If you are injured in a trucking accident, as the injured party, you can bring a lawsuit to recover for your injuries. Pretty straightforward, right? What if you died in the accident? Who can sue then? Even if you survived, is there anyone else who may have damages as a result of the accident? These are all questions that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you answer.
Who can sue for wrongful death?
Obviously, if you die in a trucking accident, you cannot bring your own lawsuit. Both Missouri and Arkansas law provide an alternative way for seeking to recover from the responsible party. A wrongful death claim is essentially a claim for damages, made by the survivors of the deceased, on the deceased’s behalf. The survivors can potentially recover funeral and burial expenses, medical bills related to the deceased’s injuries, the value of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had not died, and pain and suffering experienced by the deceased just prior to death.
The survivors are also allowed to claim compensation for losses the family members themselves suffered as a result of losing their loved one in a trucking accident. These types of damages can include loss of household services of a child, and loss of care, comfort, and guidance of a parent. Family members can also recover for mental anguish resulting from the death. Damages can also be recovered for the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the household and for any benefits, such as pensions, health insurance and retirement.
Loss of consortium claims
Even when the person injured in a trucking accident survives, there are other types of damages that may be available to spouses as well. Both Missouri and Arkansas allow for what is called “loss of consortium.” The basis for this type of claim is the belief that marriage is sacred and when one spouse is so severely injured that it alters the marriage dynamic, it becomes a separate injury to the other spouse. In Arkansas, the claim is referred to as “loss of companionship and consortium.”
For example, if one spouse stayed at home and was financially dependent on the injured spouse, the stay-at-home spouse can claim loss of that income, if the injured spouse is no longer able to work. The claim can also include loss of the comfort and support they would generally receive from their spouse, as well as any loss or interference with the couples’ sexual relationship. Loss of companionship and consortium, as a non-economic damage, is often associated with wrongful death cases, as well.
Because of the fear of excessive jury awards after hearing a heart-wrenching story, many states impose limits on damages for loss of consortium or companionship. Arkansas imposes a cap of $500,000 for loss of consortium damages.
If you have questions regarding trucking accidents, damages, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office, either online or by calling us 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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