To win a personal injury claim, the injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Next, the plaintiff must prove damages. The plaintiff will likely seek to persuade the jury to award a specific amount of damages. Per Arizona’s Revised Jury Instructions, the jury can consider any of the following when deciding on damages:
- The nature, extent, and duration of the injury.
- The pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of the injury.
- Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future.
- Lost earnings to date, and any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future.
- Loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the marital or parent-child relationship.
- Loss of enjoyment of life, that is, the participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed before the injury.
In a claim for the wrongful death of a spouse, parent, or child, the plaintiff will have to prove negligence and causation, just like in a standard personal injury claim. The plaintiff will also have to prove damages, and will likely seek to persuade the jury to award a specific amount. However, the measure of damages in a wrongful death claim is very different than that in a standard personal injury claim.
The reason for this is readily apparent. In a standard personal injury claim, the plaintiff is seeking damages based on the direct action of the defendant against him or her personally. It might be said that a wrongful death claim is more of an indirect matter: the plaintiff is seeking damages based on the defendant’s actions against another person; namely the defendant’s actions that led to the death of the plaintiff’s loved one. Due to this difference, the measure of damages in a wrongful death claim is unique. Per Arizona’s Revised Jury Instructions, a jury may consider any of the following when determining damages in a wrongful death claim:
- The loss of love, affection, companionship, care, protection, and guidance since the death and in the future.
- The pain, grief, sorrow, anguish, stress, shock, and mental suffering already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future.
- The income and services that have already been lost as a result of the death, and that are reasonably probable to be lost in the future.
- The reasonable expenses of funeral and burial.
- The reasonable expenses of necessary medical care and services for the injury that resulted in the death.
You can see how the law is tailored specifically to the needs of a plaintiff who has suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another person. If you find yourself in such a situation where you are considering a claim of wrongful death of a parent, child, or spouse, please seek the help of an attorney who has experience in wrongful death matters. The assistance of such an attorney will give you the best chance of receiving what you deserve from your claim, pursuant to the factors listed above.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Wrongful Death Damages or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at 480.461.5335, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.