The first step to analyzing a wrongful death claim is understanding what it is. In essence, in a wrongful death claim, the defendant is claimed to be liable to the plaintiff for the (wrongful) death of the plaintiff’s loved one. In these types of cases, some of the common causes of death may include products liability accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and medical malpractice. Generally, the underlying theory for the cause of death in all of these cases will be that of “negligence,” or some other varying degree of fault on part of the defendant.
So, who can bring a claim for wrongful death? In Arizona, wrongful death claims are brought by the surviving spouse, child, parent or guardian, or the personal representative of the decedent, on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, or parents (or, if none of these survive, on behalf of the decedent’s
estate). Additionally, either parent may maintain the action for the death of a child, and a guardian may do so for the death of a ward. Furthermore, damages are distributed to the surviving spouse, children, or parents in proportion to their damages. The measure of recovery in these types of claims is generally for the pecuniary injury resulting to the plaintiffs. Damages include, but are not limited to, recovery for loss of support and loss of consortium. For more details, consult with your Phoenix wrongful death lawyer.
Fortunately, the law’s protection goes beyond the death of a loved one. Even when the remains of
deceased family member are in the care of a funeral home, they, too, must abide by their duties as to avoid a negligence lawsuit. Arizona recognizes what is called as “negligent infliction of emotion distress” (“NIED)”. Unlike
its counterpart (intentional infliction of emotional distress), NIED requires different facts to be proved in order to succeed in such a case – those inherent to the category of negligence, among others. In order to establish a NIED claim, the plaintiff must prove, among other facts, that he or she suffered physical symptoms that manifested as a result of the severe emotional distress caused by the defendant’s actions. However, Arizona does away with the “physical symptom” requirement in special circumstances, including the mishandling or improper care of the remains of a deceased loved one. Thus, funeral homes may be held liable for the emotional distress they cause to family members of the deceased person for any negligent interference on their part with the dead body or remains of the plaintiff’s loved one.
Because wrongful death cases are so broad and they require a strong foundation of knowledge of personal injury law, hiring a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer that is certified in personal injury is your best bet. Let a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer handle the complexities and nuances of your case, while you focus on mourning your dear loss and getting back on your feet.