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Surprise Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing someone is painful enough without having to come to terms with the fact that it could have been prevented by reasonable care. The circumstances that led to wrongful death are almost always something that could have been avoided if the responsible parties had chosen to follow the standard of care required of them. As a result, families not only have to deal with the sudden and preventable death of their loved one, but they often face incredible financial and emotional strain as well. 

Jensen Phelan Law Firm is a personal injury firm with over 65 years of combined experience helping families and victims hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. We know that no amount of money can make up for your loss, but we will provide you with the compassion, support, and compensation you deserve to help you and your family begin to heal from such a tragic loss. Our attorneys will take on your claim and handle every aspect of it so you have time to focus on what matters most.

How to Prove Wrongful Death in Arizona

In Arizona, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity. This can include:

  • Negligence: When a person or entity fails to exercise reasonable care and caution, leading to the injury or death of another person
  • Gross Negligence: Negligence that involves reckless or wanton misconduct
  • Intentional harm: When a person or entity intentionally causes harm to another person, resulting in their death.
  • Product liability: When a defective product causes injury or the death of a person.
  • Medical malpractice: When a healthcare professional’s negligence causes harm to or the death of a patient.
  • Premises liability: When a property owner’s negligence leads to injury or the death of a person on their property.

In Arizona, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate or an appropriate family member. The personal representative is typically appointed by the court and is responsible for managing the deceased person’s affairs, including pursuing legal claims on the behalf of the deceased person’s Estate.

If the deceased person had a valid will, the personal representative is usually the person named as the executor (aka personal representative)  in the will. If there is no will or the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the court will appoint a personal representative.

The personal representative can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members, such as the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person. The claim can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and loss of companionship.

Holding Parties Liable for Wrongful Death

To prove wrongful death, the following elements must be established:

Duty of Care

The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For instance, a healthcare provider owes a duty of care to their patients, and a driver owes a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. 

Breach of Duty

The defendant breached their duty of care to the deceased person. This means that they failed to provide the level of care that a reasonable person in their position would have provided. In cases of medical practice, for instance, a breach of duty is measured by taking into account what a doctor with similar education and experience would have done under similar circumstances (“the standard of care”). 


In most personal injury cases, including wrongful death, it’s not enough to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. The defendant’s breach of duty must be the legal cause or must have significantly contributed to the victim’s death in order to be held liable. This means establishing that the deceased person would not have died if not for the defendant’s actions.


The deceased person’s surviving family members have suffered damages as a result of the death, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of income.

To prove these elements, evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony may be necessary. It’s important to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can help gather, organize, preserve and present this evidence in court.

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

In Arizona, the damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include economic and non-economic damages. See: 12-612. Parties plaintiff; recovery; distribution; disqualification. Economic damages may include:

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased person before their death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income and earning capacity that the deceased person would have provided to their family members
  • The value of services and support that the deceased person would have provided to their family members

[The important thing to remember about economic damages is that these are the tangible financial losses that the surviving family members have suffered as a result of the death.] 

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the intangible losses that the surviving members suffered as a result of the death. They may include:

  • Pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced before their death
  • Loss of companionship, love, affection, guidance, and support that the deceased person would have provided to their family members [The loss of the valuable relationship.]
  • The emotional distress that the surviving family members have suffered as a result of the death

In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter them from similar conduct in the future.

It’s important to note that the specific damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim may vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help evaluate the potential damages and build a strong case to maximize the recovery for the surviving family members.

Contact a Specialized Wrongful Death Attorney Today

It’s never easy to pursue a claim or lawsuit against a negligent party, but it can be especially challenging in the midst of an immense loss. At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we know how personally challenging these cases can be and go above and beyond to make sure that families know they have the support they need to not just navigate their cases but come out on top. Our attorneys are determined to obtain the best possible results for our clients.

Jensen Phelan Law Firm offers a free assessment of your case and an explanation of your rights so you can feel confident you’re making the best decision when it comes to obtaining fair compensation and getting justice for your loved one. Contact our firm today by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (928) 778-2660.