An unexpected death can affect a number of people beyond the individual who dies. Their employer, their social circle and their broader community may all suffer due to the tragedy.
The surviving dependent family members and the closest friends of the deceased individual will likely be the ones to struggle the most with a sudden loss. Sometimes, the death of a person is not the result of illness or a true accident but rather the misconduct of someone else. Other times, negligence could contribute to a fatality.
Under Arizona law, those directly affected by a death caused by negligence, default or wrongful acts can bring a wrongful death claim. Who has the legal right to initiate such a lawsuit?
Those with close relationships have the strongest claim
Arizona’s wrongful death statute specifically references close family relationships when it lists the people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Surviving spouses, children and parents are usually the ones who pursue a lawsuit against an individual or business they hold responsible for their loved one’s death. However, in situations where someone does not have surviving family members to file on their behalf, a representative of their estate can take legal action.
Wrongful death lawsuits can help family members by reimbursing them for the income their loved one will never earn and the costs the family incurred because of the death. A wrongful death claim can also give people a sense of justice by holding someone accountable for a tragedy. Learning about wrongful death lawsuits can help you decide if your family has grounds to pursue one.