Petersen Johnson

Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

A wrongful death is when an individual loses his or her life because of the willful or negligent act of another. A wrongful death lawsuit describes a civil action in which damages are sought against a party for causing a death, typically when criminal action has failed or is not attempted. Some common types of wrongful death cases include automobile accidents, fires, construction accidents, murder and nursing home abuse, among many others. Are you trying to decide whether or not to sue or hire a wrongful death attorney? If so, there are two preliminary questions to consider before speaking with a wrongful death lawyer:

Are you legally allowed to sue for wrongful death in the state of Arizona?

Each state lays out its own guidelines for who can and cannot sue in this type of case. In Arizona, you may file a wrongful death suit if you are the surviving spouse or a child of the decedent. You may also sue as the parent of the deceased if he or she was a minor child. Lastly, you may bring a wrongful death lawsuit if you are the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, however, you may not sue for your own personal gain. You can only sue for the benefit of the estate and/or surviving family members.

Did the defendant’s wrongful conduct create a natural, direct series of events that led to the injury?

According to wrongful death law, the acts of omissions of the defendant must have been the proximate cause of the decedent’s injuries and death. For example, did the deceased have an accident in an employee vehicle that was not properly maintained? Or maybe the deceased was gravely injured in a fight with the defendant and those injuries led to his/her death. There are countless ways a wrongful death may have come about, but it’s important to determine whether or not the death was due to someone else’s negligence or willful act. If you are able to answer yes to these two critical questions, it might be a good idea to take the next step and speak with a wrongful death attorney. He or she is an expert on wrongful death law and will be able to tell you whether or not your case is worth pursuing.