Driving a motor vehicle or riding in one as a passenger is a dangerous act. We all accept a certain degree of personal risk when we choose to travel at high speeds on open roads.

That being said, accepting that there is some risk inherent in the activity is not the same thing as accepting the risk that can occur when other people make bad decisions.

Under Arizona law, surviving family members can sometimes bring wrongful death claims against drivers who caused fatal crashes. What kinds of driving decisions open the door to such legal action?

Wrongful acts or misconduct can lead to civil suits

Under Arizona’s wrongful death statute, wrongful acts and misconduct, such as violations of state or federal laws, can constitute grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Examples of this kind of behavior include texting at the wheel, driving drunk, driving while under the influence of drugs or racing on public roads.

Neglect or failure to act can also lead to wrongful death claims

In addition to criminal behavior and misconduct, neglect or omission, meaning failure to act in a timely manner as necessary, can also lead to wrongful death claims.

Examples of negligence at the wheel might include singing along to the radio instead of watching the road in front of you or failing to adequately maintain your vehicle in such a way that its condition contributes to the crash.

If you believe that someone else has legal responsibility for a collision that claimed the life of your loved one, talking about the details of the situation can help you better determine what rights you have.