Wrongful Death Claim FAQ

The Watkin Law Office, PC Answers Your Questions

Losing a loved one is something that is life-altering. There is nothing that can be done to bring that person back. If a person's negligent or reckless actions were at the root cause of their death, however, the victim's family should surely not have to deal with the financial aftermath on their own. The last thing that a family wants to have to do after they have lost their family member, spouse or significant other is to have to face all of these exorbitant bills, loss of income and other expenses alone.

At The Watkin Law Office, PC in Scottsdale, we want to compassionately come alongside you during this time and be of service in any way that we can. Take a look at the following frequently asked questions and find the relevant answers below. Get in touch with our firm office to learn more.

What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

This is an area of the law that varies from state to state. In Arizona, an injured person can bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault party for his pain, suffering and economic losses, including medical bills, lost earnings, etc. However, in Arizona, it the injured person dies as a direct result of those same injuries, then any claim he may have had for his own pain and suffering "dies with him." At that point (the injured person's death), only two types of claims remain:

  • A wrongful death lawsuit brought by his survivors for their own pain, suffering and economic damages; and
  • A potential claim brought on behalf of the decedent's estate, limited to the recovery (from the defendant) of the decedent's medical and other expenses incidental to his pre-death injuries.

In Arizona, even when the decedent experienced excruciating pain and suffering prior to dying, the law does not permit a claim to be brought on his behalf for any of that. Remember: if the statute of limitations has run on the personal injury lawsuit, and the death resulted from those injuries, the legal claim may be time-barred and no longer valid. Competent legal advice can help you sort out your state's approach.

Can a wrongful death action be brought if the deceased never had a wage-paying job?

Yes, absolutely. Whether the decedent was a minor child, a stay at home mom or dad, a disabled or special needs person or anybody else, so long as he or she is survived by a child, spouse or parent, that survivor may bring a wrongful death claim. In any of these situations (and others), chances are good that the survivor is suffering from the loss of the decedent, and that is the only requirement.

Can a plaintiff sue for the pain and suffering of the decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit?

No. As mentioned above, although Arizona awards pain and suffering damages the person who experienced the pain and suffering, if that same individual dies from his injuries, no pain and suffering he experienced prior to death may be recovered by his survivors. Instead, while the injured person who dies "loses" his claim for pain and suffering, his survivors "gain" a new legal claim against the party at fault – a claim for their own pain and suffering resulting from the loss of the decedent.

Have more questions? Call our Scottsdale injury lawyer!

With over 40 years of experience working in the field of personal injury law and representing wrongful death claims, Attorney Clark Watkin is highly knowledgeable regarding the information needed to walk away with a successful case result. While he does not promise anything, having a reliable Scottsdale wrongful death lawyer by your side throughout the duration of your case can only help your claim.

Never using a cookie-cutter approach, Attorney Watkin is well aware that your case is unique. That being said, he investigates each and every case on an individual basis, looking for evidence or witnesses that can help further the success of his client's claim. You can rest easier knowing that you have an attorney with you who is adamant about protecting your rights—no matter what it takes. Contact our firm today or fill out our free case evaluation form to retain the proper representation you both need and deserve. We can be reached at (480) 281-3838.