Wrongful death lawsuits are emotionally and mentally strenuous for the surviving family members.
Not only are they coping with the loss of a loved one, but they are enduring the pain of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mesa wrongful death attorneys are a reprieve in these situations. They provide the counsel, experience, and assistance families need during their time of grieving. From filing a lawsuit on behalf of the estate to negotiating with insurance companies, attorneys help their clients receive the compensation they are entitled to after a loved one passes.
Wrongful death claims are extraordinarily complicated, and numerous statutes apply to these distinctive cases. Therefore, it is best for family members to consult with an attorney before assuming they can receive all types of compensation.
First, the Parties Who May File
When one refers to the “estate,” they are referring to a list of qualified plaintiffs under Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-612. This particular statute identifies which parties can file a wrongful death action, which includes:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Parent or guardian of the deceased
- Legal representative for above parties
When none of the top three parties are available, Mesa wrongful death attorneys can file a suit on behalf of siblings of the deceased, same-sex partners, or common law spouses.
However, Arizona does not recognize same-sex partners as spouses; therefore, filing a suit as a same-sex partner may not be advisable.
How Mesa Wrongful Death Attorneys Calculate Damages
An attorney can only calculate costs in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-613. This statute is very broad, however, and it only requires that the jury award the plaintiff what they feel is fair based on the injury.
Therefore, the court will typically step in and dictate which damages are awarded in a wrongful death matter.
Some damages that may be granted include:
1. Lost Wages and Financial Dependency
One of the biggest losses a family will encounter is the loss of income from the deceased. Whether they were a parent or spouse, they contributed financially; therefore, the estate deserves compensation for their lost earnings. In some cases, the lost wage compensation amount can be significant, especially if the victim worked in a specialized field like medicine or law.
Mesa wrongful death attorneys will typically hire economists or accountants to help them calculate the appropriate damages. These professionals will assess the net income of the deceased over the year, then calculate how much they are expected to earn based on working years (not life expectancy years). For example, Smart Asset states that the average age of retirement in Arizona is 63 (as of 2016).
If the victim dies at 40, they will potentially have 23 more years of working and earning capacity. So, the attorney and accountant may seek damages for the 23 years of lost income.
Lost-income compensation demands are one of the most highly contested, and numerous factors go into the calculation other than work years expected. The victim’s health, economic changes, and pay raises may also be calculated to arrive at an actual settlement demand.
2. Health Care Expenses
If there is a wrongful death, often that death comes after an injury or illness that was caused by negligence. Therefore, the victim and the victim’s family likely encountered health care costs, medications, and hospice care. While insurance may have paid a portion of these expenses, they will want reimbursement for any payments they covered. An insurer may file a claim against the lawsuit’s settlement to receive compensation. Any out-of-pocket reasonable and necessary health care costs endured by the victim or their estate may also be paid through the settlement.
3. Funeral and Burial Costs
Naturally, a wrongful death suit seeks compensation that reimburses loved ones all funeral and burial costs. The compensation could include mortuary services, the transportation of the body to and from sites, casket costs, burial fees, service charges, cremation costs, and disposals.
These damages, however, are compensated based on reasonable expenses. Family members electing the most expensive options may not receive compensation for add-ons and luxury items.
4. Pain and Suffering
If the family can prove that their loved one suffered, or their injury was severe enough that the pain and suffering is inferred, then the estate may collect pain and suffering damages in a wrongful death suit. The pain and suffering compensation is based on the victim’s suffering, not the family members.
Speak with Mesa Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
After the loss of a loved one, family members have enough to endure. Asking for compensation to cover medical costs and burial fees should not be part of that burden. The wrongful death attorneys at Tobler Law understand what families are going through.
Our team is here to work as grieving loved ones’ advocates. We fight aggressively for your right to compensation, and we ensure that the damages you and your family are entitled to come back to you.
Learn more about our services, or schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney today by calling us at 480-898-9700.