A wrongful death settlement is often the only way for a family member to seek justice for their loved one who may have died in a situation that could have been prevented.

If you’re concerned that your family member may have died under circumstances that could have been stopped, for example, after a fall within a nursing home, you will be entitled to legal assistance.

Our guide to wrongful death claims helps explain what is considered a wrongful death in the state of Arizona, as well as how long a settlement can take and what the compensation is.

What is a wrongful death settlement?

A wrongful death settlement is a specific legal settlement awarded to surviving family members following the death of a loved one.

They are awarded after a case has found that compensation should be granted following a death that could have been prevented.

Wrongful death settlements happen across the US every year, recognizing justice for people who should not have died in the circumstances they did, for example, after an accident at work or a fall within a residential nursing home. Other examples of wrongful deaths include:

  • Accidental death relating to medication overdose or a medical malpractice
  • Drowning or boat accidents
  • Pedestrian, motorcyclists and other vehicle accidents
  • A workplace accident on building sites or office settings

A wrongful death settlement will have been filed by an experienced attorney who specializes in this area of law, fighting on behalf of a family.

Once the damages are awarded, it is then down to the surviving family members to share and divide the compensation equally amongst themselves.

How do I file a wrongful death claim?

If your family member or loved has died under suspicious or wrongful circumstances, you can file a wrongful death claim directly with a specialized wrongful death attorney. Within the state of Arizona, there are many professional attorneys who work closely with state law to represent families in wrongful death cases.

Many wrongful death attorneys offer a free initial consultation with you to help determine:

  • What your situation is
  • Whether you have a case
  • How they can help you and your family.

Hiring a legal professional means they will handle all aspects of your legal case, relieving you and your family in a very difficult and emotional time.

How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

If you’re looking to file a wrongful death on behalf of your loved one, and live in Arizona, you have up to two years from the date they die to file a claim with a wrongful death attorney.

It’s important to act sooner rather than later if you suspect a death could have been prevented as leaving it after two years means by law you won’t have a legal case to file.

Seeking legal advice as soon as you suspect there was obvious negligence surrounding a loved one’s death will help speed up the process and ensure you get the right compensation and legal outcome that correctly reflects the situation.

How is a wrongful death settlement payout worked out?

A specialized attorney will work out the total financial compensation that each unique wrongful death case deserves based on a few different factors.

They will analyze the following and consider the implications of the case based on these:

  • The nature of the accidental death
  • The age and general health status of the deceased
  • The occupation and annual income of the deceased person
  • How many dependents are left and their circumstances
  • Any outstanding medical bills caused directly by the case
  • Any value of lost benefits such as life insurance, pensions, etc.
  • All funeral costs

Your attorney will base their final settlement request based on all of the listed factors as they will recognize the importance of considering the deficit caused by the death of your family member.

Wrongful death settlements are not just figures plucked from the air or based on other similar cases, as they carefully consider the individual situation.

How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?

As with all legal types of cases, the length of time it takes to reach a settlement depends on a few different factors including how and where the accidental death happened.

Wrongful death claims typically take several years to reach a settlement, as there are many factors to be considered when it comes to proving a death could have been prevented.

The average wrongful death lawsuit handled in Arizona takes between 1 – 4 years with an experienced attorney.

If you choose not to employ a legal representative your claim could be settled in under a year, but there is potential for compensation to be significantly less than if you had legal representation.

We always recommend seeking legal advice if you’re considering filing a wrongful death case, to ensure you and your family members receive the right compensation for your grief.

How much will a wrongful death settlement cost me in legal fees?

The cost of seeking legal advice in Arizona depends on who you choose to work with.

The cost of hiring an attorney is typically associated with expertise; the more experience they have and even the number of successful cases they have can significantly impact their fees.

It’s also important to discuss payment with your wrongful death attorney as every law firm works differently when it comes to payments.

Some will want an upfront payment before starting legal proceedings whereas others may simply deduct their fees from your final compensation amount awarded.

How much will the wrongful death settlement be?

In the US, wrongful death settlement payouts range from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions, depending on the individual case and attorney.

The wrongful death settlement will depend on a few different factors including  the circumstances in which the death happened.

There is no guarantee of millions of dollars but due to the very nature of wrongful death cases, the surviving family will be compensated for their loss.

In most wrongful death cases, the insurance company representing the company being sued will be making the payout.

Do you have to pay taxes on a wrongful death settlement?

No, following recent changes to tax law any personal physical injury or wrongful death settlement is not taxed.

Additionally under state law, as long as the settlement is for a compensatory case, the amount will remain non-taxable.

Who gets the money in a wrongful death settlement?

Due to the nature of a wrongful death settlement, the person who should be rewarded the compensation is no longer alive so any financial compensation is then awarded to their immediate family or a legal guardian or beneficiary in a will.

In the state of Arizona, the surviving family members will receive the payment and it is then up to the individuals to divide it equally. The following qualifies as an immediate family member:

  • A spouse or legal partner
  • A sibling
  • A surviving child or children
  • Legal guardian or beneficiary listed

If the family members cannot agree on the financial share of a wrongful death settlement, the family will then have to go through further legal proceedings to establish how much each individual will receive.

Other frequently asked questions about wrongful death settlements

There are many other questions around wrongful death settlements that people have including costs and whether insurance policies can cover you for a wrongful death if you’re a nursing home owner.

Does insurance cover a wrongful death case?

Yes a liability insurance policy will cover any kind of wrongful death settlement payout if you’re a registered and licensed nursing home owner. If your loved one had a life insurance policy that was within date when they died, the insurance company will pay out.

How quickly should I contact an attorney

If you suspect your loved one died under circumstances that could have been easily prevented or feel their nursing home could have done more to protect them, you could have a viable case for a wrongful death lawsuit.

You will have a window of two years from the date your family member passed away to file for a plausible wrongful death settlement case with an experienced attorney. The sooner you reach out for legal advice, the sooner your family can start fighting for justice.

Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney who has proven experience handling cases of a similar nature will ensure you and your family receive the right level of justice on behalf of your deceased loved one.

Wrongful death settlements serve the purpose of seeking justice and support for the surviving family members of someone who has died as a direct result of an accident caused by negligence. The final payout will then reflect the suffering of both the deceased and their surviving family but also consider other factors as we’ve mentioned in our guide.

If you’re looking for legal advice or want to speak to an attorney today about a potential wrongful death case, speak to one of our team today.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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