In many instances, the survivors of a person who has been killed in an accident do not realize that there is a potential case. Often, there are sources for compensation that go unclaimed. Likewise, the survivors may not realize the full extent of the recovery they are entitled to receive under Arizona law. For example, depending on the circumstances, there may be a financial recovery possible in any of the following situations:
- The person who caused the accident lacks insurance.
- The person who was killed was partially at fault for the accident.
- A defective product or unsafe vehicle contributed to the accident.
- The person who was killed was within the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident.
- The premises or location where the accident occurred were unreasonably dangerous and this contributed to the death.
- There was a lack of security that contributed to the death.
- The activities of the federal, state, county or city government, or their employees, contributed to the events that caused the death.
- The medical treatment provided to the decedent fell below the accepted standards of care and this contributed to the death.
- The person who was killed was covered by workers' compensation or other insurance that has already covered all funeral expenses and other economic losses.
- The person was killed in another state or country.
In addition to the above situations, the survivors of a person who has been killed as a result of an accident often fail to realize the full scope of the insurance benefits that may be available to them. For example, the decedent's own automobile policy may provide a source of compensation in some situations. There may be employment or credit card plans that provide for benefits in the event of accidental death. There may be provisions written into loans that will pay off the loan in the event of the debtor's death. All potential sources of recovery need to be explored to be sure that no benefits go unclaimed.
If there is a case, you may need a lawyer on your side to protect your interests. If you are contacted by a representative of an insurance company, you may be encouraged to reach a quick settlement before you have an opportunity to know your legal rights. You need to ask yourself whether the insurance representative is primarily concerned about your interests or the insurance company's interest? Is the amount being offered really fair and reasonable in light of what you have lost? Is everyone who is entitled to benefits receiving compensation? Are you receiving compensation for everything the law allows? If you do not know your legal rights, you are at an extreme disadvantage in dealing with the insurance company.
The point is that virtually every accidental death raises complex legal issues and questions of insurance coverage. If there is a case, the survivors may be entitled to substantial amounts. There is no substitute for competent legal advice. A person who attempts to handle their own case without knowing there legal rights may make very costly mistakes.
At Baker and Marcus we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the case and answer your questions. There is absolutely no fee for this consultation. If we cannot help you, we will tell you and you do not owe us anything. If we can help you, we will do so on a percentage fee basis.