The unexpected death of a loved one is a tragic event that leads to a long period of grieving.
Understandably, filing a wrongful death claim is usually not a priority during the grieving process.
After all, going to court is probably the last thing you want to think about.
Unfortunately, there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death in AR.
This means that you have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim after the death of a loved one.
After the time runs out, your lawsuit will no longer be valid.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death In Arkansas?
Arkansas’s wrongful death statute is triggered when a negligent or wrongful act kills someone.
If another’s negligence or intentional act leads to the death of a family member, then you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
Though money could never make up for the loss of someone you love, a successful wrongful death suit can help families avoid the financial losses associated with the unexpected loss of a close family member.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death suit can be filed only by the deceased’s immediate family members as defined by the Arkansas wrongful death statute.
These family members include:
- Surviving spouses,
- Those serving in the role of parent, and
- Those to whom the deceased served in the role of parent.
It is also possible that the representative of the deceased’s estate is in the best position to file a wrongful death claim.
What Compensation Is Available?
The types of compensation available to those filing a wrongful death claim can be complicated.
Generally, a surviving loved one can claim compensation for some or all of the following injuries:
- Funeral Costs,
- Medical Bills,
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of financial support,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Mental grief.
Your relationship with the deceased will help determine which injuries you can claim. The courts will also account for the specific circumstances under which your family member died.
It is important to consult an attorney to discuss which injury claims may be available to you.
Arkansas Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations
In most cases, the wrongful death statute of limitations in Arkansas is three years. You will have three years from the date of the wrongful death to file your claim.
There are a limited set of circumstances that can extend the limit. For example, the clock of the statute of limitation does not start ticking for minors until their 21st birthday to file a wrongful death claim.
Further, mentally disabled people may get an extension as well. And if the responsible party intentionally concealed the circumstances of your loved one’s death, the court can extend the limit.
In these cases, it is essential to consult an attorney.
It is crucial to beat the statute of limitations and file your case on time. If you file your claim after the statute of limitations runs out, the defendant will be able to raise the statute of limitations as a defense.
In this situation, the defendant will likely win outright.
Should You Consult An Attorney?
If you think a spouse, child, parent, or sibling’s death was the result of the negligent or wrongful act of another, you should reach out to an attorney.
Wrongful death suits are complicated and involve proving that a negligent or intentional act caused your loved one’s death.
Insurance companies and other entities often have a strong incentive to shift blame.
Wrongful death suits are also fact-intensive. They involve an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of your loved one’s death.
This process is best undertaken by an attorney who will zealously advocate for your rights and ensure you get a fair trial in court.
How We Can Help
If you think you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas, the Cottrell Law Office can help.
Our firm has over 32 years of experience zealously representing clients. We pride ourselves in our commitment to providing every client with the personal attention they deserve.
Our compassionate approach will help you navigate the legal system while you continue the grieving process.
The Cottrell Law Office can advocate for you so you can focus on what is most important.