Although there are strict laws in place in Arizona to protect elders from abuse, there are still high levels of neglect, according to Arizona Adult Protective Services.
In addition, figures from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office show there are up to 6,900 cases of abuse every year.
While financial and emotional abuse is rife, physical abuse and neglect also happen all too often. In many cases, it can be difficult for nursing home patients to explain what is happening. In some circumstances, like dementia, the patient may not be fully aware of the abuse that is occurring. At its worst, this abuse can lead to wrongful death.
Neglect or a failure to act on known problems is another serious issue, which can lead to the injury or wrongful death of a care home resident.
If this has happened to you, it’s likely there are facts surrounding wrongful death that you may not understand. In this article, we’ll answer key questions, including a question that naturally arises: who will receive payment in a wrongful death settlement?
Each state has its own laws regarding who will receive the settlement from a wrongful death. In Arizona, these are set out Revised Statute 12-612. Under the Statute, any damages will distribute the settlement to:
However, if there are no surviving relatives, any settlement will become part of the deceased estate.
The amount of damages will depend on the plaintiff’s relationship with the deceased. For example:
As set out in statute, a judge will decide what is a fair amount for each family member.
Plaintiffs typically receive payments in two ways: a once off settlement or a structured settlement. The type of settlement you choose will depend on your personal situation.
Wrongful deaths can occur for a variety of reasons. In a nursing home, it could be because an individual member of staff was careless and failed to follow guidelines or care plans. Alternatively, the home may have poor procedures in place or known safety issues that it didn’t address.
Examples of a wrongful death include:
As set out in Arizona statute there are some circumstances that exempt an individual from receiving compensation. These apply if a part is:
The full statute with all of its exemptions is available to view online.
You rarely have to pay taxes on a wrongful death settlement. However, taxes may come into play if they have left you a considerable estate, or if punitive damages are awarded.
Although there is no estate tax in Arizona itself, federal state taxes may still apply.
You can find out more about the tax implications of receiving a wrongful death settlement here.
Generally speaking, a lawyer cannot say precisely how much the defendant will settle your case for. However, there will be several factors that can contribute to the final amount, including:
Inheritance taxes may apply if you inherit from a state which charges inheritance taxes. These taxes don’t apply to a surviving spouse.
There are calls to grant nursing homes legal exemptions COVID-19 pandemic.
However, some residents and their families are already taking legal action over the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE). And there are concerns incidents of poor care or neglect may increase.
But regardless of the pandemic, nursing homes must provide your loved one with the usual high level of care. If you have concerns this isn’t happening, speak to a lawyer.
Aside from your emotional, non-emotional and any punitive damages, a judge will examine any mitigating and aggravating factors and this may be reflected in your damages.
No, not all cases end up at court, which is good news for grieving families that can find the thought of a court case difficult to bear. In some cases the defendant may settle the dispute before it goes this far.
This depends on the lawsuit you filed. If your lawsuit covered costs for medical bills, then you would need to pay a Medicare or Medicaid Lien from your settlement. This applies to both wrongful death settlements and to survival actions.
No. However, if the action is taken by a representative acting for the deceased, then the estate will inherit any debts.
Sometimes, the insurance policy will not be enough to compensate you and your family for your loss.
In addition, if the actions of a defendant were deliberate, then their liability insurance won’t cover them.
In these circumstances, you may want to consider other options. A lawyer can explain these to you.
No. Only one person needs to file a claim on behalf of the rest of the family. A lawyer can talk you through this.
If you feel a loved one’s death occurred because of another party’s negligent actions, a lawyer can help you by:
Losing a loved one is never easy. Those left behind often feel a sense of injustice, anger and helplessness. These are normal feelings, which are heightened if you feel the trauma of your grief could’ve been avoided.
Although you may feel you are alone in a situation like this, seeking some level of closure is possible through legal means.
Seeking compensation for the wrongful actions of another party isn’t about a financial award. It’s about holding those responsible to account, covering your financial burdens, and allowing you to move on from the sense of injustice you may feel.
To find out more about pursuing a wrongful death settlement in Arizona, contact The Thompson Law Firm.
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