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Understanding Survival Actions in Arizona Law

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Understanding Arizona Survival Actions

Arizona Survival Action

When a loved one dies because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, it’s important to know your legal rights.

You may be able to pursue two types of legal claims: Arizona survival actions and Arizona wrongful death claims.

A survival action is filed by the deceased’s estate, while wrongful death claims are filed by family members for their own losses.

Understanding the differences between these claims is crucial to protecting your rights and getting the compensation you deserve.

Dealing with legal matters can be overwhelming during such a difficult time. By partnering with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can focus on healing while they ensure your rights and interests are protected.

If you’re considering a survival action in Arizona, we’re here to assist you. Contact us 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (480) 361-2442 or through our online form.

What is an Arizona Survival Action?

A survival action is basically a personal injury claim made on behalf of a deceased person.

It allows the person’s estate to claim damages the deceased would have been able to if they had survived the injuries.

The legal basis for Arizona survival action is found in Arizona Revised Statutes § 14-3110.

Who Can File an Arizona Survival Action?

Only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file an Arizona survival action. This person, either named in the will or appointed by the court, manages the estate’s affairs, including legal claims like survival actions.

The responsibilities of the personal representative in a survival action include:

  • Gathering evidence to support the claim.
  • Hiring an attorney to represent the estate.
  • Filing necessary legal documents.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and other parties.
  • Distributing any damages recovered to the estate’s beneficiaries.

Family members cannot directly file a survival action unless they are the court-appointed personal representative.

How is a Personal Representative Selected?

An Arizona probate court appoints the personal representative.

If the deceased person’s will does not name a personal representative, or if the named person cannot serve, the court appoints someone. Often, the court will appoint a family member. If no family member can serve, a professional fiduciary or another individual may be appointed.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Personal Representative

Choosing a suitable personal representative is crucial for a successful survival action.

This person should be trustworthy and capable of managing both legal and financial aspects of the claim. They should work closely with a skilled personal injury attorney to build a strong case and pursue maximum compensation available.

Disputes among family members over who should serve as the personal representative or how the estate is managed can complicate the survival action and delay justice. An experienced attorney can help mediate these disputes and protect the estate’s interests.

Time Limit for Filing a Survival Action

In Arizona, the deadline (statute of limitations) for filing a survival action is generally two years from the date of the deceased’s injury that led to death. This deadline is much shorter for claims against governmental entities.

Damages that can be Recovered in Arizona Survival Actions

In an Arizona survival action, the personal representative can seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses from the deceased’s injuries that led to death.
  • Lost wages from the time of injury to death.
  • Property damage, if applicable.
  • Funeral and burial expenses, if not claimed under a wrongful death suit.
  • Punitive damages, in some cases.

Damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering are not recoverable in a survival action.

How are Settlement Funds Distributed in Survival Actions?

If an an Arizona survival action is settled or a court awards damages, the funds go to the deceased’s estate. The personal representative uses these funds to pay any outstanding debts or expenses of the estate first. Any remaining funds are then distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will, or according to Arizona laws if there is no will.

Comparing Arizona Survival Actions to Arizona Wrongful Death Claims

Both survival actions and wrongful death claims seek justice and compensation after a death caused by negligence or wrongdoing.

However, there are a number of differences:

Overview of Differences

  • Survival Actions are filed by the personal representative to compensate for the deceased person’s losses.
  • Wrongful Death Claims are filed by family members for their own personal losses from the death.

Eligibility: Who Can Sue?

  • Survival Actions: Only the deceased’s estate’s personal representative.
  • Wrongful Death Claims: The surviving spouse, children, parents, or the personal representative on their behalf.

Types of Damages Recoverable

  • Survival Actions can seek compensation for the deceased’s damages. This can include medical expenses lost wages, property damage, and funeral and burial expenses (if not part of a wrongful death claim).
  • Wrongful Death Claims seek damages for family members’ losses. This can include funeral and burial expenses, lost future income, pain and suffering, grief and mental anguish, and loss of love and companionship.

Distribution of Damages

  • Survival Actions. Damages go to the deceased person’s estate.
  • Wrongful Death Claims. Damages go directly to family members.

Impact of Deceased Person’s Debts

  • Survival Actions are subject to the individual’s outstanding debts because they become part of the estate.
  • Wrongful Death Claims are not subject to the individual’s debts since they are paid directly paid to the survivors.

Deadline to File (Statute of Limitations)

  • Survival Actions must generally be filed within two years from the date of the injury, not the death of death. The deadline is much shorter for claims against governmental entities.
  • Wrongful Death Claims must generally be filed within two years from the date of death. Again, the deadline is much shorter for claims against governmental entities.

Effect on Probate Proceedings

  • Survival Actions are part of probate proceedings, since they are pursued by the estate.
  • Wrongful Death Claims are independent of probate proceedings.

Summarizing the Differences

Here’s a table summarizing the differences between survival actions and wrongful death claims in Arizona:

Arizona Survival Actions compared to Wrongful Death Claims Table

Learn more about Arizona wrongful death claims.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Arizona survival actions:

What is the time limit for bringing an Arizona survival action lawsuit?

The deadline or statute of limitations for making a survival action case in Arizona is typically two years from the date of the injuries injuries that ultimately led death. However, this time frame is significantly reduced for claims filed against government entities.

Who can pursue an Arizona survival action claim?

Only the court-appointed personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate has can file a survival action lawsuit in Arizona. Immediate family members cannot file such a claim unless they have been officially designated as the estate administrator.

What types of damages can be sought in an Arizona survival action?

The personal representative can seek financial recovery for the deceased’s medical costs, lost earnings, property damages, and funeral and burial expenses (if not included in a wrongful death claim). Compensation for the deceased person’s pain and suffering is not available through an Arizona survival action.

How are settlement proceeds from an Arizona survival action distributed?

If a survival action results in a settlement or court-awarded damages, the funds are paid to the deceased individual’s estate. The personal representative must first utilize these funds to satisfy any outstanding debts owed by the estate. Any remaining balance is then distributed to the beneficiaries based on the deceased’s will or Arizona’s intestate laws if no will exists.

Can I file both a survival action and a wrongful death claim?

Yes, in certain circumstances, it may be possible to pursue both an Arizona survival action and an Arizona wrongful death claim. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to understand the requirements and navigate the processes for each type of claim.

What if my loved one is being blamed for the accident?

Even if your loved one was partly responsible for the accident that led to their death, you can still pursue compensation through an Arizona survival action. Arizona’s comparative fault system allows the estate to recover damages based on the defendant’s level of responsibility. If your loved one is found to be 10% at fault and the defendant 90% at fault, the estate can recover 90% of total damages. An attorney experienced in Arizona survival actions can clarify your rights and help you seek the compensation the estate deserves.

As you can see, Arizona survival actions and wrongful death claims are different types of cases that involve complex legal choices. In certain situations, you may be able to pursue both types of claims.

Consulting with an experienced attorney is vital to clarify your options and ensure your rights and those of your loved one are comprehensively represented. They can guide you through the processes and requirements for each claim.

If you are facing this difficult situation, reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re available 24/7 at (480) 361-2442, or fill out our online form. Allow us to support you through this critical time while protecting your interests

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