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Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer

Phoenix Wrongful Death Lawyer

Many people in Arizona know they have the right to file lawsuits if they get injured in preventable accidents, like vehicle collisions and slip-and-fall accidents. They may not, however, recognize their right to file on behalf of someone else.

If a loved one 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 deceased. 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 Phoenix 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) 725-2250 to schedule a free initial consultation in Phoenix.

Why Hire Us?

  • Our wrongful death attorneys can take cases to trial in Maricopa County.
  • 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 various causes of injuries and fatalities.
  • Our Phoenix wrongful death lawyers don’t 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 won’t have to worry about determining the defendant, proving fault, or gathering evidence after you hire a lawyer. We’ll 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 won’t fall prey to insurance companies’ bad faith tactics, should a corporation try to take advantage of you. Your lawyer will fight for your rights during each phase of negotiations. You’ll 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 negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, the surviving family members 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 Phoenix wrongful death attorney who will be by your side throughout the process. Proving negligence in a wrongful death case requires significant resources and legal expertise. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need help in these situations. An attorney can level the playing field against the other party.

Most people don’t realize that negligence 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 must 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 work properly and aren’t 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 must be shown that the defendant was careless 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, like operating their vehicle while impaired by alcohol, running a red light, etc.


Merely showing that a defendant broke the law or breached their duty is not enough to prove negligence. A plaintiff must also show that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death.

Even if a defendant runs a red light while operating their vehicle, they won’t necessarily be responsible for the death if it was caused by something else, like airbags failing to deploy, seat belt malfunction, and more.


Finally, the last element in a wrongful death case is proving that the plaintiff has sustained some sort of compensable loss. This can include various monetary and non-economic losses, including funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering damages, and loss of future income of the deceased.

To properly prove all these elements of wrongful death, an attorney must use their resources to conduct an extensive investigation into the incident. This includes 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix, 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 among 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 the truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, maintenance company, etc.

Bicycle or Pedestrian Accidents

Bicyclists and pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable on 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 that 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 Phoenix, 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, other types of criminal acts lead to death that are not necessarily considered murder.

Medical Malpractice

Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Some other 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?

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

Economic damages refer to different types of financial losses that a family will incur due to 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, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses.

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 will be more challenging. An experienced wrongful death attorney in Phoenix will work to properly express the emotional distress, pain and suffering, and inconvenience that the family goes through due to 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 in which 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’re 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’s important to act within at least two years of the date of your loved one’s death. If you surpass the 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 reaches as high as 99%.

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

Contact a Phoenix, 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 don’t believe families in Arizona should have to handle wrongful death claims alone. While you focus on grieving, your lawyer can handle legal matters like collecting evidence and building a claim against the defendant on your behalf.

Speak to a compassionate attorney at our law firm today. Call (480) 725-2250, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in Phoenix 24/7.

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