Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Personal Injury Attorney Mark E. Hall – Generally, any personal injury claim requires three things; First, a duty owed to another person. Second, the breach of that duty. Third, damages/harm. The laws in each state in the U.S. say a person (or company) generally owes a “duty of reasonable care” toward every other person. In general, this means that we must each exercise ordinary care and not cause harm to anyone. That’s the “duty” part. But frequently, people “breach” that duty by being careless, forgetful, reckless or just plain stupid. That’s the “breach” part.
The simple truth is that we have probably ALL breached our “duty” of reasonable care at some point; and if that is as far as things progressed, then we were fortunate. But in the situations that constitute valid grounds for personal injury and wrongful death claims, there is more; the breach of the duty of care resulted in the injury or death of another person. Because it is in those situations that the injured person—the “victim,” and often the “plaintiff”—have a lawful claim for personal injuries or wrongful death against the party at fault.
This is true whether the act or omission of the at-fault party was negligent, innocent, accidental, reckless, intentional or even criminal. That at-fault individual or company is liable to the victim or their surviving family members for the victim’s physical pain, mental and emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, lost earnings, medical expenses, and other economic losses. So, even when the person at fault is facing simultaneous criminal charges for his actions, the victim may bring a civil lawsuit against him for pain and suffering.
In general, there are two distinct types of legal claims that comprise the typical wrongful death lawsuit. While some damages have an economic value, other forms of less tangible damages like emotional anguish and loss of companionship require skilled advocacy to persuade the jury to award an appropriate amount. One type of legal claim is brought on behalf of designated surviving family members for their own harm suffered by the loss of a loved one. Because these damages may include items like mental anguish and/or loss of companionship, care and comfort; this type of claim is sometimes referred to as the “wrongful death claim.”
Generally, the other type of claim in a wrongful death lawsuit is designed to provide compensation for losses and harm experienced by a decedent’s estate. Also, this type of claim is often referred to as a survival action because the right to damages for suffering personal injury “survives” the death of a victim. In addition, the estate of the decedent may seek damages for expenses like funeral/burial expenses, medical bills, and other economic losses.
Furthermore, a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona can only be brought if the decedent would have had a legal claim for damages if the fatality victim had survived. So, In other words, the individual, public entity or company that causes the death must have been “at fault” to justify a wrongful death lawsuit. Also, negligent conduct is the most frequent basis of liability in a wrongful death action, but intentional acts including violent crimes can also constitute a basis for imposing liability for fatal injuries. Also, some of the common scenarios, hazards and/or misconduct involved in legal claims for wrongful death in Arizona include:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Tractor-trailer collisions
- Motorcycle crashes
- Rollovers involving 15-passenger vans and SUVs
- Distracted driving crashes
- Other fatal motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
Personal Injury Attorney