Have you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence? Check out these 5 things to learn about your wrongful death claim, then call us.
1. Choosing an Attorney
Anytime anyone loses a loved one due to the carelessness or recklessness of someone else, which is typically called wrongful death, the question always comes up: How do I choose the best law firm for dealing with the loss of my loved one? In fact, someone called our office the other day and spoke to one of our attorneys and asked that very question. Here’s what the attorney responded.
The first thing that you probably want to look for is a lawyer or law firm that are sensitive to what you and your family are going through. At our law firm, we’re acutely sensitive to what you and your family members are going through. We actually can refer you to a wonderful grief support network of people who have gone through the exact thing that you’re dealing with right now. You’ll feel the difference immediately, and they can give you some specific things that can help you deal with your grief and your loss.
When it comes to the legal side of it, that’s where you also want to have a law firm who’s sensitive to your needs and what you family is going through. Sure, we’re going to jump in on the legal side, but it helps to have someone that you can basically just pour your heart out to, as we take you through the legal process. If you think you’re not ready to deal with the legal issues, call us anyway and let us make the referrals to people who have been through what you’ve been through and can help you on the emotional side. Do it for that reason alone, if nothing else.
2. Wrongful Death Claims
What constitutes a wrongful death claim? We had that question posed recently to one of our attorneys and this is how our attorney responded. It was a situation involving a couple that had lived together and had never, at least in Arizona, been married. The reason it’s important that someone calls our office and gets the right analysis is because if they had lived in Arizona their entire life, which wasn’t the case, the partner would have had no rights for recovery. However, in that particular case they had lived in another state for the required years and they were considered married in that state. When they moved to Arizona, we could use that and the spouse was able to recover for the loss of the father of her children, so that made a big difference.
Those kinds of issues are not simple that’s why you need to call and talk to one of our attorneys and let them analyze your case. They can then tell you what rights you may have. Now, even in a case where a spouse isn’t married, as the attorney explained, there still can be rights as to, let’s say, the mother to the children, especially if they’re young children. You have to have special protection for the children with setting up protective conservatorship and protecting their money and things like that. One of our attorneys can explain all that. That’s down the road, but you need to be aware of that.
The most important question is who is going to actually be in charge of the claim— who’s going to be directing the main part of the case. Call us, and one of our attorneys can explain it. As the attorney explained in that other case, it’s usually the surviving spouse, if we can show that they were legally married.
What do you do in a situation where parties to the case don’t get along? Well, they can have their own attorney represent their interests, and we’ve done that before. Maybe the surviving spouse chooses one law firm, and we represent the parents, or the other way around. That way, we actually work together as a team and we can keep, let’s just say, animosity, or keep better feelings among the family members. That can be very helpful because there may be situations where one spouse is driving, possibly got tired or something, and the car crashed and then the other spouse was killed. It’s very common for the parents to lay blame. That’s another reason why we can be helpful, to analyze an accident and show it wasn’t necessarily – these kinds of cases are reasons to call us and let us see how we can most help you and the surviving family members.
3. Wrongful Death Survivor
This is a common question where a family has lost a loved one and there are different feelings about which law firm should be hired, or if they should even hire a law firm.
If you are a brother or sister of the victim, for example, can you make a claim? We had a call the other day about that and they spoke to one of our attorneys. What our attorney advised is in Arizona, unfortunately, brothers and sisters generally do not have a claim for wrongful death. Now, there are states right next door to us that allow that. Again, one of the important factors is where did this accident happen. In Arizona, generally brothers and sisters don’t have a claim. Now, parents generally do, as the attorney explained, and spouses do, children do. They say, well, what about sometimes this child lived with us, but we never adopted them. Those are situations you need to call us about; they’re more complicated. As the attorney explained, generally parents, spouses, and children are the normal claimants in Arizona.
There are some other situations in which recovery is possible for other reasons, but that’s another reason to call us and talk to one of our attorneys. As the attorney explained the other day on the phone to somebody who called in, normally if there’s a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is in charge of the litigation, or the claim. The other family members, if they don’t agree on how it’s being handled, can get their own independent law firm to represent them. We can work together as a team and have a good result for the family.
4. Case Timeline
The question of how long a case will take often comes up after someone loses a loved one due to somebody else’s recklessness or carelessness. Do you have to continue to suffer emotionally whilst the legal process drags out? Is it going to go on for years? How long is it going to take? Well that’s a common question and in fact, one of our attorneys was asked that question the other day and here’s how they responded.
The process depends, of course, on the specific facts. That’s why you need to call us so we can have one of our attorneys analyze it. It can either be very quick or the other extreme, very long and drawn out. There are some cases that fall in the middle, but not very many. The reason why it can be very quick is because if there is not that much insurance available, let’s say 25,000.
Now there are times where we can even negotiate things. For example, say there was a situation in a nursing home where the staff had left somebody who was wheelchair-bound outside. His electric wheelchair had tipped over and he had literally fried to an egg on the sidewalk in the middle of the summer in Phoenix. Then they got together, and they did a cover up. They put his body in a super cold area and waited a long time before they called anybody. Then later on, the medical examiner told the family, no, this gentleman did not just pass in his sleep. He’s got burns all over his body. Something horrible happened. Then a member of the staff finally, on the sly, told the family what really happened. Of course, the nursing home totally denied this and just said, oh, no, of course that never happened. Situations like that can be resolved quickly in a mediation. Once the true facts came out, we were able to resolve those cases quickly.
In other situations, they hide it. They just try to say, no, we didn’t do anything wrong. Your loved one died of a heart attack. They’ll even have influence on what the medical death certificate says. They’ll get the death certificate signed without a medical doctor even examining the person, which is a violation, but it happens. Anyway, those situations can take a lot longer to resolve.
5. Determining the Value of Your Case
One question always comes up in a wrongful death claim: How do you determine the value of the case? No amount of money will bring a loved one back, so how is it valued, if we’re just talking about money, since there’s no amount of money that could be equivalent to the life of a loved one? If you’re going through it, you understand that even a hundred million dollars is not going to bring your loved one back. How are those determinations made?
We’ve had clients call our law firm just recently and speak to one of our attorneys and this is what our attorney said. Emotionally, no, there is no amount of money that can ever take their place, it’s just not possible, but for insurance companies, they always reduce things down to dollars and cents. For them, they can put a number on it and if you don’t get an experienced law firm like ours working on your case, they’ll put a number on the value of your loved one that will be shockingly low in most cases. That’s an important reason to call us and at least talk to us on the phone for free. Then if you have one of our attorneys analyze your case in detail, we can explain how insurance companies put a number on the life of your loved one.
Insurance companies consider, for one, whether your loved one was working— how many years of income were list? That makes a big difference. It hurts our potential clients when they hear how insurance companies value these things. Did their loved one die instantly or were they in agony for several hours or days or something like that. These are all factors that are difficult to even discuss emotionally. Quite frankly, if this is a fresh situation and your heart is just bursting, we probably won’t go into that part of the case in a lot of detail now. We’ll focus on helping you recover emotionally, but when the appropriate time comes, we can discuss these things. In the meantime, we’ll be able to use the right experts to value the life of your loved one the way insurance companies value it, which is just dollars and cents. Even emotional pain they reduce down to dollars and cents.
Insurance companies value all those things, unfortunately, in dollars and cents. Understanding that, let us take care of that part of the case while you recover emotionally. We can refer you to great resources, great people who have been through what you’re going through right now. They lost a loved one because of a drunk driver or someone else’s carelessness or reckless behavior. They went through the process themselves and you’ll feel the difference when you talk to them immediately from just a regular counselor. Call us and we’ll be able to deal with the insurance company on the dollars and cents level. We’ll also help you deal with your grief and recover from the hole in your heart that losing a loved one caused you.
Did you lose a loved one from the negligence of another in Arizona and have questions about these 5 things to learn about your wrongful death claim? Contact experienced Gilbert Wrongful Death Attorneys at Free Injury Advice today for a legal consultation.
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