Hi, How Can We Help You?

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

If your loved one has died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then the state of Arizona may give you a legitimate right of action for wrongful death.  Wrongful death litigation is critically important, as it gives the surviving family members of the deceased an effective tool for securing the compensation they need to cover their various losses.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we are compassionate advocates that understand the many challenges that families face in the wake of their loved one’s death.  It is perfectly normal to feel trepidation about moving forward with litigation.  We encourage you to contact us to learn more about what wrongful death litigation entails, and how we can help.

Understanding Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages are paid out to cover the losses sustained by the surviving family members of the deceased — not the losses sustained directly by the deceased individual themselves.

For example, if your spouse dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver defendant, you would be entitled to bring an action for wrongful death damages that account for the losses that “you” (as the surviving individual) sustained in the wake of their death, which may include the loss of their financial support, loss of guidance, loss of marital companionship, and the loss of domestic services and support.

The Loss of Domestic Services

Domestic services are a form of support that is accounted for by Arizona courts in wrongful death litigation.  Accounting for such damages is meant to ensure that the true contribution of a family member who provides domestic services (i.e., cleaning, cooking, childrearing, babysitting, teaching, etc.) is measured.

Calculating the value of domestic services is quite a bit more straightforward than plaintiffs might initially realize — with the aid of an attorney and industry experts (who can provide analysis and supportive testimony), you can identify the market value of the domestic services provided by your deceased loved one, and calculate the potential future contribution that would have been made by your loved one based off their pre-existing daily, weekly, or monthly contributions.

Consult an Experienced Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for Guidance

Hirsch & Lyon is a specialized litigation firm with a focus on representing personal injury victims, including those that involve the wrongful death of a loved one.  Wrongful death claims can be somewhat unintuitive for those who are not familiar with litigation, and this can lead to many plaintiffs being poorly served by attorneys who fail to pursue all available damages.

At Hirsch & Lyon, our wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience providing comprehensive representation to clients in a variety of situations, and are committed to maintaining a highly-communicative, transparent relationship.  This ensures that we have the information we need to personalize the way in which we advocate for the wrongful death plaintiff.

Ready to move forward?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at our firm.

The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can leave their family members devastated in many different ways.

Though it’s natural to think only of the emotional consequences at first, there are real financial consequences to the loss of a loved one on whom you and the rest of your family have come to rely for support.  Without the income generated by a spouse, for example, a nuclear family may struggle with paying for food, rent, education, and health expenses, among various other necessities of life.

Fortunately, Arizona law may provide certain individuals the opportunity to recover for those losses.  If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant wrongful death compensation.

How does it work?  Let’s take a closer look.

Wrongful Death Basics

Wrongful death actions give certain qualified family members the right to pursue damages for the losses they have directly suffered due to the death of their loved one.  For example, a wrongful death plaintiff may recover damages for the mental anguish they experienced (and continue to experience) as a result of their spouse’s death.

For a wrongful death lawsuit to succeed, there must be underlying liability.  In other words, the defendant (who is responsible) must have acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner, thus causing the death at-issue.

Calculating the Loss of Financial Support

In many wrongful death cases, financial support losses form the largest component of the overall damages.  As a result, the defendant is likely to employ a range of tactics during litigation to minimize their liability for such damages.  These tactics may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Arguing that the financial support would have been reduced or terminated
  • Arguing that the deceased individual’s income would not have increased over time
  • Arguing that the deceased individual was incapable of or uninterested in returning to work (if they were unemployed or partially employed at time of death)

Suppose, for example, that your father was a generous man, and provided $3,000 per month in financial support to help you cover your costs.  After their untimely death due to a drunk driving accident, you bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant-driver.

The defendant might attempt to reduce their financial support damage liability in a number of ways.  They might argue that your relationship with your father was deteriorating quickly, and that your father intended to stop all financial support soon.  They might (alternatively) argue that your father was nearing retirement age, and that the financial support may only be counted for an additional two or three years.  You might be able to counter this assertion by showing that your father used income generated by investment assets to provide the financial support at-issue.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Setup a Free Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience representing wrongful death claimants in litigation, specifically in situations where the death itself is linked to a motor vehicle accident.

We understand just how emotionally overwhelming and difficult it can be to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of tragedy — our commitment to compassionate and personalized legal advocacy has helped many families secure the compensation they need to cover their losses, while doing so in a manner that is respectful of the various burdens they are now saddled with.

Ready to move forward with your claims?  If you’re interested in learning more about the litigation process and how we can help, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death litigation can be emotionally overwhelming.  Family members must not only process the untimely and unexpected death of their loved one but must also pursue comprehensive litigation in order to secure damages that can compensate them for the losses they suffered as a result.

Many first-time plaintiffs are not entirely familiar with wrongful death litigation and what it entails.  Wrongful death actions can be rather difficult to conceptualize compared to a standard personal injury action.

Stated simply, wrongful death actions are brought by certain qualified family members for the damages they suffered due to the loss of their loved one.  For example, suppose that a father dies in a car accident that was caused by the fault of another.  The child of the deceased might have a legitimate wrongful death claim for the losses they sustained — including but not limited to their mental anguish, the financial support they will no longer receive from their father, and the love, companionship, and guidance of their father.

If you’re interested in bringing a wrongful death action (against the party responsible for the death of your loved one), it’s important to understand some of the limitations typical of such disputes.

Let’s take a brief look at one such limitation.

Accident-Related Deaths Do Not Always Create an Actionable Wrongful Death Claim

In Arizona, actionable wrongful death claims require an underlying wrongful act — either negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.  If there is no underlying wrongful act linked to the death at-issue, then liability will not attach.

How does this work?

Suppose that your father dies in a car accident, but nobody else was at-fault for their death.  Perhaps the weather conditions were extremely poor and your father lost control of the vehicle as a result, leading to his death.  Under such circumstances, there could be no actionable wrongful death claim.

Now, suppose that investigators discovered that your father’s accident was partly caused by a mechanical defect in the car brake system.  If the brakes manufacturer would have been liable for your father’s injuries (had he survived), then you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the manufacturer for damages.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based boutique litigation firm with a focus on personal injury cases on behalf of those who have suffered serious losses.  We have extensive experience representing victims and their families in challenging litigation, including the family members of the deceased.

We are a client-oriented firm, and as such, we are committed to working closely with clients at every stage of litigation.  We maintain open lines of communication so that clients can have their questions and concerns answered — by encouraging the sharing of information, we are uniquely well-informed and capable of taking decisive action on behalf of our clients.  Over the years, this approach has helped us recover over $100 million for our clients.

If you’re ready to learn more about your claims, call 602-535-1900 or request an appointment online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney at Hirsch & Lyon today.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, the surviving family members of an individual who has died due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party are entitled to sue and recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death action — and in some cases, pursuant to a survival action.  Though the two actions are closely-related in many respects, there are fundamental differences that are worth evaluating.

Consider the following.

The Basis of the Action is Different

Survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased with the intention of recovering losses that were suffered by the deceased directly (prior to their death).  If the deceased dies instantly in an accident, for example, there would likely not be an actionable claim on this basis.  On the other hand, if the deceased is injured in a car accident, and their condition worsens over the course of a month before they die, then their estate would likely be entitled to bring a survival action for significant damages.

Wrongful death actions are independent of survival actions, and meant to account for the losses suffered by the surviving family members of the deceased — for example, damages for wrongful death may cover the mental anguish suffered by a surviving spouse after the death of their husband.

If you believe that you may have a legitimate survival action or wrongful death action, it’s important to get in touch with a qualified Phoenix wrongful death attorney for further assistance and an evaluation of your claims.

Debtors, Creditors, and Liabilities

Wrongful death damages belong to you — the qualified, surviving family member entitled to such damages — and are therefore not subject to the claims of debtors and creditors that might otherwise attempt to access funds belonging to the estate of the deceased.  The damages obtained in a survival action, by contrast, goes to the estate of the deceased, and is therefore vulnerable to debtor and creditor interference.

Available Damages

Wrongful death damages include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and love
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of services
  • Financial support
  • Mental anguish
  • Expenses (i.e., medical, funeral) relating to the deceased
  • And more

By contrast, survival actions may include the following damages (suffered directly by the deceased prior to their death):

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property loss
  • And more

The Parties’ Right of Action

Survival actions and wrongful death actions are quite different in terms of who has a right to file a lawsuit and secure damages.  In wrongful death actions, only qualified family members (i.e., surviving spouse, descendants, parents, siblings, etc.), as identified and established by Arizona statute, may bring a lawsuit against the defendant for damages.

Survival actions are more limited.  In a survival action, the surviving family members are not entitled to bring a lawsuit against the defendant, as the damages do not directly belong to them — it is the estate of the deceased that has the right to bring a lawsuit against the liable defendant.  Of course, once the personal representative of the estate has secured damages in a survival action, the family members can access the damages at-issue when the estate assets are eventually distributed to the beneficiaries (assuming that the family members are beneficiaries).

Negligence and Wrongful Misconduct

When contemplating either a survival action or a wrongful death action, it’s important to note that neither claim will stand without proof of negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct on the part of the defendant.  You cannot succeed in securing damages on the basis of a survival action or wrongful death action without being able to show that the defendant at-issue acted in a negligent or wrongful manner, thus causing your loved one to suffer fatal injuries.

For example, suppose that you are bringing a wrongful death action against a driver for colliding with your sibling, which resulted in their death.  If the driver clearly demonstrates that their actions were not negligent or wrongful — perhaps the driver was involuntarily intoxicated and is thus shielded from liability — then you are not entitled to damages.  It is not enough that your loved one died.  It must be the result of another’s negligent or wrongful conduct.

In Arizona, and all other state jurisdictions, the surviving family members (i.e., the surviving spouse, child, parent, guardian, siblings, grandparents, etc.) of the deceased may bring a wrongful death action against the defendant whose negligence or other misconduct caused the death of their loved one.

For example, if your loved one died in a car accident involving a defendant-driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, then you would likely be entitled to bring a wrongful death action for damages.

Wrongful death actions can give rise to significant damages.  Specifically, such actions are intended to compensate the surviving family members of the deceased for the losses they suffered due to the death of their loved one.  These losses are quite varied, and are certainly not limited to emotional losses — in fact, surviving family members may be entitled to recover for a range of damages that include lost financial support and lost companionship.

Wrongful Death Damages — Basics

Wrongful death claims can vary significantly from case-to-case, as the individual bringing the action may have a more interdependent relationship with the deceased (than others with a wrongful death claim).  For example, if you are completely financially dependent on your spouse, and your spouse dies in a car accident (involving the defendant’s negligence), then you would be entitled to wrongful death damages that account for the lost financial support that you would have otherwise received had your spouse survived.

Wrongful death damages include, but are not limited, to:

  • Funeral, burial, and medical expenses that you expended on behalf of the deceased
  • Financial support (pre-existing and projected future support)
  • Domestic services and support
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of parental guidance
  • Loss of love
  • Loss of care
  • Loss of consortium (i.e., marital relationship)
  • And more

These damages can be somewhat difficult for first-time litigants to understand, let’s clarify with a quick example.

Suppose that your mother dies in a car accident where the defendant was driving negligently and is therefore responsible for your mother’s death.  As the child, you are entitled to bring a wrongful death action.

Before the accident, your relationship with your mother was highly dependent, and as such, the losses are substantial.  You lived with your mother in a shared family house, and she cooked, cleaned, and provided various other domestic services.  Perhaps she also provided supplementary financial support for your education.  You would likely be entitled to damages that include existing and future financial support, the value of the domestic services, loss of companionship, love, care, and parental guidance, and mental anguish.

Speak to a Skilled Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for Assistance

If your loved one has died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another, then — in all likelihood — you are entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the liable defendant and secure damages for the losses you suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.  Arizona law entitles the qualified, surviving family members to a range of possible damages, depending on the circumstances.  Given the variation, we encourage family members to contact a seasoned team of attorneys for guidance.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience handling car, truck, and motorcycle accident claims, including those that involve wrongful death — we are fully capable of representing claimants in complex wrongful death actions.  Further, we offer discounted contingency fee arrangements, so whatever you recover in the lawsuit (whether through a negotiated settlement with the defendant, or a favorable verdict), we take a lower percentage.

If you’d like to learn more about your claims and speak to a qualified professional about how best to proceed with your wrongful death action, call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney today.  We look forward to assisting you.

In the state of Arizona, loss-of-life claims — more specifically, wrongful death claims and survival claims — are a category of injury claims brought either by the surviving family members, or by the estate of the deceased individual.  When a person is killed due to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may entitle a qualified subset of survivors to pursue an action in litigation against the defendant and recover damages.

When most laypeople think of loss-of-life claims, they tend to think of “wrongful death.”  Survival actions are an important part of the legal landscape, however, and may lead to significant damage recovery.

So, what’s the difference?  Let’s take a look.

Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Actions

Survival actions are fundamentally different than wrongful death actions, though these differences are often misunderstood.

Stated simply, survival actions are brought against the defendant (who is responsible for causing the death at-issue) on behalf of the deceased individual.  In essence, a survival action gives the estate of the deceased an opportunity to recover damages for the wrongs committed against the deceased individual.  It arguably acts as a form of claim preservation — whatever claims the deceased would have had in the event they survived, are preserved and may be pursued by their estate.

Suppose, for example, that your loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident by a distracted driver.  Their death was not immediate, however.  After a week of attempted treatment, your loved one finally succumbed to their injuries.  Their estate (managed by their personal representative) would thereafter be entitled to sue the defendant-driver and recover damages for the personal losses suffered by your loved one.

Wrongful death actions are also brought against the defendant (who is responsible for causing the death at-issue), but not on behalf of the deceased individual — instead, it is the surviving family members who bring a wrongful death action.  In essence, a wrongful death action gives those surviving family members a right to recover damages for the losses they suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.  Wrongful death claims have nothing to do with the particular losses suffered by the deceased.

Let’s return to the previous example.  Suppose that your loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident by a distracted driver, but the death is immediate.  As one of the qualified surviving family members, you would be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the defendant-driver to recover damages for “your” losses, which may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses (paid out of your pocket), and more.

It’s worth noting that survival actions and wrongful death actions are not mutually exclusive.  It is entirely possible for the death of a loved one to give rise to both types of actions.

Filing a Claim

Survival actions must be brought by the estate of the deceased (which is likely administered by the personal representative of the deceased).  Though surviving family members are not necessarily entitled to bring the action — unless one of them is serving as the personal representative, of course — they are most likely the ones who will benefit from the eventual damage recovery.

For example, if the estate brings a survival action against a defendant and secures $100,000 in damages, then those funds will eventually be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.  If you and your sibling are the two sole (and equal) beneficiaries, then each of you will receive $50,000 more than originally anticipated.

Damages in a Survival Action

In Arizona survival actions, the law allows for the recovery of damages for lost wages, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and medical expenses (paid by the deceased).  Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages may also be available.

Unfortunately, however, there are strict limitations on “pain and suffering” recovery — section 14-3110 of the Arizona Revised Statutes specifically restrict recovery of pain and suffering damages in a survival action.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Skilled Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Loss-of-life claims can be particularly confusing for those who have little (or no) experience with injury lawsuits.  Depending on the type of action — wrongful death or survival — litigation will proceed quite differently.  Given the relative complexity of such litigation, it’s important that you get in touch with an experienced attorney who has a proven track record of success in handling wrongful death and survival actions.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we bring decades of combined experience in loss-of-life litigation to bear in representing those affected by the wrongful death at-issue.  We are committed to the provision of client-oriented legal advocacy.  Not only are we paid on contingency (e.g. we are only paid if you succeed in recovering damages), but we accept a reduced fee in comparison to competitor firms.  We also keep our clients “in the know” with regard to developments in the case, and work with them to ensure that our strategic goals are aligned.

Call (602) 535-1900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We look forward to assisting you.

In Arizona, as in other states, those who have lost a loved one to an accident (that was caused by another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional acts) may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death claim.

How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work?

Wrongful death claims give a right of action to certain surviving family members of the deceased, allowing those surviving family members to recover damages to compensate them for the various losses they suffered as a result of the death at-issue.  Importantly, wrongful death claims are not intended to compensate the surviving family members for the suffering of the deceased.  Instead, they are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their own damages.

These damages may include:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Funeral expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of domestic services
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Loss of financial support
  • Mental distress
  • And more

Suppose, for example, that a close relative — perhaps your father — was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The accident did not immediately result in your father’s death.  He is rushed to the hospital.  After a few days in intensive care and a difficult struggle for survival, your father dies.

In the above example, you cannot recover (in a wrongful death action) damages for your father’s pain and suffering, or for their medical expenses or wage loss.  You can only recover damages for your own losses.  If your father was providing you monthly financial support, for example, then you could recover those damages as part of your wrongful death claim.

When determining whether you are entitled to recover wrongful death damages, there are a number of factors that have to be considered: 1) you may only recover if the accident was actually caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of the defendant (if the accident does not actually implicate the liability of a third-party, then you cannot recover), and 2) you must be a qualified, surviving family member.

Who is Entitled to Recover for Wrongful Death?

According to section 12-612 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, an action for wrongful death may be brought by any of the following survivors, related to the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent (or guardian)
  • Personal representative

It’s important to note that Arizona law does not give siblings, and other surviving family members, the right to recover for wrongful death.  If multiple surviving family members are bringing a wrongful death action against the defendant(s), then they will have the right to recover in proportion to their damages.

Speak With an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney for Assistance

If you have lost a family member in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may give you the right to recover in a wrongful death action.  Wrongful death claims can be quite complicated, however — you must not only establish that the defendant caused the death of your loved one (by acting in a negligent or wrongful manner), but you must also demonstrate that you qualify to receive wrongful death damages under the law.  It’s therefore critical that you get in touch with an attorney who has a long track record of success in handling such claims.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys boast several decades of combined experience representing injured clients in a range of accident claims.  We believe that by dedicating ourselves to motor vehicle accident claims, we are able to provide more comprehensive and effective legal representation to our clients.

Like most other personal injury and wrongful death firms, we work on contingency — we are only paid if we win your case — but we charge a discounted contingency fee, ensuring that our clients can keep more of what they rightfully recover in litigation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.

The goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the plaintiff — a monetary award or settlement — so that he or she is “made whole” for the damages caused by the injuries. Usually the plaintiff is the injured person, so the damages are those directly suffered by the plaintiff – for example, medical expenses paid by the injured person, pain and suffering endured by the injured person and income lost by the injured person.

But what happens if the injured person dies because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence or misconduct? In the absence of the injured person, who can file a lawsuit and for what damages?

A claim for wrongful death is the law’s answer to this problem. It allows the deceased victim’s estate and his or her family members to bring a lawsuit for the decedent’s damages AND the damages suffered by the family. Contact a skilled Phoenix injury lawyer if you need help with your case.

Who can claim damages?

In Arizona, wrongful death claims can be brought by the deceased victim’s surviving spouse, children or parents, and by an executor or personal representative on behalf of the victim’s estate.

What damages are recoverable?

Wrongful death damages can be thought of as falling into 2 categories. The first category compensates the decedent’s estate for the damages the victim suffered, including:

  • Funeral/burial expenses;
  • Medical expenses incurred prior to death;
  • Income lost prior to death;
  • Lost future income (based on the idea that the victim would have accumulated more assets and left a larger estate if he or she had survived);
  • Property damaged in the incident causing his or her death (if the incident were a car accident, for example, the damaged property would be a vehicle); and
  • Pain and suffering endured before death.

The second category compensates family members for the damages THEY suffer from the victim’s untimely death, including:

  • The lost value of household services the victim performed;
  • The loss of care, companionship, and guidance; and
  • Pain and suffering (grief, sorrow, shock).

If the family members paid for all or some of the victim’s expenses arising from the accident (medical bills, funeral expenses), claims for those damages would be brought by the family members, not the estate.

What about punitive damages?

Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious actions and to deter others from committing similar misconduct. They can be awarded in a wrongful death case without regard to the economic damages claimed by the plaintiffs, but the standard for obtaining punitive damages under Arizona law is strict.

As a general rule, the defendant’s conduct must be outrageous and reckless to support a claim for punitive damages. In other words, the defendant’s behavior must be worse than mere carelessness or inattention. Actions that seem more conscious or intentional are more likely to meet the test for punitive damages — like driving a car when you know the brakes are defective or repeatedly driving when severely intoxicated.

Are there caps or limits on damages?

Some states have laws that place limits or caps on the damages a plaintiff can receive in a personal injury lawsuit, but Article 2, Section 31 of the Arizona Constitution provides that no such law is permitted in Arizona.

If a family member has died because of a car, truck or motorcycle accident in Phoenix or elsewhere in the state, an injury lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call any of our offices to schedule a free consultation.

Call Now Button