Wrongful death is a type of claim that arises when one person dies as a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of someone else. With wrongful death, though, because the person who was injured is now deceased, he or she cannot bring the lawsuit. Instead, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, or his or her heirs, are allowed to bring the legal action to court.
Wrongful Death Claims in Arkansas
Arkansas law recognizes two separate claims: the estate claim and the family claim. The estate claim serves to compensate for the damages incurred by the estate itself. This would include claims for funeral and burial costs, medical bills for treatment of the deceased person’s last illness or injury, pain and suffering the deceased endured before death, and the loss of the value of the deceased person’s remaining life, including wages he or she would likely have earned, would be included in this category. In other words, damages that the deceased would have been able to claim had he or she not died.
The family claim is a claim by the surviving family members of the deceased, which provides compensation for losses the family members themselves suffered as a result of losing their loved one to an untimely death. These types of damages include loss of the financial support of the deceased person, loss of household services, and loss of care, comfort, and guidance. These damages focus on the losses the family members incurred directly.
Examples of survivor damages
When a parent dies, his or her minor children can recover for the money their parent would have contributed to their support, including any support the parent would have given after the child becomes an adult. Minor children can also recover for the loss of their parent’s love and guidance. One spouse can receive damages for the loss of companionship of his or her spouse. Family members can also recover for their mental anguish resulting from the death of their loved one. 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.
Wrongful death claims in Joplin, Missouri
If a loved one or a family member is a victim of a wrongful death in Joplin or anywhere in Missouri, all of the elements of damages in wrongful death actions, including survival damages, may be recovered in a single action. The types of damages are very similar to those allowed in Arkansas. Damages to the estate include expenses for the last illness, including lost earnings and medical bills. Damages can be recovered for conscious pain and suffering of the decedent, occurring between the onset of injury and death. In wrongful death claims in Joplin, damages are also recoverable for the reasonable value of the “services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support that the deceased provided.” In Missouri, there is no dollar limit on recovery in a wrongful death claim.