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January 18, 2023

The Basics of Wrongful Death

Posted in Uncategorized

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a type of personal injury case that involves the death of your loved one because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness or willful action. Wrongful death cases can arise from any area of personal injury law, including car accidents, medical malpractice, dog bites, birth injuries, slip and falls, workplace injuries, defective products or premises liability. Your personal injury lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ, at the Yearin Law Office can help you determine if you have a wrongful death case.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?

In Arizona, a wrongful death can be brought by the spouse, children, parents or estate of the decedent. This varies from state to state. Your personal injury attorney in Scottsdale, AZ, at Yearin Law Office may be able to help you if none of those relatives are left, for example if you’re the decedent’s niece and only living relative.

Is Wrongful Death a Crime?

Some wrongful deaths are the result of crimes, but most are not. Some of the wrongful deaths resulting from crimes include homicide, assault, DUI and other traffic violations. You may wind up having two trials in such cases: a criminal trial to determine guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, and a civil trial to determine liability by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means if you think there’s a 50% chance the defendant was liable, you vote that the defendant was liable.

What Are Some of the Causes of Wrongful Death?

Some common causes of wrongful death include:

  • Car accident, including cases where a defect in the car led to death
  • Workplace accidents, including slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice, including medication errors
  • Nursing home deaths attributable to negligence or medical errors

What Is a Survival Action?

A survival action is a lawsuit that seeks damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering from the time the decedent was injured and the time of death. It proceeds as if the person was still alive. The estate will usually bring a survival action against the other party, and any damages recovered will be split between the decedent’s heirs. A personal injury attorney in Scottsdale, AZ, can help you put together a survival action.

Do You Have to Get an Autopsy in a Wrongful Death Case?

You don’t absolutely have to get an autopsy in a wrongful death case, but it can be invaluable in certain instances. For example, if someone died because of medical malpractice, the cause of death is central to the case. 

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