The loss of a loved one is a heartbreaking experience and your grief can be compounded when you lose someone due to the negligence of another person or entity. At Moore Law Firm, we fight to help you recover damages for your loss and find justice for your loved one. Alabama wrongful death law is complex. Our personal injury attorneys in Mobile, AL are dedicated to helping you navigate the challenging legal process and court system.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person or entity. In Alabama, when a “wrongful act, omission or negligence” causes death, the deceased person’s estate may be entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against any liable parties.
Common Types of Wrongful Deaths
There are many different situations in which a wrongful death may occur. Wrongful death claims often involve fatal car crashes, tractor trailer accidents, drunk drivers, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice and product liability.
Do You Have A Claim?
Determining whether you have a wrongful death claim can be challenging without an attorney. You must be able to show that another party’s negligence caused the death of your loved one. To prove negligence, you also need to demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care and that they breached that duty. For example, motorists have a legal obligation to drive safely and use caution when behind the wheel. If a person driving under the influence causes a head-on collision and kills someone, they may be liable for the death that was caused by their negligent behavior.
Your Rights & Benefits Under Alabama Wrongful Death Law
There are specific requirements that must be met when filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama. The complex nature of these types of claims requires the knowledge and experience of personal injury lawyers who are well-versed in the nuances of Alabama wrongful death law.
Alabama does not permit just any family member to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama’s Wrongful Death Statute (§ 6-5-410, Ala. Code) only allows the administrator of the deceased person’s estate to bring a wrongful death action solely for punitive damages. Any punitive damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are distributed according to the intestacy laws, not as part of the estate. Damages awarded in these types of claims are not subject to the deceased person’s debtors. If the death involves a minor child, parents are allowed to bring a wrongful death suit against the liable party.
When someone dies, many families have legal disagreements over the distribution of assets, which can lengthen the process and prevent the estate’s administrator from filing a wrongful death action within the two-year statute of limitations. If the claim involves a city or county, the statute of limitations may be even more limited. Certain factors can affect the two-year statute of limitations, so contacting an attorney can be beneficial even if the window of time to file a lawsuit has passed. If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by someone’s carelessness or negligence it is imperative to seek the advice of our Mobile personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
It is also important to note that a wrongful death action can only be filed in Alabama if the person who died passed away within the borders of the state. If the death occurred in another state, the action must be filed there.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Unlike compensatory damages such as medical bills or pain and suffering, punitive damages are not intended to compensate plaintiffs. They are designed to punish wrongdoers for their egregious actions and deter them and others from committing similar wrongful acts. Determining an appropriate amount of punitive damages is complex, as it based on how reckless or careless the defendant’s conduct was in causing the death. Seeking the counsel of a skilled and knowledgeable Montgomery, AL wrongful death lawyer who understands how these damages should be determined is vital to ensure that your loved one’s estate receives the maximum amount of punitive damages.
How Does A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action. Alabama is unlike other states in this area of the law in that a wrongful death action is considered a personal injury claim in which the deceased person is no longer able to seek compensation from the negligent party. Instead, the estate of the deceased person seeks punitive damages on the deceased person’s behalf, not to compensate the deceased’s loved ones for their losses.
The initial complaint in a wrongful death lawsuit must state the cause of action for the complaint, outline legal and factual reasons you believe the defendant is liable, and set forth the damages you’re requesting. First, there is a discovery period in which parties share information surrounding the case and discuss possible settlements. If a settlement agreement is not reached, upon completion of discovery the matter proceeds to trial. At trial, both sides are given the opportunity to present their case.
Although the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not required in civil actions, the burden of proof still rests on the plaintiff. It is vital to an experienced Mobile personal injury attorney represent your interests in court. If the defendant has been convicted of criminal charges associated with your loved one’s death, our legal team will review the evidence from the criminal case. From witness statements to the defendant’s finances and assets, we collect all relevant information and develop effective legal strategies that clearly demonstrate to a judge and jury how and why the defendant is liable.
If the judge or jury finds that the defendant is liable for your loved one’s death, they may award punitive damages. When determining the amount of the award, the jury is not allowed to take value of the deceased person’s life or the need to compensate the family into account—the amount of damages is focused on the seriousness of the negligent party’s acts. Alabama places a monetary cap on the amount of punitive damages a plaintiff can receive in wrongful death claims. Both the plaintiff and defendant may file an appeal if they believe the outcome of the case was wrong.
How Do I Pay For My Case?
Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that there are no up-front costs to pursue your case and we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.
How To Find The Right Attorney
No amount of money can bring someone you love back, but a skilled personal injury attorney can help you find justice and compensation on your loved one’s behalf. Holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions may prevent future tragedies from occurring. Our legal team has handled hundreds of wrongful death cases and has successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for grieving families. We work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case and pursue every avenue to recover the maximum compensation allowed by law.
At Moore Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys in Mobile, AL are committed to fighting for your rights and recovering the compensation you deserve. If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, call Moore Law Firm at 251-445-7602251-445-7602 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We will assess your case and provide straightforward feedback about the viability of your claim.