People die unexpectedly every day in various ways. Many are victims of car accidents, fires, medical malpractice, and crimes. Others may die from falls, drownings and dog attacks. Sometimes another person causes the death. In this case, you might need to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
When a person dies from the behavior of another person—whether the action was negligent, reckless or deliberate—the family members of the deceased victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the liable party. A lawsuit can help a grieving family recover compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and other damages caused by the sudden death. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, not having to worry about money during this time can bring a sense of relief.
Elements of Wrongful Death
In order to file a wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove the following four elements.
- Another person’s negligence caused the death.
- The person breached a duty.
- The breached duty caused the victim’s death.
- Death led to damages, such as funeral and burial expenses.
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit and is therefore separate from a criminal case. If the person is facing criminal charges for your loved one’s death, you can still file a civil suit.
Not every family member is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws are different in each state. In Arkansas, the representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only person who can bring about a wrongful death lawsuit. In Mississippi, spouse, child, parent or sibling can file a lawsuit.
If you think you meet the requirements to file a wrongful death claim, contact the wrongful death lawyers at Harris Law Firm, PLLC to learn more about your next steps.
Meet the Deadline
You can’t sue someone for something they did to you 20 years ago. Each state has deadlines for filing civil claims. These are statutes of limitations and these time limits vary based on the state and type of crime committed. For Arkansas, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim in a civil court is only one year. In Mississippi, you have up to three years to file a wrongful death claim.
The timeline starts on the day the person dies, which may be different from the day the accident occurred. If you plan to file a wrongful death claim, you must do so before the statute of limitations expires. Even if you are just one day late, you could lose out on your rights to compensation. Therefore, the sooner you speak to a lawyer, the better.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
A loved one’s unexpected death can be devastating. While you’ll want time to grieve the loss of your family member, you’ll also want to understand your legal rights. You could get various forms of compensation for a wrongful death.
Hiring a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind, but doing so can help you with the financial costs associated with a sudden death. The team at Harris Law Firm, PLLC is here to help you through this difficult time. We serve clients throughout Mississippi and Arkansas. Contact the attorneys at Harris Law Firm, PLLC for a free case review.