When someone is hurt because of another party’s carelessness or recklessness, they could file a personal injury lawsuit to seek monetary compensation for their injuries and damages. Unfortunately, many injuries are fatal. In some cases, a victim will be killed immediately and, in others, they will succumb to their injuries over time. Wrongful death lawsuits arise from many of the same instances that result in personal injury cases, such as automotive vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, construction injuries, and slip and falls.
When a family loses a loved member, they could be facing a financial crisis in addition to their emotional suffering. A grieving family member is entitled to seek monetary compensation if another’s negligence caused an unexpected death. Ken Kieklak is a Rogers, AR wrongful death attorney who advocates for the rights of surviving family members. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free and confidential appointment.
Wrongful Death in Rogers, Arkansas
A wrongful death claim arises in Rogers, AR when a person is killed due to the negligent or intentional conduct of another party. Depending on the circumstances, such as a car accident, it could be relatively easy to trace the death back to the injury. However, in some cases, the connections are not as clear. This is especially the case in medical malpractice cases where, even if there are no mistakes made, a favorable outcome is never guaranteed.
While similar to personal injury cases, in a wrongful death claim, the injured party is not bringing the case to court. When someone dies, the deceased’s heirs or a personal representative of the person’s estate will file a lawsuit in court.
Wrongful death claims can arise out of criminal cases – even if the criminal case is ongoing. Additionally, a conviction is not required to succeed in a wrongful death action because the burden of proof is significantly less. However, a guilty verdict could be helpful. Nonetheless, a wrongful death claim is civil in nature. This means that the family member or estate representative is seeking financial compensation and not punishment.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Rogers, Arkansas
Arkansas’ statute of limitations governs every criminal and civil claim. The statute of limitations sets the timeline in which a claim is filed in court. If a family member of the deceased’s estate fails to file a lawsuit in time, they could lose their right to pursue compensation.
In Rogers, AR, a wrongful death claim must be filed within one year of the death. It is critical to remember that this is not the date of the injury. It is also not impacted if a person failed to file a timely personal injury claim. For example, a motor vehicle accident victim could suffer a catastrophic injury and fail to file a timely personal injury lawsuit. If the injuries result in wrongful death, a claim could still be filed within the one-year time limit. Wrongful death claims are often complicated, so it is crucial to contact an experienced Rogers wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Claims in Rogers, AR
Two specific actions could arise from a wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is filed by eligible surviving family members and is intended to provide financial compensation for their loss and the impact of the death. In a wrongful death claim, any awards are paid directly to the surviving family member.
Survival claims are typically filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate. The estate is seeking compensation for the injuries and damages the deceased suffered between their injuries and death. These damages could include lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Unlike a wrongful death claim, and compensation awarded is paid directly into the deceased’s estate.
Who Has the Right to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Rogers?
As stated above, a survival action is brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If there is no representative appointed, perhaps the person died without a will, then the claim could be filed by any legal heir.
An eligible surviving family member must file a wrongful death claim. Surviving relatives who may file a claim include the deceased person’s spouse, parents, children, or siblings. This extends to any person standing “in loco parentis,” or in the capacity of a parent.
Damages Available in a Rogers, Arkansas Wrongful Death Claim
The type of damages available in a wrongful death claim depends on whether it was a survivor claim or a wrongful death action.
When the estate files the claim, it is seeking compensation for the losses the deceased suffered because of their injuries and death. These are paid to the estate and include funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, pain and suffering, and any wages the deceased would have earned during their lifetime.
When an eligible family member files a wrongful death claim, they are seeking monetary compensation for their losses because of the death of their loved one. These damages include financial support, loss of household services, and the loss of companionship and guidance.
While any damages awarded under a survival action are paid to the estate, wrongful death awards are paid to the surviving family members. If an amicable agreement cannot be reached in dividing the award, the court could intercede. Another important note, under Arkansas law, damages awarded to either the family or estate are not part of the estates’ taxable assets.
Call Our Experienced Rogers, AR Wrongful Death Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you lost a loved one because of another’s negligence behavior, contact our Rogers, AR wrongful death attorney to review your legal options. Survivors have rights and, in many cases, the estate of the deceased is entitled to compensation. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, provides compassionate and professional representation to grieving people and their families. Call (479) 316-0438 to discuss your case.