Who’s Responsible For The Wrongful Death?

wrongful death lawsuit

Every year, thousands of Americans are impacted by automobile accidents. Victims who have been hurt can file personal injury claims to be compensated for their losses. Suppose you lost someone in a vehicle accident, though. In that case, you might wonder whether you have the same right to pursue compensation after your loss.

Yes, you can file a wrongful death suit. Call Phillips Law Group immediately if you are a family member of a tragic car accident victim. Our team of experienced attorneys has helped people who suffered all types of automobile accidents recover losses for over 26 years. In that time, we have successfully negotiated over $1 billion in damages for our clients.

Call Phillips Law Group at (602) 222-2222 for a free case evaluation. There is no fee unless we help you win.

What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs when someone is negligent in his or her actions, resulting in the death of an innocent person. In these situations, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent entity. 

For example, if a driver were under the influence of alcohol but still decided to drive, that would be a case of extreme negligence. Meanwhile, if a doctor was reckless while performing his duties and his patient died, that might be an example of wrongful death.

Many states have different laws on who can pursue a wrongful death suit. In most situations, it will be the executor of the will or a personal representative. To win a wrongful death suit, the executor, or his or her lawyer, must prove three elements. 

These three elements of a wrongful death case are:

  1. The actions of the defendant were negligent
  2. This negligence directly resulted in a person’s death
  3. The death resulted in damages to the plaintiff

It is important to note that wrongful death suits differ from personal injury cases, but both intend to seek compensation. Personal injury cases are made by those severely injured but ultimately survived. Personal injury victims can also represent themselves in their cases, which is impossible in a wrongful death situation.

What Types of Wrongful Death Cases Can Be Pursued?

Before you decide it is time to file a wrongful death suit, you should know that there are several types of claims you can choose to file. Each variation depends on the incident that led to a person’s death. Please note the following three types of wrongful death cases that you may be able to pursue.

Intentional death

In most cases, wrongful death is accidental and thereby cause for civil action, not leading to criminal charges. In intentional cases, though, criminal charges may also be handled separately. One example of intentional death in a car accident is that of road rage if the defendant had reasons for harming or killing the victim. 


Malpractice is commonly seen in medical professions. For example, some doctors do not act professionally and use a standard of care when working with patients. Numerous medical malpractice injuries happen each year. Sadly, many of those cases lead to the death of the patient. 

For a family member to file a malpractice wrongful death claim, he or she must prove the defendant’s quality of care fell below a certain standard of care. If lack of care is proven, the individual who failed to act properly is liable for causing the death.


Most wrongful death suits will be due to negligence by the defendant. Like malpractice, the plaintiff must show that the plaintiff acted with a level of care lower than a reasonable person can expect. Most accidents result from other people’s negligence regardless of where they happen.

If you lost a loved one due to intentional death, malpractice, or the negligence of another, call Phillips Law Group today. You deserve compensation for your losses.

Who Can Be Held Responsible After a Wrongful Death?

After losing a loved one after a wrongful death, you may wonder who can be held responsible. Any experienced attorney can tell you every case has its complexities. 

Automobile accident

The NHTSA released data that revealed traffic deaths reached a 16-year high in 2021.

The stresses of the pandemic have created an epidemic of distracted drivers. Several negligent behaviors, including distractions, can result in fatal car accidents. 

The other driver could be held liable for the death if he or she had been:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Disobeying traffic signs
  • Speeding, or;
  • Texting 

Workplace accidents

Wrongful deaths frequently happen in many professions. Hazards can lurk all over a worksite. Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees can do their jobs in safe working conditions. Employers can skimp on doing what is right to save a few bucks, putting lives at risk. 

Some employer requirements can include:

  • Hiring adequately trained workers
  • Providing safety equipment where needed
  • Following OSHA guidelines
  • Placing safety signs and stickers at potential hazard sites

Medical malpractice

Studies have found that medical errors kill as many as 251,000 people in the US annually. This data makes medical malpractice the third-leading cause of death in the country. Doctors are sued often, but the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to provide evidence the professional did not maintain a standard of care.  

Product defects

The National Safety Council has reported that 11.5 million people were treated in emergency rooms after sustaining a consumer product injury. The report does not list how many injuries resulted in death, but some fatalities are likely. 

These statistics go to show how many people are hurt by defective products. If the family can prove through an autopsy that their loved one died due to a defective product, they can sue the manufacturer for causing a wrongful death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

The deceased cannot represent themselves in a personal injury case. It is up to a surviving family member or a personal representative to get the ball rolling on a wrongful death suit. Only certain family members or designated representatives can file this claim, depending on the immediacy of the deceased and state law.

The order of those who can file a wrongful death suit includes:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Other immediate family members
  • Representative of an estate

In some cases, the deceased person has already selected someone to handle his or her affairs after death. This individual will be the one making the decisions for the family and may be a family member. Either way, he or she is meant to represent the surviving family. 

Each state handles wrongful death cases differently, so be sure to refer to your wrongful death attorney. He or she will be able to help guide you through the process. The laws that apply will be according to the state in which the death occurred.

Compensation After a Wrongful Death Suit

Several factors may come into play when determining what compensation you can receive after a wrongful death suit. Each case is unique, so the results of your lawsuit will be individualized based on the extent of your loss. 

Many damages are common in most wrongful death cases, which can include:

  • Medical bills if the deceased spent time in the hospital before passing
  • Any pain and suffering the dead may have experienced before passing
  • Loss of income that would have been provided by the deceased
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of services the deceased provided the family
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Property damage

Call Phillips Law Group to Begin Your Wrongful Death Suit Today

After losing someone so close to you, your world is shattered. The last thing you need to face is worrying about paying for a funeral or the financial burden of caring for your family. Phillips Law Group has faithfully served over 155,000 clients over the past 26 years. In that time, we have successfully negotiated settlements totaling over $1 billion in compensation.

Our compassionate approach helps grieving families when they need it the most. We do all the legwork so you can focus on the important things. This dedication to excellent service is why we are one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms. Check out our Meet Our Attorneys page to learn more about who we are and why we dedicate ourselves to helping others.

When ready to pursue your case, call Phillips Law Group at (602) 222-2222. We are available 24/7 for a free case evaluation. You will not pay us a dime until we help you win.