When a loved one dies from injuries caused by a negligent driver, doctor or business, it’s normal for the family to feel a range of emotions: sadness, anger, frustration, and shock. These feelings affect many surviving family members, including siblings. After all, brothers or sisters often share a lifelong bond. Can a sibling sue for wrongful death claims? The answer isn’t as simple as many people think.
Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death in Maricopa County Courts?
Normally, Arizona laws don’t allow for siblings to bring a wrongful death claim. There are exceptions to this rule, however. The deceased person’s legal representative can sue the guilty party or parties for wrongful death. Siblings can serve as legal representatives, or executors, in Maricopa County.
Who Generally Files a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Arizona?
The victim’s closest family members have the legal authority to pursue a wrongful death claim. In Arizona, these individuals include:
- Husband or wife
- Adult children
- Surviving parents
- Legal guardians
Other family members can’t normally sue for wrongful death. Notably, the approved list doesn’t include spouses who aren’t married to the deceased, siblings, grandparents, or cousins.
When Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death?
There are a few common scenarios where siblings may decide to take the lead in a wrongful death claim:
- The deceased chose a brother or sister as executor of the estate.
- Surviving family members ask the sibling to handle the matter.
- The victim doesn’t have any other surviving family members.
- Other family members don’t want to pursue a claim but the sibling feels a strong obligation.
In all of these situations, siblings can only sue for wrongful death once they have authority as the deceased’s personal representative.
What Steps Are Necessary To Become a Personal Representative in Maricopa County?
Many people can apply to become the deceased’s personal representative in Arizona, including siblings and beneficiaries. If a sibling decides to take on these responsibilities, several steps are necessary before gaining legal standing to file lawsuits:
- Read the instructional packet materials
- Fill out the Application for Appointment (PBIP13f).
- Have anyone else who could act as personal representative (spouse, children, other siblings, etc.) sign a Waiver of Right to Appointment and Consent form (PBIP11f).
- To avoid posting a significant bond, ask all beneficiaries to sign a Waiver of Bond form (PBIP12f)
- Fill out the remaining probate documents and include a copy of the will, if there is one.
- Pay the filing fee and submit the original application and will be in Mesa, Phoenix, or Surprise.
- Fill out a Notice of Application (PBIP14f) and send a copy to all parties mentioned in the instructions.
Keep in mind that serving as an executor may involve considerable work, from paying creditors and preparing taxes to distributing assets and consulting with legal professionals.
How Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death?
It’s always important to contact a lawyer for wrongful death lawsuits. At Sargon Law Group, our expert team can put together a solid case. Whether the responsible party was an intoxicated driver or a negligent doctor, we can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and represent the family in court. To learn more about how can a sibling sue for wrongful death, contact us right away.