How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Arizona


Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by family members on behalf of people who have died because of the negligence or intent of another person. If someone close to you has died, then you may be able to enlist a lawyer to represent the deceased’s estate in a lawsuit against an employer, against the state, or against any individual or corporation. Wrongful death lawsuits are much like any other personal injury lawsuit with the final outcome being the important difference. There’s an old adage in the law that says that “death is different.” The stakes are higher when someone dies, and a wrongful death lawsuit in Mesa, Arizona, will reflect this. Here’s what you need to know about filing one of these lawsuits if you happen to lose a loved one.

Acting quickly to mind the statute of limitations

Know that in Arizona, there is a statute of limitations that applies to any civil claim for injury or wrongful death. In most instances, the statute of limitations will be two years. This means that you have a limited amount of time to grieve and prepare for the lawsuit. You don’t need to file the lawsuit in the days after the death. Rather, you should take your time to consider your options and pour through whatever evidence might be out there. Just make sure you’ve gotten in touch with a good lawyer well within the two year period. The lawyer will need time to put together the appropriate pleadings so that your claim will be properly recognized in the court.

Determining whether to file in federal or state court

Understand that most wrongful death lawsuits will deal with matters of state law. The law on negligence is a state one, so you’ll start with the assumption that state court will be your venue. There are things that can change this, though. If you happen to be suing a party from another state, then you may end up in federal court. This will happen because of the law’s “diversity” requirements. If you’re looking to recover more than $75,000, as you will be in most wrongful death lawsuits, you’ll probably end up in federal court if the other party is from some other state. When you’re suing corporations, you can either look to whether the company has its headquarters or where it’s registered. A good wrongful death attorney can help you understand how venue will impact your case.

Who gets to sue?

One of the most interesting questions revolves around the rights of family members. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased. This gives family members some rights, but the ultimate rights lie with the deceased. If you have a family member who was hurt, you may have your own claims for loss of consortium, so consulting an experienced attorney is critical for getting the justice you deserve in these situations.

The process of filing

When you consult an attorney, they’ll typically take care of the details. To begin the lawsuit, you’ll have to give proper notice to the party you’re suing. You’ll also need to file your claim in the proper court, outlining your intention and the basis for your claim. From there, the defendant will have an opportunity to respond, and the court will begin to set dates for hearings.

How to sue the police for wrongful death

State actors have some immunity for their acts, but the law does allow various claims depending upon the prevailing circumstances. Suing the police in state court is no different than suing any other entity. It requires the same filing and notice requirements, and the police are treated in state court like any other actor. However, you could have dual claims against police departments. It may be possible to file a federal civil rights claim under 42 USC § 1983. These lawsuits can proceed either concurrently or one after the other.

How to sue an employer for wrongful death in Arizona

If your loved one died because of the negligence of an employer, you’ll need to collect information and potentially work with the insurance provider of the employer. These cases require plaintiffs and their lawyers to collect information about the employer’s safety regulations and training processes. In many cases, employers will look for a way to settle the claim early with the victim’s estate and family. You’ll need to prepare yourself to deal closely with an insurance provider who might aggressively look to close the case without it heading into the public eye. In many cases, you’ll have to sign a non-disclosure form to secure your settlement.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona can be complex. Good lawyers understand how to take on various responsible parties. You’ll want to understand the differences between state and federal court, while also keeping in mind the statute of limitations that might impact your claim.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

If the day comes when you need a wrongful death attorney, call JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. We’ll level the playing field and get you the damages your case calls for.

Having a legal asset in your corner not only takes the stress out of your situation, but puts you in the best position possible to look toward the future with a positive outlook.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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