Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death After an Auto Accident?
In 2015, there were 32,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). After a car accident involving a death, a wrongful death claim can be made against the negligent party that caused the person’s death.
Wrongful Death Defined
Wrongful death occurs because of the negligence of others. When someone acts negligently, they fail to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or harm to others. A wrongful death in an auto accident can happen if, for example, a driver fails to stop at a red light and collides with another car or a driver drives the wrong way on a one-way street harming others. In these instances, the driver is not abiding by traffic laws, failing to use reasonable care while operating their vehicle.
Who Has the Right to File a Claim?
Not just any grieving party can file a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies – they must have a specific relationship to the deceased. Generally, those who can file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas include:
- The survivng spouse,
- The surviving children,
- The surviving parents or siblings.
Be prepared to prove your relationship to the deceased with a wedding license, birth certificate or copy of the will, depending on your relationship.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In an Arkansas wrongful death claim, the grieving family can seek compensation for:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages and income recovery
- Emotional duress
- Lost financial contributions
- Loss of companionship
If you’ve lost a loved one in an auto accident due to the negligence of someone else, contact the Arkansas auto accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt and Sexton for a free consultation.