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Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Nothing can ever prepare us for the sudden death of a loved one. When that death is caused by someone else’s negligence, it is difficult to understand why this happened. A Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at Knapp & Roberts cannot erase the pain of a wrongful death, but we can help your family obtain the compensation you need and deserve.

Wrongful Death Claims in Arizona

Road accidents are a major cause of wrong death cases in Arizona. In 2012, there were a total 149 fatalities, resulting from car crashes and road traffic accidents, just in Phoenix alone. The fatality count increased by 18% the following year, totaling 176 fatalities in 2013.

In 2014, more fatal work injuries resulted from transportation incidents than from any other work related event. Of these, 566 fatal injuries, or 30% of the total, resulted from a roadway collision with another vehicle, while pedestrian vehicular incidents constituted the second greatest number of transportation-related fatal injuries.

People believe that the majority of vehicle involved accidents are cause by drunk drivers and therefore believe fatalities aren’t as likely if they don’t drink and drive. There are, unfortunately, many other scenarios that can occur and also result in a fatality on the road. For example, in May of 2013, an Arizona highway patrolman was sitting in his vehicle writing a report of an accident scene when the unthinkable happened. A fuel tanker barreling down Interstate 8 slammed into the patrolman’s vehicle and several others at the site, killing the patrolman. Investigators believe that the truck was traveling at 65 mph with the cruise control on when it slammed into the vehicles. The driver is accused of using his cellphone behind the wheel and covering the camera in the dash of the truck to hide his actions.

The driver who caused this truck accident was charged with second-degree murder and other crimes. In addition to justice from the criminal court system, the civil court system can provide families with relief. For example, in this particular case, about six months after the accident, the deceased patrolman’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and the company that employed him.

Wrongful death lawsuits are frequently filed after major accidents like the one mentioned above. Such incidents quietly devastate families without dominating the news, but tragedy can also strike while we or our loved ones are on vacation, dutifully following a doctor’s advice, or on the job at work. In fact, when it comes to work related injuries resulting in death, research shows that the number of workers killed on the job in 2014 was higher than it was in 2013. Transportation incidents accounted for 40% of occupational injuries in 2014 alone; falls, slips, and trips accounted for 17%, being struck by objects or equipment while on the job accounted for 15% of workplace injuries, exposure to harmful chemicals or substances accounted for 8%, and fires or explosions accounted for 3% of these injuries. The remainder, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fell into the category of violence by other persons or animals.

Whether a wrongful death claim follows a fiery motor vehicle accident, a workplace injury, a fatal medical error, or some other kind of preventable injury, several common elements must be present. An experienced attorney who specializes in such cases can help you determine if the loss of your loved one was in fact due to the negligence, recklessness, or willful disregard for the safety of others and ensure your family is fairly compensated for losses.

The 15 leading causes of death in the United States

  1. Diseases of heart (heart disease)
  2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  5. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
  8. Influenza and pneumonia
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)
  10. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
  11. Septicemia
  12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension)
  14. Parkinson’s disease
  15. Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids

The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2013 was unintentional injuries, which are made up of car crashes, falls, accidental poisonings and other events. According to the CDC there were 130,557 of accidental deaths in 2013.

What Kinds of Accidents Can Result in Wrongful Death Claims?

Nearly any kind of accident can result in a wrongful death claim, so long as the victim’s death is caused by the negligence or carelessness of another. The at-fault party could be:

  • A drunk driver. Research shows that someone is killed by a drunk driver approximately every 90 seconds in the U.S. and that one in three people will be involved in a drunk driver accident in their lifetime.
  • A company that manufactured a dangerous product. Every year, some 34 million people are injured or killed by defective products. Power tools, for example, cause an estimated 400,000 visits to the ER annually. Other poorly manufactured products, including thousands of children’s toys that have been recalled or that have caused injury or death over the years, faulty ignition switches in cars, faulty infant equipment, or other products used by consumers, fall into this category.
  • A doctor who failed to diagnose a condition or provided substandard care. An estimated 98,000 (though one study is now estimating that number to be closer to 440,000) Americans die every year due to preventable medication and medical errors.
  • Another party whose actions caused or contributed to a preventable death.
  • In addition to accidents caused by negligence, wrongful death claims can be filed for deaths that result from another person’s intent to cause harm.

Cases may have more than one potential liable party. In the patrolman’s case, for example, his family is suing both the driver and the trucking company for which he worked.

Did you know?

  1. In 2014, researchers found in a first-of-its-kind study that an estimated 3,278,073 children were treated in United States emergency departments from 1990 through 2011 for a toy-related injury.
  2. Choking is the leading cause of injury in children. A child is seen in the emergency room approximately every three minutes due to a toy injury.
  3. The number of medical injuries due to prescription errors is rising substantially. Millions become sick or die every year because of being improperly medicated with wrong dosage, tainted drugs, or other physician errors.
  4. Diagnosis errors cause up to 160,000 deaths annually in the U.S., making diagnostic errors the most dangerous by doctors and, according to Johns Hopkins researchers, estimated to cause between 80,000 and 160,000 deaths every year. Data from over 350,000 malpractice claims over the last 25 years showed that the majority of claims were related to diagnostic errors, frequently leading to severe patient harm.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

Surviving family members may have suffered monetary or other losses as a result of the victim’s death. Under Arizona law, only certain family members may bring a wrongful death claim: a husband or wife, child, parent or guardian, or the representative of the deceased person’s estate. That means, for example, that siblings or longtime companions may not have a wrongful death claim for damages they suffered as a result of a loved one’s death due to negligence.

A successful wrongful death lawsuit could result in damages such as funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering as well as loss of companionship and household services.

You can talk to a Phoenix wrongful death attorney whose entire practice is devoted to helping the families of wrongful death victims and those who have suffered serious personal injury.

  • Our Phoenix wrongful death attorneys will tell the story of your loss. We will get to know you and your family so that we can understand how your life has changed since the death.
  • Our wrongful death law firm has a network of experts who can investigate the accident or negligence and determine the liable parties.
  • We will explain to the insurance company or to the jury how this wrongful death has affected your family financially and emotionally. Losing a loved one can mean losing the foundation of your current and future life.
  • Your Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at Knapp & Roberts can seek damages caused by lost wages; future economic security; your pain, grief, sorrow, and stress; the loss of companionship and household services; loss of retirement and health benefits; and medical expenses associated with the death.

A large part of our law firm’s practice is devoted to wrongful death lawsuit actions, because we feel we can make a difference and bring you the resources you need as you deal with the unthinkable — the unnecessary, wrongful death of a loved one.

Was your loved one’s death caused by a medical error? Was your relative in a fatal car wreck or truck accident? Did nursing home neglect cause your parent’s death? Tell us about your situation. We will listen, and we can help.

Free initial consultation. If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss with one of our attorneys at no charge, please contact us by telephone or e-mail, or complete the Do I Have a Case form and a Phoenix personal injury attorney will contact you.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.