Losing a loved one or family member unexpectedly is a traumatic experience. People feel a range of emotions, including grief and anger. Death also has other consequences. There are the expenses associated with the funeral and medical costs if your loved one required treatment before they passed. Then there is the loss of income if the family member was the primary provider for your family. If another’s negligence caused their death, you might not have to bear these costs by yourself.
Our Harris, AR wrongful death attorneys have been assisting grieving families for decades. During this emotional time, you might not be thinking or concerned about your legal rights. However, when someone is killed because of another’s recklessness, the responsible party should be held legally and financially liable.
Money will never bring back your lost loved one or provide relief from the grief you are experiencing. However, it could help you avoid a financial crisis during the months and years following your family member’s death. We provide empathic and experienced legal representation to those who wrongfully lost someone. Call (479) 316-0438 to set up an appointment.
What is Wrongful Death in Harris, Arkansas?
A wrongful death occurs when another person or company’s negligence caused the death. When this happens, the surviving family members might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Unlike a personal injury claim, a wrongful death suit is brought by a family member or members of the injured party. These claims are handled in the Harris civil court system.
A wrongful death claim does not preclude a criminal case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, a criminal case and a civil one could be moving forward concurrently. Additionally, while a conviction could help your wrongful death claim and acquittal does not mean you will lose your civil suit.
Wrongful death actions arising out of many cases that would ordinarily be personal injury cases if the injuries were not fatal. Our Harris wrongful death lawyers have filed lawsuits for a variety of reasons, including those listed below.
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Defective Products
- Intentional Conduct
The above is just meant as a list of examples, it is not exhaustive. If you believe your loved one died because of another’s behavior, our Harris wrongful death lawyer will investigate the incident to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case in Harris, AR
There are multiple elements in every Harris wrongful death claim.
The first thing our Harris lawyers will have to establish is that a death occurred. The death could have resulted from a sudden incident, such as in a car accident, or one that occurred over time, such as exposure to a deadly chemical.
The Defendant was Negligent
To win in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently or intended to harm your loved one — for example, a person operating their car while drunk could be acting negligently. Additionally, if someone purposefully attacked your family member, their conduct was intentional.
Losses or Damages
You or your family must have suffered actual losses as a result of your loved one’s death. These losses could take many forms, including the loss of financial contributions or guidance. Our Harris wrongful death lawyers will help you understand the full extent of your recoverable damages.
A Personal Representative
Wrongful death cases are different from personal injury claims because the person who was killed cannot file the claim. While a surviving family member has that right, they must do so as a personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Claims in Harris, Arkansas
In Harris, wrongful death claims are divided into two types: wrongful death claims and survival claims. It is advisable to file both types of claims if your loved one suffered a wrongful death.
A survival claim is filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. One way to think of this type of claim is as a personal injury claim to recover the damages and losses the deceased suffered before they died. For example, the estate could be awarded pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages that accrued before the death. Additionally, the estate could be compensated for funeral and burial expenses.
Wrongful Death Claim
In contrast, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the harm and losses of the surviving family members. These damages could include loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and the loss of household services.
As stated above, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate must bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no personal representative, Arkansas law allows an eligible heir to file a claim. Eligible heirs are specified under the law and include the following:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse, parents, children, or siblings
- Someone standing “in loco parentis” such as a legal guardian
- A person who the deceased stood “in loco parentis”
If you have any questions regarding your right to file a wrongful death claim or a survival claim, contact our Harris wrongful death attorneys.
Experienced Harris, AR Wrongful Death Attorneys Working For You
Losing a loved one is never easy, particularly if the tragic death resulted from someone’s negligence. Our experienced Harris, AR wrongful death lawyers are available to help you understand your legal rights at this difficult time. While you work through your grief, allow our office to handle your legal claims and hold the party responsible for your family member’s death liable. To schedule a consultation, call (479) 316-0438.