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Am I Entitled to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for the Death of a Family Member?

The ability for a person to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of another is governed by Arizona Revised Statute Section 12-612. This statute provides that the following people may bring a wrongful death action:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • Children of a deceased parent
  • A parent or guardian
  • A personal representative of the deceased person for and on behalf of the surviving husband or wife, children or parents, or if none of these survive, on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

Non-Married Partners and Same-Sex Partners

In Arizona, a couple may have lived together for many years, and may even have children together, without being married.  If this is the case and one person dies, the other person is not entitled to bring a lawsuit for the death of his or her partner.

Similarly, because same-sex couples cannot be legally married in Arizona, one partner in a same-sex marraige cannot bring a lawsuit for the death of the other partner.

Adopted Children and Adoptive Parents

In Arizona, adopted children are treated the same as biological children for the wrongful death statute. Adoptive parents are also treated the same as biological parents.  As a result, adopted children may bring a wrongful death action for the loss of an adoptive parent, and an adoptive parent may bring a wrongful death action for the loss of an adopted child.