About Arkansas Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death is when one person dies due to another party’s negligence. Wrongful death could occur in auto accidents, medical malpractice, defective products or slip and fall accidents. A wrongful death attorney helps the family of the deceased recover compensation.
In Arkansas, even if a criminal case is underway, a wrongful death claim can still be filed. A criminal case is one brought by the state and the guilty party is penalized by jail, prison time or probation. A wrongful death claim is a civil law case between the estate of the deceased and the defendant. In a wrongful death claim, a guilty party is penalized solely through compensation to the estate of the deceased.
Who can file a wrongful death case in Arkansas?
In Arkansas wrongful death cases, two groups can bring the claim to court: the deceased person’s personal representative or the heirs-at-law.
If the deceased appointed a personal representative, this person must bring the claim to court. However, if the deceased person had no personal representative, the claim must be filed by the deceased person’s heirs-at-law. Heirs-at-law refers to the deceased’s closest relatives under Arkansas intestate succession laws.
Damages in Arkansas Wrongful Death Claims
Damages in Arkansas wrongful death claims are divided into two categories: the estate claim and the family claim.
The estate claim seeks compensation for losses the deceased person suffered. The family claim seeks compensation for losses the family members have and will suffer as a result of losing the deceased.
Common damages paid in an estate claim:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the value of the deceased person’s remaining life
Common damages paid in a family claim:
- Loss of financial support of the deceased person
- Loss of household services
- Loss of care, comfort, guidance
Arkansas Wrongful Death Attorney
Making the connection between a wrongful death and the negligent conduct of another can sometimes be very straightforward, like in an auto accident. Other times, it can require extensive investigation and research. If you have questions or if a family member has died due to the negligence of someone else, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton.