Wrongful Death in Arkansas
What is wrongful death? Wrongful death is defined as a death that has been caused by the fault of another party. For example, deaths caused by a dangerous or defective product, unsafe work conditions, nursing home neglect, drunk driving, failing to diagnose a fatal disease, or the construction of an unreliable structure or building, can result in “wrongful deaths” under the law.
After an unexpected loss of a loved one, grief and sadness make it difficult to start thinking about the financial ramifications their death may have on your family. It’s important that you take the necessary time to grieve but be aware that insurance companies and corporations may take this opportunity to influence you to sign away important rights. It’s always important to get advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney before signing complicated insurance documents.
Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer is advantageous to help guide you through this traumatic event. An experienced wrongful death attorney will protect you from the unscrupulous tactics of insurance companies and will be an objective voice of reason during this difficult time. Our team will work to gather critical evidence from the accident scene as this evidence can be quickly discarded by the wrongdoer. Additionally, our attorneys have the knowledge and resources needed to find out what truly happened. This is where our law firm makes the difference for you.
Wrongful Death Attorneys in Springdale, Arkansas
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. we understand that a catastrophic injury lawsuit will not bring back your loved one, but legal action does benefit the family. A successful case means compensation, which you and your family need for future financial security. It also means you can breathe easier knowing that justice has in some sense been served and that hopefully this corporation and insurance company will take safety measures to ensure this does not happen again.
Our injury lawyers have experience representing the surviving families of people who have been killed in an accident due to the negligence of another party. We will hold the responsible party accountable and have won substantial awards for families who have lost loved ones to a fatal car wreck and a variety of other circumstances resulting in serious or fatal injuries, such as:
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Vehicle wrecks
- Semi truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boat accidents
- Premises liability
- Work accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Criminal behavior
- Accidents involving inadequate warnings, or failed products or parts
We have been recognized for our excellence in the practice of law including selection as an Arkansas Super Lawyer annually since 2013. Receiving the AV Preeminent rating through Martindale-Hubbell’s peer rating system, which is the highest rating available to attorneys. And most recently being selected as one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators in America.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arkansas?
Wrongful death claims against the party legally liable for the death are usually filed by a surviving heir of the estate or a representative of the estate who files on behalf of surviving family members. Heirs who can legally file a wrongful death claim in the state of Arkansas include:
- The surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings
- Persons standing “in loco parentis” (in place of parent)
- Persons to whom the deceased stood “in loco parentis” (in place of parent)
- Personal representative (if there is no other close relative)
Each state has a set time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court which is referred to as the statute of limitations. In Arkansas, for most injuries such as car wreck, you have up to 3 years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the earlier you start investigating the claim the better.
Setting up an Estate for a Wrongful Death Claim
Because the wrongful death victim has died, any legal action should be brought by the estate of the deceased. A special administration is the legal entity created to investigate and prosecute a wrongful death. Before we pursue the wrongful death action, we first open an estate by filing a petition with the court and appoint a personal representative. The court will not approve a convicted felon to be the personal representative of a wrongful death estate.
Our Springdale, Arkansas wrongful death attorneys are prepared to do the legwork to get the estate established. Setting up the estate can become complicated if there are several beneficiaries so we will work closely with you and your family to set up the estate properly. Once the estate and your selected representative are approved by the court, we can begin collecting medical records and other evidence to establish the validity of the wrongful death claim.
Building a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death suit must be won on the preponderance of evidence. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire a trusted attorney with the experience to help you gather quality evidence and prepare for the case. To succeed in a wrongful death suit, we must prove the following elements:
- There was a duty of care owed to your loved one;
- That another individual, business or an entity breached the duty of care;
- The wrongful death was caused by that person or corporation’s negligence or intentional harm; and
- There was resulting damage suffered as a result of the negligence or intentional tort.
A wrongful death case requires the completion of many complicated steps. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys will work with you do develop a strategy, establish a claim, interview witnesses, gather evidence and more. In addition, we will handle each step of the legal process including demands, mediation, settlement negotiations and jury trial.
Compensation for a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death lawsuits or claims include recovery of lost wages and support the deceased person would have provided his or her surviving spouse and children. Other damages that may be recovered include:
- Expenses such as medical and funeral bills;
- Lost benefits from the death such as health insurance premiums;
- Conscious pain and suffering of the fatally injured person;
- Pain, suffering or mental anguish suffered by survivors of the deceased;
- Loss of companionship also called loss of consortium; and
- Punitive damages, intended to punish the wrongdoers and to prevent them from harming others.
Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
When circumstances allow a jury may award punitive damages when your loved one’s death was caused by willful act such as accidents caused by a drunk driver or a driver that is drag racing. Our firm will seek punitive damages in wrongful death cases from willful acts arising to a level of malice or ill will punish the wrongdoer for the horrible conduct that caused the wrongful death.
Is There a Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A charges wrongful death clients on a contingency basis which means we don’t get paid unless we obtain compensation for you. This makes it possible to hire legal representation giving you the same caliber of representation that insurance companies, big businesses and other defendants may receive. We understand that you are suffering from the unpaid medical bills and lost wages that have resulted from the wrongful death, and it would be virtually impossible for you to pay the hourly rate that insurance companies pay to their lawyers to fight your valid claim.
Hire a Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in Springdale, AR
The compassionate and knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. will take legal action against the parties responsible for your loved one’s suffering and death. Our attorneys have successfully provided legal guidance and support to help ease the difficulty of a wrongful death lawsuit. The sooner you contact us, the better your chances are of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Get in touch with a member of our legal team today by calling 479-361-3575 or contact us to schedule your free no obligation consultation.
The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. represents Arkansans from all over Northwest Arkansas including Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville, Rogers, Fort Smith, Berryville, Harrison and Huntsville.