How Does Arizona Define Wrongful Death?

Individuals who lose loved ones due to the careless or negligent actions of others may be able to recover closure and compensation through a civil wrongful death claim. But how does Arizona actually define wrongful death?

What the Arizona Wrongful Death Statute Says

We examine Arizona law regarding wrongful death claims, Arizona Rev. Stat. § 12-611 (2021), we can see that a wrongful death is a death caused by “wrongful act, neglect or default.”

That definition in and of itself may not make much sense without context. What this is saying is that wrongful death claims arise when one individual loses their life due to something caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another actor. This can include other individuals, businesses, government entities, etc.

Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death in AZ

There are various ways that wrongful death claims arise in the state of Arizona. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Vehicle accidents. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 1,180 total vehicle accident fatalities across the state during the latest reporting year of data on file. These incidents involve crashes between traditional passenger vehicles, larger commercial trucks, buses, bicyclists, motorcyclist,a and pedestrians.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical errors occur regularly throughout this country, and they can happen in any type of medical setting. Doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmacists, and other types of medical professionals can make mistakes and to cause harm to a patient.
  • Dog or animal attacks. Fatal dog and animal attacks are not as common as other types of causes of death, but they do occur. Pet owners should always have control of their animals in public and on their private property if guests are present.
  • Child injuries. Children tend to get into just about anything, which is why property owners have a heightened duty of care to ensure that children, even if they trespass, are safe. Arizona has strong attractive nuisance laws that require property owners to secure any possible hazards that a child could get into on their property.
  • Defective products. When products are defective, individuals can sustain injuries or fatalities. Defective products can occur as a result of design flaws, manufacturing errors, or advertising problems that mislead consumers.
  • Premises liability incidents. Property owners should always regularly inspect and maintain their premises to look for any possible hazards that could cause harm to guests who have a right to be there. This includes private business owners, residence owners, government property operators, etc.

Time Limit for Filing These Claims

In the state of Arizona, individuals have a limited amount of time to file wrongful death claims in civil court. The wrongful death statute of limitations in this state is two years from the date of death. However, there are various exceptions to this statute of limitations that we encourage you to discuss with your attorney. Even if you think you may be too late to file a claim, please reach out to a wrongful death lawyer who can offer a free consultation and guide you in the right direction.