People in Johnson, Arkansas, have many reasons for filing a wrongful death claim, including seeking a financial benefit or a desire for justice. However, the actual grounds for your wrongful death claim will depend on the factors and circumstances surrounding your loved one’s accident and death.
For instance, after a fatal car crash, our Johnson, AR wrongful death attorneys could bring a lawsuit against a negligent driver, the municipality that maintained the road, and the vehicle manufacturer.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is emotionally devastating and a potential financial crisis. Call (479) 316-0438 to determine if you have the option of pursuing a wrongful death claim.
Reasons People File Wrongful Death Claims in Johnson, AR
Wrongful death claims arise from a wide variety of cases. Below are some common types of wrongful cases our Johnson, AR wrongful death claim attorneys handle.
Nursing Home or Caregiver Abuse or Negligence
When we entrust our loved ones to the staff and management of a nursing home or long-term care facility, we expect them to receive a certain quality of care. While it is not uncommon for an elderly resident to pass away, when the death is the result of negligence or abuse, the facility, its staff, and management should be held liable.
General practitioners make mistakes, sometimes misdiagnosing a condition or prescribing medication without confirming that their patient is not on another drug that could negatively interact with the new medication.
Emergency room doctors work long and stressful hours. An exhausted physician could make a fatal error when engaged in a complex task. A routine procedure could become deadly if the treating doctor is distracted, tired, or otherwise preoccupied.
Other common forms of medical malpractice include surgical errors and costly mistakes during pregnancy, delivery, or soon after birth.
Family members often turn to Arkansas workers’ compensation benefits if their loved one was killed on the job. However, there are circumstances where a third party could also be held liable. This is crucial for grieving family members as workers’ comp will likely not cover all their financial losses.
Vehicles are not limited to cars. People travel through Johnson, AR in cars, trucks, buses, and on motorcycles and bicycles. Furthermore, a pedestrian could be killed by a negligent driver. Reckless or negligent driving is one of the most common grounds for a wrongful death claim. In many cases, a wrongful death action could be filed alongside a criminal prosecution. Common negligent conduct includes drunk driving, ignoring traffic signals, or driving while distracted.
When a product causes an injury because of a design flaw or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer could be held liable. When the injury is fatal, the victim’s family could have grounds for a wrongful death claim. In some cases, a grieving family member could sue the store where the defective product was purchased.
Intentional or Criminal Acts
Some people lose a loved one because of intentional or criminal conduct. While the liable party could face criminal prosecution, it does not prohibit a family member from pursuing a wrongful death claim. Furthermore, even though a conviction will help in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is not necessary — the burden of proof in a civil case is significantly less than a criminal one.
Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Johnson, AR?
One way to think of a wrongful death lawsuit is as a personal injury claim brought by someone on behalf of the deceased. Under Arkansas law, this is basically what a wrongful death claim is. The action must be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Typically, the personal representative is appointed in the deceased’s will.
However, if there is no personal representative, the action could be brought by the heirs of the deceased. Heirs included the following:
- Surviving spouse, children, parents, and siblings
- A person standing in loco parentis to the deceased
- A person to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis
Damages Available in a Johnson, AR Wrongful Death Claim
If a wrongful death claim is successful, damages will be awarded to the deceased’s survivors. Damages represent the financial losses the survivors suffered because of the death. In Johnson, AR, two categories of damages are available. First, damages could be awarded on behalf of the survivors themselves. Second, damages could be awarded on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Survivors’ damages are often referred to as the “family claim” under Arkansas law. These damages are awarded to compensate the surviving family members for their personal losses, such as loss of financial support, emotional support, companionship, and guidance. Additionally, surviving members could recover the cost of lost family services, such as cleaning or childcare, along with being compensated for their grief.
The “estate claim” includes damages awarded on behalf of the deceased’s estate. These damages are meant to compensate the deceased for losses the deceased suffered due to their death. Typically included in this category are funeral and burial costs, medical expenses incurred before death, and pain and suffering the deceased endured. Additionally, the estate could be awarded the value of what the deceased would have earned had they not been killed.
Under Arkansas law, the process from a wrongful death lawsuit will be paid directly to the surviving family members. It does not matter if they were awarded as an estate claim or a family claim.
Our Johnson, AR Wrongful Death Attorneys Provide Sympathetic Legal Representation to Families in Need
An unexpected death is tragic. If you lost a loved one because of negligent or intentional conduct, contact our Johnson, AR wrongful death attorneys. With decades of experience, our team of lawyers represents our clients with compassion and professionalism. Call (479) 316-0438 to review your case.