Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Losing a loved one is an emotionally difficult event in a person’s life. You may be grieving the loss, but you may also be angry if another person caused your family member’s death. What do you do if you find yourself in this situation? Is there anything the law can do to help you and your family in this situation?
Under the Arkansas law wrongful death doctrine, if an individual dies or is killed due to the negligent actions of another, you may be able to recover monetary damages. While no amount of money can replace the value of your mother, father, child, or spouse you might need to cover medical expenses.
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has stood-up for Arkansas families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. For your free and confidential consultation, contact our office by calling (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.
Who May Bring A Wrongful Death Action?
While losing a loved one is an emotional event, not everyone who knew or was related to the departed can file a wrongful death action in Arkansas. Arkansas allows for a wrongful death action to be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased. A personal representative is either someone selected by the deceased person before they died which is usually done through their will. However, if a person dies without a will, a personal representative can be declared by the court or by state statutes. The Arkansas Wrongful Death Statute provides that, if there is no personal representative, then a wrongful death action can be brought by the heirs at law of the deceased person.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
It is not an easy task putting a dollar amount on a loved ones life. How do you calculate the loss of their companionship, their income, and most importantly the impact of their loss on you? In Arkansas, the general rule for determining the amount of damages you may recover includes just compensation for traditional pecuniary injuries. This essentially means you can first recover for damages that are fair. Additionally, you may be able to recover damages for a spouse’s loss of services and companionship. Death can be mentally painful, especially when the death is sudden. You may be able to recover for mental anguish from the death of a loved one. You may also be able to recover for the decedent’s pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Can I Recover Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
In a wrongful death case, the person who caused your loved one’s death did something wrong, and they should be punished. You may be angry that the person is not in jail, but in some cases, they might not be able to be charged for the death criminally. The wrongful death statute in Arkansas allows for punitive damages, which is a way to punish a wrongdoer for their actions. An award of punitive damages is justified only where the evidence indicates that the defendant acted wantonly in causing the injury or with such a conscious indifference to the consequences that malice may be inferred. Typically, punitive damages are the type you see on the news when someone wins an outrageous sum of money from a company or an individual. Punitive damages are a way to punish a person to deter them from acting that way in the future, and to also provide some sense of satisfaction for the remaining family members who are grieving and mourning the loss of their loved one.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Action?
While you are grieving losing someone important in your life, you may not want to think about hiring an attorney or bringing a lawsuit against someone. However, you should be aware that you do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit. In Arkansas, a case causing wrongful death must be brought against the defendant within one year after the date of death.
Sometimes, it is not immediately clear that the defendant’s negligence played a role in the death of the plaintiff. Therefore, the one-year statute does not begin to accrue until it is reasonably clear that the defendant’s actions led to the death of a decedent.
Who Can Wrongful Death Claims Be Brought Against?
You may be wondering who you may bring a wrongful death action against. Generally, wrongful death claims may be brought against:
- A driver or employer at fault in an automobile accident.
- A building designer, builder of a faulty roadway, or builder of a faulty bridge.
- Government agents in charge of providing adequate road hazard warning signs.
- Manufacturers, distributors, or installers of dangerous or faulty equipment in a products liability case.
- Manufacturers, distributors, or installers of dangerous or faulty products as a result of a vehicle collision.
- Negligent or Reckless medical personnel, such as doctors, nurses, or hospital administrators.
- Wrongful death as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence.
- Persons who sold, served, or supplied drugs or alcohol to an impaired driver.
- Owners of premises where alcohol was served, such as a bar or hotel.
Your Family Needs a Knowledgeable and Skilled Crawford, Arkansas Wrongful Death Attorney
If your wife, husband, mother, father, son or daughter was involved in a fatal accident, contact our firm immediately. You need representation that will protect your family’s rights.
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has stood-up for Arkansas families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. For your free and confidential consultation us by calling (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.