There are few things as tragic as unexpectedly losing someone you love in a sudden accident. If you depended on your loved one for financial support, it can be even worse, since now you may be worried about how you will make ends meet without them. In these situations, a wrongful death lawsuit may be your only option. If you bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party, what kinds of compensation can you expect if you win?
Who can sue?
In Arizona, you have the right to the benefits of a wrongful death lawsuit if you are the husband, wife, child, parent, or guardian of the deceased. The court will divide any compensation won in the lawsuit between these family members according to the circumstances.
This means that, even if the deceased’s personal representative (such as the executor of the estate) brings the suit, the compensation will go to the deceased’s immediate family. If the deceased didn’t leave behind any family, the compensation will go to their estate.
What can they recover?
Unlike in many other states, the Arizona legislature has not passed any laws that specifically outline what wrongful death plaintiffs can recover. This means that juries decide on a case-by-case basis what a fair recovery is, depending on the circumstances of the case, what the plaintiff asks for, and what the plaintiff’s attorney can prove.
For example, if the decedent was a parent who worked to support their minor children, the children will likely be able to recover compensation for the loss of financial support. They may also be able to recover for loss of parental guidance and company. A spouse may also recover for both loss of financial support and loss of consortium.
If the deceased suffered physical pain before passing away, or if the responsible party’s actions were particularly negligent or reprehensible, the court may order additional damages.
Although no amount of money will ever truly make up for the loss of a family member, a financial recovery can go a long way in assisting the victim’s family. With luck, you will be able to recover enough to provide a stable life for yourself and the victim’s other family members while you recover from your terrible loss.