Calculating the economic loss resulting from a wrongful death is tough. Many times the loss has to be reduced to today’s dollar values.
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) June 28, 2010 — Most wrongful death claims are as a result of accidents; accidents that include car crashes, truck collisions, motorcycle accidents, exposure to toxic chemicals, as the result of a defective product or due to medical malpractice. In cases like this, the key here is that the death was caused by someone else and that negligence is usually a factor.
“The person who brings a wrongful death lawsuit is usually the spouse, children or parents
of the deceased and they are often referred to as distributees in cases like this. Also, wrongful death is a type of personal injury claim and you would file the lawsuit against the people responsible for the death,” outlined Michael G. Smith, an Arkansas personal injury lawyer, practicing personal injury law and veteran’s benefits in Arkansas.
Arkansas wrongful death cases require the services of an experienced attorney so the family is able to get fair and just compensation for things like, pain and suffering, funeral costs, loss of wages, medical expenses, loss of companionship and consortium, etc. “There may even be a valid claim for loss of inheritance. Since each state has a slightly different wrongful death statute, you’d need to ask your attorney about what the rules are in your state,” Smith remarked.
In the alternative, there may be another option to consider; a survival action. This is when the family asks for additional compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased. Typically though, those left behind must have lost money as a result of their family member’s death in order to file a wrongful death action.
“Calculating the financial loss for the death of a family member is no easy task, and the process usually starts with your attorney trying to negotiate a settlement. If there’s no dice that route, we’d go to court and let the jury and judge decide the matter,” observed Smith. The factors they would consider include the percentage of liability the defendant had for the wrongful death, the age of the deceased and other things like if the person didn’t have a job.
Liability isn’t always black and white which means that if the death was caused by someone’s negligence, how much could the person responsible have known about the risks involved in their actions? “This is sometimes a very tough question to resolve and there have been cases where a court decided the one responsible couldn’t have anticipated the outcome of their actions. In addition, the case may show the deceased was negligent themselves and contributed to the accident,” added Smith.
The bottom line when it comes to an award is that it may also be converted into today’s dollar amount; meaning while the jury award may be substantial, it may end up being reduced when it is converted. “This point, and a variety of other things, are crucial to know if you are about to file a wrongful death suit. Call me and I can outline the process,” offered Smith.
425 W. Capitol Av., Suite 3700
Little Rock, AR 72201
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