If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may have rights to sue in Arkansas through what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits seek to establish liability and damages with the party responsible for the death. If a person dies due to the preventable actions or negligence of another person—such as the reckless driving that causes fatal car accidents—the family members can sue for wrongful death. Unlike criminal trials (through which the state of Arkansas may try the responsible party for involuntary or voluntary manslaughter), those who are not convicted may still be found guilty in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Seeking Damages and Finding Justice
Your first step in looking for retribution is to contact an Arkansas wrongful death attorney with experience supporting families after deadly motor vehicle accidents. Your lawyer can help you determine whether the death of your loved one was due to criminal action, intent, or negligence. One of these three reasons need to be valid in order to seek damages (or monetary awards). You must also demonstrate you are suffering monetarily due to your loved one’s death to support the damages you seek.
While the result of any lawsuit cannot compensate for the loss you have suffered, it does allow you and your family to seek justice in a public court of law. There are three types of damages commonly awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
1. Economic Damages
The first notion an Arkansas wrongful death attorney will examine is the financial contribution the victim could have made if he or she were still alive. You may be able to receive financial compensation for loss of earnings, funeral expenses, medical expenses related to the accident, loss of inheritance, loss of insurance benefits, and even loss of services and goods provided by the victim. These economic damages are much more tangible and easy to understand than the other types of damages.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages include things such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship and love, loss of protection, care, and guidance, and other less tangible contributions. These damages can be taken into account by a judge or jury in your wrongful death lawsuit.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are not always available, but they are generally awarded if the defendant’s actions were truly reckless. Punitive damages are awarded to rebuke the person or company who caused the death, whether through willing actions or negligence. Depending on the details of the fatal car accident, your attorney will consult you on whether punitive damages are an option in your case.
If you do win a wrongful death lawsuit, sometimes the court will allow you to obtain interest on the money due to you from the time of the death until the time of collection. In some cases, you may also be able to get your attorneys’ fees paid in the judge’s final ruling.
Wrongful Death Claim Time Limits
There is a statute of limitations in Arkansas when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This is why it is very important to seek an attorney’s advice within three years of the fatal car accident if you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you need legal guidance now, contact one of the Arkansas wrongful death attorneys at Nolan Caddell Reynolds at 866-242-0452. We can help you determine if filing a wrongful death lawsuit is right choice for you and your family.