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Wrongful Death

Coping with the loss of a family member is one of the most challenging times of your life.  The grieving process is intensified when the death of your loved one was caused by another party's wrongdoing or negligence.  In these cases, you may be within your rights to file a wrongful death lawsuit, allowing you to receive the financial compensation and emotional closure that your family deserves.

These compensatory damages are meant as restitution for any amount of money lost, including the recovery of medical and funeral expenses.  Additionally, these damages cover the amount of economic support that the family would have received if the decedent had lived.  In some cases, a sum of money is provided to compensate for grief and the loss of services and companionship.

Many variables must be taken into account when determining the amount of damages in wrongful death actions.  Compensation is computed by multiplying the decedent's salary by the number of years he or she would have lived.  This can also be adjusted for various factors, including inflation.  Standard actuarial tables are used as guides for the life expectancy of particular age and gender groups.  A jury may also consider the decedent's physical health, mental health, and career.  However, potential earnings cannot always be used to calculate damages because not everyone is employed.  In these cases, the court has outlined minimum yearly dollar amounts for the worth of an individual who was unemployed at the time of their wrongful death.

If the defendant's actions were particularly heinous or reckless, punitive damages may also be awarded.  Punitive damages are awarded at the discretion of the jury as a means of punishment for the defendant.

All recovered damages are distributed among the beneficiaries according to the statutes of Arizona.  Frequently, courts divide these damages based on the extent of each individual's loss.