Wrongful death is a complex area of law that involves both the legal elements of typical personal injury claim, as well as, certain state-specific limitations and requirements. Therefore, it is critical that you select a Rogers wrongful death lawyer with sufficient experience and expertise in this area of the law. It is also vital that you act quickly because all wrongful death lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitations, which is the time limit for filing your claims in court.
Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents in Arkansas Occur Frequently
Very recently, a fatal two-car accident in Rogers on Highway 62 claimed the life of one person and critically injured another, according to the Rogers Fire Department. The accident occurred near the Anderson Gas and Propane Station and the Rogers Executive Airport on highway 62. The two victims were traveling in the same vehicle. The occupants of the other vehicle involved only received minor injuries.
In March, a motorcyclist was killed in a two-vehicle accident in northwest Arkansas. The victim was driving his Harley east on U.S. 61 north of Rogers. A Nissan traveling in the opposite direction turned in front of the motorcycle causing the victim to crash into the Nissan. In May, a Rogers resident died in a car accident near Greenland on I-49. The victim was traveling northbound when his car left the road and rolled twice, throwing the victim from the car.
Tragic Accident Possibly Caused by Intoxication and Distraction
Most recently, a drunk driver caused a fatal accident after running a red light. Witnesses said that the driver of the BMW that caused the accident was arguing on his phone when he drove away from the City Pump and was later seen speeding westbound on W. Walnut Street. The BMW struck the other driver, a resident of Siloam Springs, killing him. Police administered a field sobriety test and determined the driver of the BMW was over the legal limit and he was charged with DWI and negligent homicide.
Driving under the influence in Arkansas
As our Rogers wrongful death lawyer can explain, in Arkansas 21-year-olds driving with a BAC of 0.08% BAC or higher is considered a DWI. Drivers younger than 21 with a BAC of 0.02% are considered driving while intoxicated.
There were more than 10,000 fatalities in 2013, where an involved driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That was 31% of all traffic fatalities that year. That was one alcohol-impaired fatality every 52 minutes. In 2013, Arkansas reported 483 deaths and Missouri reported 757.
Distracted driving in Arkansas
Distracted driving is becoming a major concern for highway safety. As the use of cell phones has increased, so has the number of auto accidents involving distracted drivers. In 2013, more than 3,000 people were killed as a result of distracted drivers. Although the campaign to stop texting and driving is in full swing, cell phone use is not the only form of distracted driving.
Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving is a distraction and endangers the driver, passengers, and others on the roadway. Distractions also include everyday tasks that many of us engage in all the time, such as eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using a GPS and adjusting the radio or other electronics.
Who can bring a wrongful death claim in court?
The personal representative appointed to handle the estate of the deceased person is required to file the wrongful death claim in Arkansas. If no such person has been appointed, then the claim can be filed by the deceased’s legal heirs, which would typically include the “surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings; individuals standing “in loco parentis,” (in place of the parent) and individuals to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis.” If you have questions about your standing to bring a suit, ask our Rogers wrongful death lawyer.
What can you recover in wrongful death cases?
In Arkansas, the survivors of the deceased are allowed to seek damages on behalf of the deceased, as well as compensation for their own personal losses, as a result of their loved one’s untimely death. This compensation received can help to alleviate medical bills and other expenses that may have been incurred, such as funeral expenses. This is not true in every state. For example, in Alabama damages in wrongful death cases are purely punitive in nature.
Deadlines for filing wrongful death claims
Like all other legal claims, there is a deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, which differs from state to state. This deadline or time limit is commonly referred to as the “statute of limitations.” In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is three (3) years.
Because wrongful death actions can be rather complicated claims to litigate, often more complex than basic personal injury cases, and typically result in a large damage award, it would be a good idea to consult with your personal injury lawyer.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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