Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arkansas?

If you believe you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas, you are likely facing devastating emotional hardships, high end-of-life costs, and lost financial support that you and your family can’t afford. Losing a loved one too soon is a tragedy that no one should have to endure. There is no excuse for anyone, or any company, to make a mistake that results in someone’s untimely death.

Yet, fatal accidents are far too common. Every year, we hear from spouses, parents, and children who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents in Arkansas. Understandably, these individuals have lots of questions, including questions about their legal rights.

One of the first questions we usually receive is, “Who can file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas?” Establishing accountability is an important part of coping with a loved one’s wrongful death, and recovering financial compensation can be crucial for managing the lifetime costs of losing a loved one too soon. The answer to this question is a little bit complicated, so we’ve written this article to provide an overview of what grieving family members need to know. 

Grounds to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arkansas

Generally speaking, families can file wrongful death claims when someone else (or a company) is responsible for their loved one’s untimely passing. This responsibility can take many different forms, from driving while distracted to selling a dangerous or defective product. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you don’t need to know exactly what happened before you contact a lawyer. Instead, you should contact a lawyer promptly, and your lawyer can conduct an investigation to determine what claim (or claims) your family can file.

Fatal Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents

Many wrongful death cases involve fatal car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. These accidents can result from a wide range of causes—and many of these causes will justify claims for financial compensation under Arkansas law. For example, families will generally be able to file wrongful death claims in cases involving:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving while distracted
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Speeding, running red lights, and other forms of driver negligence
  • Vehicle defects and faulty vehicle service

Filing a wrongful death claim for a fatal car, truck, or motorcycle accident usually involves dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. But, there are other possibilities as well; and, in some cases, drivers’ employers, drivers’ parents, bars and restaurants, and other parties can also be held liable.

Fatal Construction / Work Site Accidents

Construction sites and other work sites are among the most dangerous places to work in Arkansas. Sadly, contractors, developers, property owners, and other companies prioritize their profits over workers’ safety far too often. Some examples of potential grounds for filing a wrongful death claim after a fatal construction site or work site accident in Arkansas include:

  • Co-worker negligence or inadequate supervision
  • Failure to control hazardous electricity
  • Fires and explosions
  • Inadequate fall protection
  • Unsafe operation of cranes, hoists, dump trucks, and other heavy equipment

Again, these are just examples. If you have lost a loved one too soon under any circumstances, we strongly encourage you to speak with a wrongful death lawyer about your family’s legal rights.

Individuals Who Are Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim

While Arkansas law entitles families to file wrongful death claims in a wide range of circumstances, it limits the individuals who are eligible to assert these claims in court. In most cases, a wrongful death claim may only be filed by the victim’s personal representative.

Typically, the personal representative will be named in the victim’s will. It is often a spouse, parent, adult child, or other close family member. If the victim did not have time to prepare a will before his or her death, then the individual who can file will be determined by Arkansas law. In most cases, this will mean that the victim’s spouse, parent, or child can file as well—though the law accounts for circumstances in which none of these individuals are available to file.

Regardless of who can file a family’s wrongful death claim, any compensation recovered will be distributed to the victim’s family according to the victim’s estate plan—or, if there is no estate plan, according to Arkansas law. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will be able to guide you step-by-step through the process, and will be able to help you feel confident that justice has been served.

Talk to an Arkansas Wrongful Death Lawyer for FREE

If you need to know more about your family’s legal rights after a fatal accident in Arkansas, Oliver Law Firm invites you to get in touch. 

To speak with a lawyer about your family’s wrongful death claim in confidence, please call 479-202-5200 or request a FREE consultation online today. We help clients across Arkansas and throughout the United States from our office in Rogers.