdale 24/7.

Client Review: “I could not recommend a better personal injury attorney than David Shapiro and his team. They handled everything from start to finish, got me an amazing settlement that was over 5 times what the insurance company initially offered me.” -Kenneth

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