Losing a loved one due to the neglect and carelessness of others is a terrible blow to families that may leave ongoing emotional scarring.
In addition to the emotional trauma, the family may also face significant financial difficulties with the loss of the deceased. Sometimes, compensation provided by a wrongful death lawsuit may ease this financial burden.
Wrongful death is the act of taking the life of other individuals due to a willful or negligent act.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that allows certain family members to receive compensation for the death of someone killed. The death could have occurred due to negligence, medical malpractice, product defects, auto accidents, or intentional death.
It is important to note that while the offender may face criminal charges for the death, the outcome of those charges is separate and does influence the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Types of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Death of a victim due to medical malpractice
- A victim is intentionally killed
- Car accident fatalities involving negligence
- Drowning accidents
- Workplace accidents
Who is entitled to file a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit?
One may only file a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama if the deceased could have recovered from the wrongful act if they had lived. The administrator of the deceased’s estate is the only person who may file the lawsuit. If the deceased does not have a will appointing an administrator, the spouse will have priority to be named executor; heirs are next in line.
If a minor child dies, the parents have an equal right to file a claim if they live together as legal husband and wife. If the parents do not live together or are divorced, the parent with legal custody at the time of the child’s death has the right to file a lawsuit.
Alabama does not allow survivors to recover monetary losses such as lost income.
The state does, however, award punitive damages for wrongful death claims. Punitive damage is meant to punish the defendant and prevent future instances of wrongful death.
When determining the amount of damages, the jury can only consider the defendant’s wrongful act and the importance of making sure the damages are large enough to prevent the tragedy from happening again.
If you have lost someone due to negligence or crime, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Please note that Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of wrongful death to file the claim.
An attorney can assist with details and laws about your specific case.
To get the compensation you deserve, contact the experienced attorneys at Siniard, Timberlake & League. We can help.