THE BEST WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS IN ARKANSAS – understand that all lives have value.


The nursing home industry in Arkansas recently attempted to put an issue on the ballot which, if passed, would have changed the Arkansas Constitution and allowed the legislature to set the value of non-economic damages in medical cases at no less than $250,000.00. (Fortunately, our Supreme Court found the initiative, particularly the phrase “non-economic damages” inadequately defined and struck it from the ballot.) Had this actually become law, and had our legislature actually set “non-economic damages” at $250,000.00, then whether it knew it or not, it would have been limiting a jury’s right to set the value of life itself at no more than $250,000.00.

Right now in Arkansas, if someone in your family is taken out of this world through negligent, careless or intentional conduct of another, a jury is given the power to compensate certain family members for grief and loss of financial support, but also, the estate of the decedent is entitled to recover certain things. One of these elements of “damages” is “loss of life.”


Our Supreme Court has explained in case law that a jury must use the evidence presented at trial to determine the value your deceased loved one would have placed on his or her own life. (Think about that for a moment. If you were killed as a result of “wrongful” conduct tomorrow, a jury might be asked to determine the value you placed on your life.)

The best trial lawyers in Arkansas understand that building a wrongful death case for trial, entails learning everything there is to know about the life that was lost — from every available resource. The best case preparation involves spending a great deal of time with family members and close friends of the decedent; going to his or her church; visiting his school or place of work; studying family videos and photographs, and really listening to every story that can be told about the person whose life will be the focus of the trial. (Sort of brings to mind what Atticus Finch told his young daughter in Harper Lee’s amazing book, To Kill a Mockingbird.)

“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

It is only after such intense, serious and focused personal study, that a good trial lawyer begins to truly understand what evidence best illustrates the value that your love one placed on his or her life.  With this knowledge, a trial strategy can be developed that presents real and substantial evidence so that a jury can be provided genuine facts to look to in making such an important determination.

Fortunately, in Arkansas, juries will retain the power that our Founding Fathers intended and the nursing home industry will not use our constitution (and then its powerful lobby) to convince the legislature to set a very low arbitrary limit on the value of life …at least for now. (Probably a very good thing for everyone who is now, or ever will be, in a nursing home.) It’s also a good thing for every family who has lost a child …born or unborn.


Mulkey Law Firm has proudly represented families who have lost loved ones for over twenty-five years. We respect life and believe that all lives have tremendous value. Please click HERE to read our latest client ratings and reviews.




According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention every single  day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes.  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion.


Clearly drivers that are intoxicated endanger not only themselves but every man, woman and child on the road. When such a driver causes injury or death in Arkansas, our state law allows the victims to seek, not only compensation for their losses, but punitive damages in order to punish the wrongdoer and, more importantly, send a message to the entire community that Arkansans will not tolerate drunk drivers killing and injuring our families.

Recognizing the danger to our communities posed by drunk drivers, in 1994 the Arkansas Supreme Court first decided to allow lawsuits against liquor stores and bars that illegally sell alcohol to minors, who then cause harm to themselves or others when intoxicated.  Our firm was proud to have represented the parents of sixteen year old Charles Shannon who tragically died after such an illegal sale. After the Shannon case was dismissed for failing to state a cause of action, we challenged the dismissal in our Supreme Court and successfully convinced the Court to change the law so that they were able to hold the liquor store accountable.

Eventually, based in part on the Shannon case, our state legislature set down specific statutes whereby victims of drunk driving can sue not only the drunk driver but, under certain circumstances, the seller of the alcohol.  Victims can now sue the liquor store or bar if intoxication resulted in injury and death under two circumstances:

(1) When the alcohol is sold to a minor, and the intoxicated minor injures or kills themselves or someone else as a result.

(2) When the alcohol is sold to an adult (a person of legal age to purchase the alcohol) after that person is visibly intoxicated, and that person thereafter injures, kills or causes property damage to another due to the intoxication.  An important distinction here is that a sale to a person that can legally purchase the alcohol does not give rise to a cause of action when they injure or kill themselves due to their own intoxication…unlike in the instance of a minor to whom the sale was illegally made.

Evidence of such sales sometimes does not last long.  Security camera video at liquor stores and bars will often record over itself after a few days.  Was there a sales receipt in the drunk driver’s vehicle?  Tragically, drunk drivers sometimes do not live to tell us where and under what circumstances they got the alcohol.  This is why it is always important to move quickly to gather evidence of the sale. You can’t fight back and send a message, unless you know who to fight!

Mulkey Law Firm will proudly continue to fight for families whose lives have been changed forever due to drunk driving.


Death and Accountability in Arkansas – “Wrongful Death” and where to start

In Arkansas, when a person dies as a result of another’s negligent, reckless or intentional conduct, our law allows that person’s court appointed Personal Representative (Administrator) to hire a lawyer and a court can hold the responsible person or company causing the death accountable.  Under the Arkansas Wrongful Death Act, the Personal Representative can recover money for the estate and for others depending on their relationship to the person who lost his or her life.

On behalf of the estate, the Personal Representative can recover compensation for:

  • medical expenses;
  • the value of lost earnings prior to death;
  • conscious pain and suffering;
  • scars, disfigurement and visible results of injury;
  • the loss of life;
  • funeral expenses; and,
  • property damage.

The Personal Representative can also  seek compensation for the deceased person’s statutory beneficiaries (i.e. spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, children… and certain others described in the statute). Money for these persons can be recovered for:

  • loss of consortium (spouse only);
  • pecuniary loss  (the value of money, goods and services the decedent  would have contributed to the statutory beneficiaries, if he had lived); and,
  • mental anguish.

The first step a family should take in holding the responsible person or company accountable for a loved one’s death is to consult an attorney experienced in handling wrongful death cases.  The attorney will quickly open an estate in the Probate Court so that an Administrator can be appointed.  It is only with the approval of the Court that a law firm can be hired by the Administrator to represent the estate and start the process of seeking justice for the family.

Mulkey Law Firm represents grieving families with compassion and integrity.    We understand the importance of grief and the fact sometimes closure may depend on justice. We also understand that many families, when left with a loss of income, have no choice but to fight for justice. We offer free, no obligation consults by phone or in person.


In Arkansas, if you or a family member is harmed by person that is intoxicated, you should quickly investigate how that person obtained the alcohol. The business that made money helping the person get drunk can be held responsible for your loss under two circumstances:

(1) When a business illegally sells alcohol to a minor, and the intoxicated minor injures or kills themselves or someone else as a result, the seller can be held responsible for the harm that results from the intoxication; and,

(2) When a business sells alcohol to a visibly intoxicated adult, over twenty-one years of age, the business can be held responsible if that adult injures, kills or causes property damage to another person as a result of being intoxicated.

The important distinction under Arkansas law today is that buyers over the age of twenty-one that hurt themselves as a result of intoxication, cannot sue the seller. However, after an illegal sale to a buyer under the age of twenty-one, the seller can be held responsible for even the buyer’s injury or death caused by intoxication.

The Mulkey Law Firm was the first in Arkansas to successfully hold a seller of alcohol responsible for an illegal sale which led to the death of our client’s teenage son. (We convinced the Arkansas Supreme Court to change the law of the state in the process.) We have since successfully represented families of victims of drunk drivers all over Arkansas in cases against irresponsible sellers, as a direct result of that change in the law.