Wrongful Death Elements
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult moments in life. In a second, your whole family can be changed forever. When your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence, you and your family may be able to file a wrongful death claim to collect compensation for your pain and suffering and expenses. While no amount of money could ever ease your pain, you and your family should not have to suffer unnecessary financial burdens because of another person’s recklessness.
In order to file a wrongful death claim, however, specific requirements must be met. In addition, only specific family members are eligible to file a claim and only within certain time limits. Speak to an experienced Arkansas wrongful death attorney as soon as you are able. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas wrongful death attorneys can help you through this difficult time and ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines.
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.
We’re There When You Need Us
If your loved one has been killed because of another person’s negligence, know that you and your family are not alone. During this difficult time, you need a compassionate and skilled Arkansas wrongful death attorney on your side. Your attorney can help you get the money you need to take care of your family, funeral expenses, and put the pieces of your life back together again. While no amount of compensation could ever replace the loss of your loved one, you and your family should not have to struggle financially.
We’re Here to Help
With four offices in Arkansas—Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, and Hot Springs—our Arkansas wrongful death lawyers are right where you need us through this difficult time. Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Wrongful Death Lawyers today. Fill out a free contact request form, which only takes a minute, or simply dial (800) 767-4815 and we can get to work for you.
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Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Law Blog
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