When a loved one losses their life because of the action, inaction or negligence of another person, under Arizona law you have the right to file a civil lawsuit. In some cases, surviving family members may also learn the person responsible for the death is subject to criminal charges as well. However, one of the concerns that many clients have is what must be done to prove wrongful death, particularly in the case where a loved one is lost because a business owner failed to offer adequate security.
Understanding Inadequate Security
When a business is open for business, they owe all potential consumers a duty of care to keep their premises safe. While many people believe this applies only to the inside of the facility, the truth is that it applies to outside the facility as well. For example, parking lots must be adequately lighted to ensure visitors are not harmed while driving in the parking lot. Security issues are also something property owners need to worry about for people who are visiting property. Some of the considerations that a business owner needs to take into consideration include:
What is Necessary to Prove Wrongful Death?
In order to demonstrate a death was wrongful, the person filing the suit must first prove a condition existed that the property area was aware of that ultimately resulted in the persons death. For example, in a high-crime neighborhood, a customer who is stabbed in a parking lot and subsequently loses their life would be considered a wrongful death. Because wrongful death is classified under personal injury law, the first consideration is whether the person who ultimately died could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.
The standard of proof is:
Related Article: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
What Kinds of Incidents Could Potentially Lead to a Civil Suit?
When a death occurs because of inadequate security there are a number of potential causes for the victim’s death including:
Related Article: What is Premise Liability
Who Can File a Suit and What Compensation Can be Recovered?
Under Arizona laws, the spouse, surviving natural children and parents of victims of wrongful death may file a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of the decedent. The suit must be filed within two years of the date of death in order to pursue compensation. Some of the compensation that may be collected in a wrongful death suit includes:
It is important to work with an attorney immediately after you lose a loved one because most wrongful death cases will involve a fair amount of investigation. For example, if your loved one died as a result of a gunshot in a parking lot, there will have to be an examination of the crime in the area, the lighting in the parking lot and any available security. These cases are extremely complicated and the two year statute of limitations to file a suit begins the day of the death.
None of us ever wants to lose a loved one and when their death occurred as a result of poor security in a parking lot, parking garage or an alley there is no doubt you and your family are devastated. It is even worse when you consider that had the property owner exercised the duty of care they owe to visitors to their place of business.