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What If the Plaintiff Dies Before Their Personal Injury Case is Resolved?

Posted on February 23, 2024 in

What happens to the personal injury case if the plaintiff dies before it’s resolved? Arizona law says that the pain and suffering plus other non-economic claims die with the victim, but the past medical expenses and other past economic damages can still be recovered by the victim’s probate estate, spouse, etc. ARS 12-613 allows the award of damages as proven for:

  • The financial dependency of the survivors on the deceased
  • The historical earnings of the deceased, and future earnings
  • The cost of medical, funeral, and burial services
  • Value of emotional damage and loss to survivors

Jensen Phelan Law Firm, with over half a century of combined experience in personal injury law, is adept at navigating these challenging scenarios, ensuring that the rights and interests of the deceased and their family are protected.

The pursuit of justice doesn’t necessarily end with the plaintiff’s death, but the amount of damages that the law allows is significantly reduced. Claims for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are not normally permitted under Arizona’s wrongful death statutes. The reduced damages claim may continue, but it transitions in ways that require specialized legal processes. If you find yourself facing this difficult circumstance, know that Jensen Phelan Law Firm with over 50 years of experience is here to guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your loved one’s fight for justice continues.

Transitioning the Case After the Plaintiff’s Passing

When a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit passes away, the legal process takes a nuanced turn involving court participation for any settlement. The case, instead of ending, often continues but shifts in focus and management. It’s typically transferred to the estate of the deceased, with an executor or administrator appointed to take over the lawsuit. This representative steps in for the deceased plaintiff, a transition that requires new court documents and a detailed knowledge of both personal injury and estate laws. 

The procedures involved are intricate and need the guidance of a seasoned legal team. Navigating these complex transitions demands extensive experience in estate and personal injury law. Legal professionals adept in these fields help the estate’s representative through each step, ensuring that the procedural requirements are met and the rights of the deceased plaintiff are fully upheld and represented.

Impact on Settlements and Awards of the Personal Injury Case

The death of a plaintiff significantly alters the dynamics of a personal injury case, particularly in terms of reducing the recoverable damages. Initially, the claim usually includes compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. However, upon the plaintiff’s death, additional claims, such as those for wrongful death, may become available, with different damages to be claimed based on Arizona statutes that only apply to wrongful death cases. These claims aim to compensate the deceased’s family for their loss, covering various aspects, including loss of companionship, emotional distress, and funeral expenses.

Handling these cases requires a deep understanding of the intersection between personal injury and wrongful death claims. Legal experts in this field work diligently to make sure the family receives a fair settlement that reflects the gravity of their loss. This includes a thorough evaluation of both the original personal injury claim and any subsequent wrongful death considerations, aiming for a resolution that truly compensates for the combined emotional and financial toll on the family.

Ensuring Fair Resolution For the Plaintiff’s Case Personal Injury Case

For the victim’s family dealing with a personal injury case after the plaintiff’s death is not just a legal challenge but also an emotional one. It calls for the lawyers to understand each family member’s needs with a blend of professional legal skills and compassionate client care. This is where a personal, face-to-face approach by the lawyer is needed, emphasizing compassion, caring, communication, and understanding, becomes crucial. Jensen Phelan’s legal team is dedicated to our client’s needs to help families feel supported and understood throughout the legal process.

Experience in trial preparation, discovery, negotiations, and Mediation is also vital. Ensuring that the rights of the deceased plaintiff and their family are protected, whether in settlement discussions or court, requires meticulous preparation and a deep understanding of the law for the best advocacy. The goal is always to reach a fair and just resolution, respecting the wishes and rights of the victim while securing the best possible outcome for the victim’s family.

Call Jensen Phelan Law Firm If Your Family Member Passed Away During Their Case

Facing the continuation of a personal injury lawsuit after the loss of a loved one is a daunting and emotionally taxing journey. At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we understand the complexities and emotional weight of these cases. Our personal injury attorneys, with their over 50 years of extensive injury and death claim experience and client-focused approach, are equipped to handle the nuances of your case, ensuring that your family member’s pursuit of justice is honored and continued with the respect and dedication it deserves.

With our comprehensive legal services and dedication to client recovery and satisfaction, we are committed to helping you through every step of this process. Call (928) 778-2660 or fill out our contact form today.