Wrongful Death Attorneys in Conway
If your loved one died in an accident, your family might be legally entitled to substantial financial compensation if you can prove that someone else was to blame. First, you must file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Compensation is one way of getting justice when someone else was responsible for your loved one’s untimely death.
A wrongful death case shares many things in common with any personal injury case. In fact, the only things that are different are who may file a lawsuit and the types of compensation that the family may get.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
Like any personal injury case, you must prove that someone was negligent before you receive financial compensation. The fact that someone died is not enough to change the longstanding principles of personal injury law.
Proving negligence requires that you show the following elements:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care.
- The defendant breached the duty of care by acting unreasonably under the circumstances.
- Your loved one suffered an injury.
- Your loved one would not have been injured had it not been for the actions of the defendant.
It may be difficult to collect evidence in a wrongful death case. After all, your loved one would not be able to testify about what happened to them. You are often coming in after the fact to reconstruct what happened to your family member. At the same time, you must gather facts that prove that the defendant was to blame for what happened.
All the while, your family is dealing with their own grief and adjusting to life without your loved one. Your family should hire a wrongful death attorney to both prove liability for the death and to negotiate or win the highest possible compensation.
Who May File an Arkansas Wrongful Death Action?
According to Arkansas law, the following people may file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The appointed personal representative has the first right to file a lawsuit.
- If the deceased did not appoint a personal representative, then the heirs can file a claim.
- Heirs include the spouse, children, siblings, and parents.
A wrongful death lawyer can advise you whether you have the standing to file a wrongful death case and who has the right to file it on behalf of the family. You may need to work together with other family members to file the strongest possible case.
The Family Is Paid Their Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family is the one bringing the case. They are the victims because they have lost a loved one to someone else’s actions. As a result, the personal injury damages are the ones that the family suffers because of their loss. The loss of your loved one has left a hole in your life as a family in many ways, and you have the legal right to be paid for it.
Wrongful death damages may include:
- The money that your loved one would have earned over the course of their career (including adjustments for their career path and possible raises)
- Your family’s grief and trauma that arises from an expected and tragic loss of a loved one to an accident
- The loss of the close relationship with your loved one and the guidance and support that they provided
- Loss of consortium damages for the spouse
While you may not want to discuss your loved ones in terms of their monetary value to you, a wrongful death case is all about valuing a life. Based on the elements of damages described above, some lives may be worth more. For example, a young spouse and parent early in their career would merit a larger personal injury award for their family. Putting a value on a human life is a necessary thing in a wrongful death case.
Survival Actions When a Loved One Has Died
In addition to the wrongful death action, the estate may bring a survival lawsuit. This case is usually heard or settled together with the wrongful death case. In a survival action, the estate will be able to receive the damages that the deceased person suffered between the time of their injury and death. These damages would include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
You must be precise when you are valuing a wrongful death claim, especially when your family has lost a breadwinner. These are damages that your family will need for some years into the future. For example, the lost wages component would replace what your loved one would have provided for the family.
An experienced attorney would be able to value your case and would work to fight for every possible dollar for your family. Insurance companies think nothing of taking advantage of a grieving family because it is either them or you. A tough and aggressive lawyer will protect your family while they work to secure financial compensation.
Call a Conway Wrongful Death Lawyer
The lawyers at Denton & Zachary will work with your family in a compassionate manner while we help you get to the bottom of your case. We will then fight for your family to get justice from the person or company responsible for your loved one’s death.
Your first step is to call us for a free consultation. You can message us online or give us a call at 501-273-1695 to set up a time to talk.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit FAQs
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Arkansas?
The statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is three years from the date of the person’s death, although you would not want to wait this long.
What if the insurance company denies my claim?
You can file a lawsuit against the defendant in court to make them pay.
What if the insurance coverage is not enough to pay the full damages?
The defendant would be responsible for anything over if you take the case to court.