1. What is a wrongful death claim?
When a person is killed by the negligence of another, his or her heirs will have to pursue the claim on behalf the estate of the person killed.
The pursuit of a wrongful death claim requires specific adherence to Arkansas probate law. Often, individuals have attempted to resolve this type of claim on their own only to see the case dismissed due to technical and procedural requirements that must be met.
Additionally, even those working hard to obtain settlement of their wrongful death claims will have to seek and obtain court approval for disbursements to heirs.
2. What is an Arkansas “loss of life” claim?
In Arkansas, experienced attorneys pursuing wrongful death claims will also be seeking compensation for the value that the deceased placed upon his or her own life.
This is a very specific element of damages and is often difficult to prove without careful consideration of those aspects of a person’s life that can inform such assessments.
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3. Do I need an attorney to pursue a medical negligence case for wrongful death; one of the medical people already told me that a mistake had been made.
Arkansas law grants surviving family members many tools to explore and evaluate whether medical negligence is the cause of serious injury or death. However, it is very difficult for most people to do this unless they come equipped with significant medical knowledge and significant legal experience. That is why it is critical to seek out legal counsel with significant experience in prosecuting and resolving such claims.
As for the steps involved, they may be varied and complex, but there are several required in every case involving wrongful death. First, it is necessary to set up an estate on behalf of the deceased with an appropriate person to serve as the representative. The representative will need to obtain medical records, and obtain qualified legal counsel. These steps, along with many others, are necessary to establish the legal authority to investigate and prosecute the claim.
4. What can I do if I suspect medical negligence caused the death of a loved one?
There is always risk associated with nearly every medical treatment and procedure. Trained and licensed medical care providers must take appropriate action to minimize that risk by meeting the requirements of the applicable standard of care. When those standards are disregarded, it is the patient that needlessly suffers, often tragically. Many people benefit when contacting an experienced and well-qualified medical negligence attorney immediately.
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5. Why should I pursue a legal claim when there is nothing that can be done to bring my loved one back?
This is very important question. The answer tends to be a highly personal choice. However, some common reasons may include the following:
- A belief that serious attention to this problem is required because the victim or surviving family member is truly concerned that someone else will be needlessly hurt if they sit back and fail to sound the alarm about a dangerous medical provider, procedure or process.
- Perhaps the deceased was the kind of person that would stand up and fight for what is right and the surviving family wants to honor her memory and make sure that every question about her death is given a complete medical and legal answer because that is what she would have done under the circumstances.
- Maybe the error was so egregious and beyond the pale that the victim or the surviving family members simply could not rest if something were not done to correct it.
- Sometimes people pursue such cases because of the perceived unfairness for someone to so carelessly cause so much harm without any accountability.
- Unfortunately, people suffering from medical negligence may be left completely in the dark because the negligent medical care provider will not be up front and communicate about the mistake. Perhaps a cover-up is suspected.
- Commonly, people pursue such claims because the death cut down a person in their prime earning years and their surviving family was relying on their income and support which is now lost forever due to a medical mistake.
Whatever the motivation, the law does provide accountability for patients needlessly harmed by medical care providers that failed to meet the standard of care required.