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Arkansas Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a loved one dies because of another person’s negligence, your whole world may come to a standstill. A lifetime of plans and dreams are suddenly gone, leaving you and your family with funeral expenses and more questions than answers. During this difficult and emotional time, you shouldn’t have to also shoulder extra burdens alone. While no amount of compensation could ever replace the loss of your loved one, you and your family should not have to struggle with financial hardships because of someone else’s recklessness or carelessness.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

Proving negligence in a wrongful death case is not always easy. Insurance companies will often try to shift the blame for the accident onto other parties and even onto the deceased in an attempt to reduce their own legal liabilities. When this occurs, you need an experienced Arkansas wrongful death attorney on your side. One of the keys to securing compensation in a wrongful death case is in establishing what your loved one’s life would’ve been like if they had not been wrongfully killed. Experts are often needed during this process to adequately measure the loss you and your family have suffered and will continue to suffer in the future. Our experienced Little Rock wrongful death attorneys can provide the information and support you need to ensure you are compensated for your loved one’s wrongful death.

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What is Wrongful Death?

When a person or company’s negligence leads to the death of another, surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Unlike a personal injury claim, wrongful death claims are brought by the family members of the deceased. Similar to personal injury claims, however, they are handled by the civil court system and not the criminal court. Our law firm in Little Rock has plenty of experience dealing with these types of cases.

In Arkansas, a wrongful death civil claim can be filed even if there is already a criminal case underway for the same event. While a criminal case seeks to punish the guilty person or company for their negligence or criminal activity, a civil case seeks to compensate survivors for the financial hardships they may have endured because of the loss of their loved one. This can get complicated, which is why having the help of an experienced wrongful death lawyer is so important.

Wrongful death could occur in numerous ways, but the most common causes of wrongful death include:

The Main Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

In order to win your wrongful death case, your attorney must prove four main elements:

  • Death Occurred – Your attorney must prove that a death occurred. This could have been a direct and sudden death, such as a car accident, or an indirect death, such as asbestos exposure.
  • Negligence – Your attorney must also establish that your loved one’s death occurred directly because of another person’s negligence or intention to harm. In the case of a car accident, your attorney must show that the defendant was driving recklessly or carelessly and that directly led to the death of your loved one.
  • Losses Occurred – Your attorney must also establish that you and your family suffered or will suffer losses as a result of the death. If you are the surviving spouse, you may be missing your loved one’s financial contributions to the family, as well as non-economic benefits, such as companionship.

Personal Representative – Your loved one must have a personal representative appointed for the estate. This could be a surviving family member, such as a child or a spouse.

How to Prove Negligence

Establishing negligence is the key to winning your wrongful death claim. While this may seem like an easy task to accomplish, it isn’t. Many factors may have contributed to your loved one’s death, including some of their own actions. It’s important to have an attorney on your side with considerable experience building wrongful death cases and winning.

In order to prove negligence, your attorney must establish that the defendant owed your loved one a “duty of care.” A duty of care is essentially a duty to keep others safe. For example, doctors owe their patients a duty of care, drivers owe everyone on the road a duty of care, and store owners owe their patrons and customers a duty of care.

Once a duty of care is established, your attorney will investigate the incident closely to establish that there was a breach in this duty. In other words, that the defendant did something careless, reckless, or intentional that failed to keep others safe. Examples would include a surgical mistake, drunk driving, or failing to adequately salt parking lots in an ice storm.

Establishing negligence is difficult and requires intensive investigation. It may include accident reconstruction, interviewing eyewitnesses, reviewing cell phone records, and examining medical records to build a case that establishes the elements of wrongful death. When there could be multiple parties to blame, this becomes even more complex.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In the state of Arkansas, wrongful claims are generally initiated on behalf of family members, including children, spouses, parents, and in some cases, other family members. If the deceased has no personal representatives, then the wrongful death claim can be filed by the closest relatives under Arkansas law. Family members can seek support from a wrongful death attorney and law firm.

In order to win a wrongful death claim, your wrongful death lawyer must establish four critical elements:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the decedent
  • The defendant breached this duty of care
  • The fatality was caused directly by that breach of duty
  • Surviving family members have suffered damages as a result of the fatality

ARKANSAS WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMSWrongful Death vs Survival Claims

 

In Arkansas, there are two types of claims that can be filed after someone’s death: a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. The main difference between the two is that wrongful death claims compensate family members for their losses, while survival claims compensate the estate for the losses suffered by the deceased before death. The compensation for a survival claim goes directly to the victim’s estate. It is, in essence, a personal injury claim that survives the person after their death. Our law firm in Little Rock has helped many people pursue wrongful death claims after the loss of a loved one.

Rainwater Holt and Sexton Wrongful Death Attorneys, Arkansas

Why Choose Us?

At Rainwater, Holt, & Sexton, our wrongful death attorneys offer compassionate, yet aggressive legal representation during this time. We know that your priorities are focused on your family and on rebuilding your future, and we believe in helping you every step of the way. You and your family should not have to endure unnecessary financial burdens because of another person’s carelessness or negligence. Having an uncertain future will only compound your grief and could put you and your family in harm’s way. For years, our law firm in Little Rock has been fighting for families who have lost loved ones as a result of someone else’s actions.

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Wrongful Death FAQs

1

How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim? In the state of Arkansas, surviving family members only have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and if you miss this deadline you could be barred from ever filing a claim. While this may seem like a lot of time to file a wrongful death claim, those three years can pass quickly when families are grieving and struggling with life after the loss of a loved one. The best way to avoid missing any critical deadlines is to contact a wrongful death lawyer immediately.

2

How can I prove wrongful death occurred? Sometimes a wrongful death is evident, such as after a car accident. Other times, proving wrongful death takes extensive investigation into the incident and into the factors that contributed to your loved one’s death. In cases of medical malpractice, defective products, or dangerous drugs, a wrongful death attorney may need to investigate closely to prove your case.

3

Are all states the same when addressing wrongful death claims? No, Arkansas law is very specific and different from other state laws. Speak to an attorney with an extensive knowledge of wrongful death laws in Arkansas. Our law firm in Little Rock provides expert wrongful death attorneys who know Arkansas law in and out.

4

Are wrongful death damages taxable? According to the IRS, wrongful death damages fall into compensation for injuries and are therefore income tax free. They may be subject to the estate tax, however, so it’s important to discuss the tax implications with your wrongful death lawyer.

5

When should I call a wrongful death attorney? Contact a wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible. Immediately after a tragic accident, valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed. Your wrongful death lawyer will be able to help collect the evidence you need to prove your case and win the compensation you and your family need. Our lawyers in Little Rock can help from Day 1.

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