Wrongful Death Information Center
The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Zachar Law Firm, strive to provide you with the information necessary to make informed decisions about your wrongful death claim. Toward this end, we are providing you with the following general information about wrongful death.
If you have any questions about the information contained below, or if you would like to discuss your accidental death claim with an experienced personal injury attorney, please schedule a free confidential consultation by calling us at 602-494-4800, or filling out our intake form. Our service is our legacy.
Wrongful Death – An Overview
Losing a loved one is painful. Losing a loved one due to wrongful death can be even more difficult. If someone’s wrongful actions caused injuries that resulted in your loved one’s death, that is a wrongful death. At common law, there was no legal action that surviving family members could take. That changed, however, when governments began to make laws protecting survivors. Now, in every state in the US, the representative or heirs of a person lost to wrongful death may file a lawsuit for monetary damages. The laws, however, vary quite a bit from state to state, so consulting with an attorney from Christopher J. Zachar in Phoenix, Arizona, is advisable.
The main method courts have for measuring loss in wrongful death lawsuits is pecuniary damages — that is, the court must determine the proper compensation for the financial loss that the death has caused. Though this may seem harsh or cold, money damages are the remedy that civil courts have at their disposal. Thus, when the courts measure loss, the first thing most of them turn to is quantifiable data:
- How much money did the deceased earn?
- How much money did the deceased save?
- How financially dependent were the survivors on the deceased?
The court will also take into consideration:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
The Physician-Patient Privilege in Wrongful Death Cases
The physician-patient privilege is designed to help each patient feel free to tell the doctor the whole truth about what the patient is experiencing; that way, the doctor will have the best information for diagnosing and treating the patient. This privilege can be very important for the relationship between the doctor and the patient. When a patient passes away, however, what happens to the privilege?
If you want to take legal action because your loved one suffered a wrongful death, you may have questions about the privacy of the medical records involved. For more information on physician-patient privilege, speak with an experienced attorney.
The Wrongful Death of a Child or an Elderly Person
No matter what the age of the loved one you have lost, the grief is powerful. The law, however, often takes age into account when it assesses your loss. Because your loved one cannot be replaced, the law is at a disadvantage to truly compensate you. Money is one measure that the legal system can objectively use to reflect what has been lost. For more information on how the law applies to the wrongful death of your child or elderly relative, contact an attorney.
Statutes of Limitations and the Discovery Rule
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one due to wrongful death, the last thing you may want to think about is how your legal rights are affected. The law surrounding wrongful death, however, allows legal action to be taken only for a limited period of time. When this period has elapsed, you will no longer have the option of filing a lawsuit. An attorney can answer your questions about how much time you have to take action.
Monetary Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Legal actions for wrongful death can be very complex, especially when the harmful acts of several parties contributed to an individual’s death. Some parties may settle the matter before the case goes to trial; others may see it all the way to a verdict. No matter who the defendant is, the amount and type of financial recovery the plaintiff can make depend on the law of the state in which the case takes place. Contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights.
Wrongful Death Resource Links
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
This governmental agency, part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), provides comprehensive information on workplace safety and health.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA, part of the US Department of Labor, protects US employees by proposing and enforcing workplace safety and health measures.
How to Deal with Grief
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) discusses the feelings that accompany grief and how to manage them.
The CDC offers numerous links to information on how environmental factors like hazardous waste, carbon monoxide and asbestos can affect your health.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
This governmental agency provides information on recalled, potentially dangerous products and offers safety tips for the home.