If someone you loved died in a car accident, it can feel impossible to move on. The loss of a loved one always comes far too soon and without notice when they die in a tragic accident. Fortunately, you do not have to face this struggle alone. Arkansas law allows the surviving members of someone who dies in an accident to file a lawsuit for the death. If you lost a spouse or husband who provides for your family, an attorney can help you reclaim the income, insurance, and other expenses that the deceased used to provide. It can also repay you for the grief you face.
Arkansas car accident attorney Ken Kieklak fights for injured and bereaved Arkansans. If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, or you were injured yourself, call an attorney today. Ken provides strategic, compassionate legal services, offering free consultations on new cases.
Arkansas Car Accident Wrongful Death
Arkansas Code § 16-62-101 and the following sections are known as the “wrongful death statute” in Arkansas. This law empowers the surviving family of someone who died from someone else’s negligence to file a lawsuit for their death. Under this statute, the case must be filed by the “executor or administrator” of their estate. This is a trusted individual specifically named in the deceased’s last will and testament. If the individual died without a will, the court can appoint an administrator or executor to handle the case.
These lawsuits have a time limit to file the case. It is important to talk to an attorney and get things in order quickly to meet these deadlines. Under Arkansas Code § 16-62-102(c)(1), the deadline to file a wrongful death suit is three years from the person’s death. If the deceased lingered for days or weeks before dying, the deadline runs from the date of death, not the date of the accident.
Filing these cases is often complicated. While many states allow the surviving spouse, children, or parents to sue, these lawsuits must be initiated by the executor of the estate. This adds an extra legal hurdle: establishing who the executor is. Regardless of who files the lawsuit, only the following may benefit from the lawsuit:
- The spouse,
- Brothers, and
- Sisters of the deceased.
Additionally, a legal guardian other than the parent may also benefit. Note that this does not include nieces, nephews, or grandparents who may have been under the care of the deceased. Talk to an attorney about what you may be able to do for the benefit of these individuals.
Damages for Wrongful Death
When a loved one dies, the whole world can seem to fall apart. The grief of losing a loved one to a car accident is something no one should have to suffer. Especially if that person was a parent or spouse who was responsible for income and caring for the family, life can become a lot harder. Fortunately, with a wrongful death suit, you may be able to replace the income your loved one provided.
The goal of a lawsuit is to put things back the way they were, financially, before the car accident. Obviously, no amount of money or legal intervention can reverse injuries or death, but it can replace lost finances. If your deceased loved one provided any of the following, this type of lawsuit may be able to recover these expenses as “damages”:
- The deceased’s income, even future income;
- The deceased’s health insurance coverage and other benefits;
- Lost inheritances that would have continued to grow if the loved one lived;
- Lost investments;
- Any other lost finances.
You can also recover for the expenses you, as a survivor, face due to the death. This includes funeral and burial expenses as well as things like grief counseling.
You also face other injuries, as a close family member of the deceased. You may be entitled to damages for the following:
- Emotional anguish,
- Lost counsel,
- Lost companionship,
- Lost society,
- Other intangible harms from the death, and
- The death itself.
If you were in the car when the death occurred, you might have been injured yourself. You may be able to recover damages for your own injuries. These can pay for medical expenses, lost wages (if you had to miss work), and damages for your own pain and suffering. If you witnessed the death of a loved one in the crash, you may not recover damages specifically for witnessing that trauma unless the other driver intentionally caused the car accident.
Fayetteville, Arkansas Car Accident Attorney
Always speak to a lawyer to understand what your case might be worth, and what you might be entitled to. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, helps the survivors of car accident victims get compensation for their own injuries and for lost loved ones. Call (479) 316-0438 today for a free consultation on your case.