What Is A Wrongful Death Action Under Arkansas Law?
In this article, you will learn:
- How wrongful death is handled in Arkansas
- The possibilities when attempting to recover damages for wrongful death
Wrongful death in Arkansas is the death of a person that is caused by the negligence of another.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Death In These Wrongful Death Cases That You See?
Some of the most common causes of wrongful death I encounter are motor vehicle accidents and trucking accidents. There are wrongful death cases associated with medical negligence from time to time as well.
What Do You Find Are The Necessary Elements To A Viable Wrongful Death Suit?
For a wrongful death suit to be viable, the death must have been caused by a third party, either negligently or intentionally. Most cases involve negligence, which means a person or company breached their duty of care through their actions or inactions and that breach of duty caused the death of the individual in question. When dealing with a negligence case, it means there was not intentional decision-making on the part of the person or entity at fault for the person’s death.
When evaluating whether there is a viable claim for wrongful death, I am primarily looking to see if the death was caused by a third party. Secondly, I look at whether the third party breached their standard of care either through their actions or through a failure to act. The standard of care will be considered to have been breached if a reasonable person would not have done the action or omission that caused the death. Then, of course, I look to prove that the death was related to the action or omission that we allege breached the duty. Damages also must be proven, which involves the age of the deceased to calculate lost wages or, if the deceased was old enough to be retired, other calculations will be required.
How Are Damages Determined Or Calculated In A Wrongful Death Case?
There are various ways the value of someone’s life is calculated. There is a worksheet that must be filled out about the deceased person, so I will have to sit down with a relative of the deceased, typically a spouse or sometimes an adult child or sibling, and fill out this worksheet with them. Additionally, calculating the value of someone’s life can be complicated. Typically, an economist must be retained to assist in assigning value to the loss of life. This calculation of value includes not only the deceased’s earnings or potential future earnings, but also the value of the estate and the beneficiaries of the estate, family members, and the value of the loss of their relationship with the deceased. It also includes loss of the services the deceased person provided. Many people are surprised by how much value is placed on these services, including what the deceased person did around the house. For example, dad mows the grass, dad changes the oil, dad does minor repairs of the house, etc., then suddenly, dad is killed. In that instance, not only have you lost dad’s income and future income, not only are you emotionally devastated because you’ve lost a father or husband, but you also now have to hire somebody to do the mowing, to change the oil, to do the household repairs. I’ve never handled a wrongful death case without retaining an economist familiar in all of these areas to assist in putting together a loss of life analysis specific to the particular individual who lost their life.
Another detail about wrongful death is that in Arkansas, there is a statute that allows siblings and parents to recover if they can prove they had some sort of financial relationship with the deceased and therefore suffered damages as a result of the death.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Filing A Wrongful Death Suit In Arkansas?
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit is three years.
For more information on Wrongful Death Cases In Arkansas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (866) 253-2226 today.