If you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one, we want to extend our deepest, most heartfelt condolences. A life cut short is a terrible tragedy. The desire to truly connect with and help families in need is a major reason we founded this law firm. Jessica Powers is passionate about fighting for those who have no voice. Understanding and filing a wrongful death claim can be very daunting and complicated, but Jessica Powers has the ability to walk each family through the process and make sure every question is answered. She knows that wrongful death is not just combat, but an experience her clients are going through that is uncomfortable, stressful, and overwhelming. It is her goal to create relationships with clients and genuinely serve them during this very personal process. In your time of need after the unexpected passing of someone you love, we are here for you and your family.
What is Wrongful Death?
The definition of wrongful death in Alabama Code 6-5-410 is a death directly caused by the wrongful act, negligence, or omission of another person. If your loved one passed away in an automobile crash, in a workplace incident, because of a defective product, unreasonably hazardous premises, or in the hospital under dubious circumstances, he or she may have been a victim of wrongful death. Filing a claim for wrongful death may result in monetary compensation for your family. Like every state, Alabama has rules and regulations for wrongful death claims.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama
The amount of damages available in an Alabama wrongful death claim can vary widely. If the estate doesn’t receive a satisfactory settlement offer, a jury must determine the amount of financial compensation to be awarded to the family. The award of damages must correspond with the degree of wrongdoing that caused the fatal incident. Each case is different, and juries must consider the facts to determine an appropriate amount.
4 Common Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama?
- Only certain people can file.
- The estate of a deceased person is the only entity that can bring a wrongful death suit, not family members. The estate is a representative of the deceased person’s assets and properties. Thus, you must open an estate with the probate court before filing a wrongful death claim. All damages in a wrongful death case in Alabama go to the heirs of the deceased, not to individual family members or the estate.
- There are time limits for filing.
- In Alabama, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim with the civil courts is two years from the death of an individual. However, exceptions may apply. If your action involves a claim against a government party, you must file notice of a claim within six months from the date of death. Claims against the county give you one year from the incident to bring a claim.
- The estate can only receive punitive damages.
- Unlike most states that allow for compensatory damages in wrongful death claims (recovery for your loved one’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering; your family’s mental anguish; a spouse or minor child’s loss of championship and support; etc.), the Alabama courts will only award punitive damages. Punitive damages are those ordered to punish the defendant for intentional or reckless wrongdoing.
The goal of filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama is to punish the defendant who was negligent and to deter similar acts by other parties. Family members of the deceased person can take solace in the fact that the responsible party faced justice, and that the lawsuit may have prevented other deaths in the future. For many, a wrongful death lawsuit grants closure and peace in a devastating, terrible time.
Should You Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
A legal representative can play a powerful role in wrongful death claims. These cases are not necessarily straightforward. The estate’s attorney can conduct an independent investigation and build a case to prove a certain degree of negligence or recklessness that caused a person’s death. With an experienced Birmingham wrongful death attorney working for the estate, families can obtain fair compensation and hold the wrongdoer accountable.
If you believe someone else’s wrongdoing caused the death of your loved one, it is worthwhile to file a wrongful death claim. Powers Injury Law works on a contingency fee basis. This means your family won’t pay anything unless we win punitive damages for the heirs. Bringing a claim against a responsible party can shed light on his or her negligent practices and incite a much-needed change in actions and behaviors. If you recently lost someone in a tragic incident, please contact our Birmingham wrongful death lawyers. Call (205) 582-2723 to schedule your free consultation with Jessica Powers or one of her caring and capable support staff members.