Persons Who May File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Arizona
If you have lost a loved one to someone else's careless, reckless or otherwise negligent actions, you may be wondering if you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. Despite the fact that your loved one's untimely passing is likely to inflict grief and suffering upon the lives of many, the number of people who are actually permitted to sue for wrongful death in Arizona is, unfortunately, quite limited. In fact, Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-612 states that an action for wrongful death shall only be brought by, and in the name of, the following survivors:
- Husband or wife
- Personal representative
- Parent or guardian
What about blood relatives, same-sex partners & common law spouses?
Unfortunately, Arizona law does not permit all "survivors" to seek damages for the wrongful death of a loved one. While some states have revised their statutes to allow same-sex partners, siblings, blood relatives and dependent minors to sue for wrongful death—including California, Hawaii and Vermont, for example—Arizona has yet to follow suit. For this reason, you may be barred from pursuing legal action if you are not the surviving spouse, parent, guardian or child of the victim. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of survivors in Tucson, AZ:
- Brothers and sisters
- Aunts and uncles
- Same-sex spouses
- Girlfriends and boyfriends
- Common law spouses
Damages That May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Family members and dependents of the victim may be able to recover damages for wrongful death if they are able to show that the death was "caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action to recover damages" (Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-611). These damages may include, but are not limited to, compensation for burial and funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, grief counseling and loss of future support.