Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving Rogers, Arkansas, and Nationwide
The Arkansas wrongful death lawyers at Bailey & Oliver Law Firm are here to help families struggling with the untimely loss of a loved one. We understand how frightening, overwhelming, and heartbreaking it can be to lose a loved one in an accident. We are here to listen to your story, help you understand your options, and guide you toward the best solution for your family.
When you lose a spouse, child, or parent in an accident caused by someone else, your family is entitled to seek compensation for both the economic and noneconomic struggles that result. With a wrongful death claim, Arkansas families can seek compensation for lost wages, end-of-life expenses, and much more. The best way to learn if you are entitled to take legal action is through a private and confidential case review with one of our experienced attorneys.
To schedule your FREE consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers, call Bailey & Oliver Law Firm at (479) 202-5200 today. Located in Rogers, we help families struggling with wrongful death throughout Arkansas and across the United States.
We Accept Attorney Referrals for Wrongful Death Cases Across the Country
Bailey & Oliver Law Firm accepts attorney referrals from and enters co-counsel agreements with attorneys and law firms across Arkansas and the United States.
If you are a lawyer who would like to refer a truck accident case, whether because it falls outside the scope of your practice or your current workload prohibits you from handling additional cases, contact Bailey & Oliver Law Firm to discuss a co-counsel agreement.
What Is Wrongful Death?
As defined in Arkansas Code § 16-62-102, wrongful death occurs when a loss of life “is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default” that would have entitled the victim to compensation had they survived. In simpler terms, when you lose a loved one in an accident they did not cause, you may have legal options to pursue compensation.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Recreational Vehicle Accidents
Recreational vehicles may include ATVs and off-road vehicles, boats, jet skis and other types of watercraft, road and mountain bicycles, and even airplanes, all of which pose specific and unique risks for fatal injury.
Any workplace can be dangerous, but construction sites and other industrial worksites pose some of the most significant risks. Families of workers who suffer a fatal injury while on the job may have special rights.
An unmaintained, unsupervised, or otherwise unsafe property can pose several risks for injury. This includes open and unsupervised swimming pools, poorly lit or constructed stairways, failure to keep walkways free of obstruction, and more.
Dangerous products injure and kill thousands of people every year. The Manufacturers of defective automobiles, faulty airbags, tainted medications, poorly designed medical devices, improperly manufactured electronics, and other consumer goods can often be held liable for fatal injuries sustained while using their products.
Serious accidents, regardless of their cause, may result in death. When someone you love dies due to the action or inaction of someone else, even if that someone is a powerful individual, corporation, or government entity, you have every right to hold the responsible party accountable for all related damages.
At Bailey & Oliver, we have the experience to compassionately guide you through the legal process and set you on the pathway to justice. Reach out today to schedule a FREE case review with our team of caring legal professionals.
Civil vs. Criminal Charges
Some accidents, such as those involving death caused by a drunk driver or resulting from intentional or extremely gross negligence, may result in criminal charges. These are separate from civil proceedings and will not have any bearing on your right to file a wrongful death claim.
A person does not have to be found criminally negligent to be legally liable for damages in a wrongful death claim. While civil and criminal actions may happen simultaneously, neither one should impact the outcome of the other. If this applies to your case, we can provide additional information during your initial consultation at our Rogers, Arkansas office.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Arkansas?
Arkansas wrongful death laws allow the personal representative of an estate to file a claim. This representative is appointed by the victim before an accident, typically in a will. If a personal representative has not been identified in a will, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the “heirs at law of the deceased person,” which is most often a spouse or child(ren) of the deceased.
The representative in a wrongful death claim may be the sole beneficiary. They may also be seeking compensation on behalf of several family members, including surviving spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Adopted children, those who have stood in as loco parentis, or those for whom the decedent stood in as loco parentis may also be entitled to part of a wrongful death settlement.
In Arkansas, the age of wrongful death beneficiaries does not come into consideration. Many of these cases involve multiple beneficiaries. The best way to learn if you have cause to file suit or benefit from one is through a confidential consultation with one of the compassionate and attentive lawyers at Bailey & Oliver Law Firm.
A Note on Loco Parentis Beneficiaries in Arkansas Wrongful Death Claims
While those who have stood in place of a parent for a victim of fatal injury or those for whom the decedent served as a parent (loco parentis) are entitled to compensation, they may not always be notified of this right.
Per Arkansas wrongful death statute, “It is not the responsibility of the personal representative of a deceased person to locate anyone in loco parentis who is not known to the personal representative to be in loco parentis to the deceased person.” (Ark. Code § 16-62-102(I))
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Claim Take?
A majority of wrongful death lawsuits settle before they go to trial. Of course, there are complexities and considerations that may serve to slow the process, but many wrongful death claims settle within a year.
If your claim requires a trial, it may take two years or more to reach a verdict. This can even be influenced by factors, such as court dockets, that are unrelated to your claim.
Wrongful Death Claim Timeline
The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is scheduling a complimentary case review with a qualified attorney. This gives you the opportunity to share your story and experiences, learn about your options, and determine the next best steps.
If you are moving forward with a claim, the next step will involve an investigation into the accident. This may include the review of medical records, police reports, witness statements, and related documentation. It may also involve working with experts in fields like accident reconstruction and forensics.
Information gained from the investigation is used to prepare and build your wrongful death claim. In further service of this end, financial experts, mental health professionals, and other specialists may be called in to provide an accurate assessment of your damages.
If a settlement cannot be reached during negotiations, a claim will go to trial. Personal injury trials are heard in front of a jury, which can result in significantly more compensation in some cases. You need a proven wrongful death lawyer on your side to help fight for the best possible outcome.
The lawyers at Bailey & Oliver Law Firm have more than 60 years of experience helping families get justice after the loss of a loved one. We prepare every case for trial, even if a claim is likely to settle. This enables us to provide the most effective representation under any circumstance.
Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions: What’s the Difference?
When someone is killed in an accident, surviving family members may have two options. The first is a wrongful death claim in which compensation is paid directly to surviving family members. The second is a survival claim, in which compensation is awarded to the decedent’s estate.
A survival claim is typically filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate as opposed to an individual or group of individuals. Similar to a wrongful death claim, a survival action will seek to obtain compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, but damages from a survival action are distributed under the terms of the deceased person’s will.
Survival actions seek to add wealth to an estate. As such, compensation obtained through survival action is taxable. If the decedent had outstanding bills, such as credit cards or loans, creditors can also access these damages.
Neither creditors nor the IRS are entitled to damages from a wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can I Seek Through a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Arkansas, you can seek both general and special damages in a wrongful death claim. Special damages are provable costs associated with the death of your loved one. These may include end-of-life medical and funeral expenses, future wages and financial contributions, lost 401k or retirement benefits, and other issues with an establishable economic impact.
The emotional consequences of wrongful death are often just as significant as the financial losses. General damages seek to address this. In a wrongful death claim, general damages can include things like emotional suffering, loss of companionship, forced changes to lifestyle, anxiety, and PTSD.
There are no caps on compensatory damages in Arkansas. Article 5, Section 32 of the Arkansas state constitution prohibits caps in personal injury and wrongful death claims.
A third type of damage, known as punitive damages, can be sought when death is the result of reckless conduct and behavior.
What Is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Each claim is different. The best way to learn what you may be owed following the loss of a loved one is through a cost-free consultation at our Rogers, Arkansas office. During this visit, we will give you the space you need to discuss your claim and provide you with straightforward and actionable advice to help you determine value of your case in a jury trial.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Arkansas?
You have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas. (See Arkansas Code § 16-62-102) This allows grieving families time to mourn, but should not be squandered. Once the statute of limitations has passed. It will not be possible to take legal action.
It can be difficult to know where to turn when you lose a loved one in an accident. Insurance companies are often quick to offer a settlement and, knowing you are vulnerable, may use coercion, threats, or intimidation to convince you that you have no choice. You do, however, have a choice.
The compassionate attorneys at Bailey & Oliver Law Firm are here to preserve your options and protect your interests from the tricks and tactics insurance companies may use to cheat you out of the compensation you truly deserve.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
You do not need to hire an attorney to file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas. If you are pursuing a claim, you probably want to, though. Insurance companies and attorneys working for the defense will have a deep knowledge of Arkansas wrongful death laws and know exactly how to protect their client’s best interests. Without your own legal team, you are at the complete mercy of people whose primary goal is to deny your claim.
At Baily & Oliver Law Firm, we fight for people, not profits. Our Arkansas wrongful death lawyers understand that losing a loved one in an accident places tremendous weight on surviving family members. We are here to help carry the burden.
What if I Can’t Afford an Attorney?
We believe that your right to justice should never be limited by financial constraints. Our firm works on a contingency basis. This means that our legal fees are waived until – and unless – we win your case.
We will outline our fees, what is and is not covered by our contingency agreement, and what you can realistically expect during the claims process during your initial consultation.
Bailey & Oliver Law Firm Is Here to Help
The sudden, unexpected death of a family member is devastating. The emotional and financial distress can be too much, especially when a loved one dies as the result of someone’s negligence or recklessness.
Bailey & Oliver Law Firm fights for families who have lost a loved one, taking cases as far as necessary to help secure maximum compensation for our clients. Caring, committed, and competent, we are here to provide the expert guidance and personalized representation you deserve.
Contact us online or call (479) 202-5200 to schedule your FREE consultation today. Our Arkansas wrongful death attorneys fight for families throughout the state and across the country from our offices in Rogers.
How to Determine if You Have a Wrongful Death Claim
If the deceased’s death was caused by another person’s negligence, carelessness, or errors, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim in Arkansas. Specifically, the state looks for the presence of one or more of the following components:
- Death due to medical malpractice — For example, medical errors, negligence, mistakes, misdiagnosis, or wrong drug administration.
- Intentional actions leading to injuries and death — Intentional malicious or harmful actions that lead to the loved one’s death. E.g. a road rage incident that caused your loved one’s accident and subsequent demise.
- Negligent actions or incidents — For example, a fatal auto crash caused by the liable party’s recklessness.
According to the Arkansas wrongful death statute, as long as the other party was at fault for your loved one’s demise, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
How to Prove Wrongful Death
The basis of every successful wrongful death claim is proving that the liable party was at fault. To do this, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will seek to establish that your loved one died due to another’s negligence.
And that their negligence led or will lead to significant losses for you and other surviving relatives. The lawyer will need to establish that the liable party owed your loved one a duty of care — basically, a duty to keep your loved one reasonably safe. For instance, all drivers are obligated to drive in a safe and careful manner on the roadways.
Once the element of duty is established, the attorney has to show that the liable party, through their actions or inactions, caused your loved one’s injuries and subsequent death. For example, the at-fault party’s reckless driving led to the collision with the vehicle in which your loved one was a passenger.
Then, the attorney has to show that, because of the loss of your loved one, you and/or other surviving relatives have suffered economic and non-economic losses or will do so in the future.
How to Preserve Evidence Needed in a Wrongful Claim
Because most wrongful death claims are not filed immediately after the victim’s demise, there’s always the risk of loss of evidence. Therefore, in order to ensure that there’s adequate evidence, there are two aspects to the process:
- Your evidence — This includes everything from the police report and witness statements taken by law enforcement agents, to receipts, medical bills, and other expenses that you incurred because of your loved one’s injuries. Just gather as much evidence as you can. Your lawyer will examine them and determine the best one for your case.
- The liable party — This is evidence collected by the at-fault party’s lawyers or insurer after the incident.
If your attorney thinks that the latter has more evidence, or may destroy or attempt to suppress the evidence in their possession, they can send a spoliation letter or letter requesting the preservation of necessary evidence to the liable party’s attorneys or insurance company.
How to Choose a Wrongful Death Attorney
Choosing the right wrongful death attorney in Arkansas can make your case and help you get the settlement that you deserve. The right attorney can collect evidence, provide adequate legal guidance, represent your interests, and fight hard for you.
To choose the right one, look for
- Past records of successful wrongful death claims
- Trial law or litigation experience
- The capacity to fight for your best interests
- Positive online reviews on Google and other reputable review sources.
You want a lawyer who has won similar cases and recovered sizable compensation for wrongful death clients in the past. And you want to make sure that if the case goes to court, your attorney can also try the case and fight for your rights in court.
And look up the testimonials from their past clients. These will give you a feel of the lawyer’s capabilities. Make sure that the attorney is committed to winning and has the ability to get you your compensation.
How to Calculate Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In Arkansas, there are two categories of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim:
- Family claim — This is awarded and paid directly to designated surviving relatives of the deceased. These cover loss of care and guidance, loss of financial support, emotional anguish and distress caused by the loved one’s death, loss of household, loss of guidance and care, and loss of companionship.
- Estate claim — This is awarded to the estate of the deceased and is meant to cover the losses incurred by the deceased or other relatives. These include medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased, funeral and burial expenses, the deceased’s pain and suffering up to the point of death, and the loss of income that the deceased would have earned if they’d been alive.
You need to consult with your lawyer to determine the best one for your situation. Also, unlike some other states, Arkansas has no cap for wrongful death damages. So, your lawyer can calculate the value of these damages and potentially go as high as possible when filing the claim.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To file a wrongful death claim, all you have to do is speak to an experienced attorney about your case and let them take it from there. They’ll collect evidence, build your case, and ensure that you have a solid claim.
Then, the lawyer will file your claim in a court of competent jurisdiction and seek compensation on your behalf before the statute of limitations runs out —two years if the deceased’s death was medical malpractice-related; and three years if the deceased died from other causes.
The representative is usually the de facto claimant. But where there’s none, the heirs at law can pursue legal action against the liable party.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies When Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim?
Insurance companies aim to minimize the settlement amounts payable to all wrongful death claims. If they’re unable to deny your claim, they will try to get you to take as little money as possible.
This is why you should never deal with them directly. Insist that all correspondence should be through your lawyer. If they have an offer, your lawyer is legally bound to bring the offer to you and inform you if it’s a fair offer or if they feel that you can get more.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under Arkansas law, only two categories of people can receive the proceeds of a wrongful death legal action:
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
- The heirs at law — This is an eligible surviving member of the deceased’s family. Examples include the spouse, children, parents, or siblings of the deceased.
An important sidenote is what is known as “in loco parentis”. This is someone who acted as a parent or legal guardian to the deceased or someone to whom the deceased acted as a legal guardian.
In the end, the settlement from the wrongful death claim is usually paid directly to eligible family members and is typically non-taxable.
When Bailey & Oliver Law Firm goes to work for you, we apply every resource and every team member to your case. We form relationships with our clients and often become extended members of the family. Our passion is helping people, to be a voice for the voiceless, a champion for justice, and a protector of your rights. We are not afraid to get our hands and our feet dirty in order to win a desirable outcome.