In Alabama, there is a cause of action against individuals or corporations for negligent actions that result in the death of a person. Wrongful Death lawsuits are based upon special statutes that have been passed by state legislatures across the country, to try and provide justice to the families of injury victims who have died as the result of the wrongful acts of another.
Sometimes, wrongful death claims are filed as stand-alone lawsuits. In other instances, they are filed as part of an ongoing case based upon a catastrophic personal injury. Wrongful death can be the result of many circumstances, such as:
- Fatal car crashes
- Drunk driving fatalities
- Commercial truck (18-wheeler, big rig, tractor trailer) accidents
- Prescription (bad) drug and medical device injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Premises liability
- Accidental Drowning and Falls
- Work-Place Accidents
- Railroad Accidents
- Defective Designs of Products or Vehicles
The Alabama Wrongful Death Statute
Every state in the country has passed its own Wrongful Death law. The applicable state law in your case depends upon where the death occurred. If a loved one died in Alabama, then Alabama’s Wrongful Death statute applies. If the death happened in Tennessee, then the monetary awards will be defined under the Tennessee Wrongful Death law. It is important to determine which state’s wrongful death statute applies to your case. The language of the state law will determine not only what type of damages can be sought, but which loved ones can actually be plaintiffs in a suit for wrongful death damages.
Punitive Damages Only
Alabama’s Wrongful Death statute is unique and believed to be the only one of its type in the country. In Alabama, the only damages that may be recovered for wrongful death are punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct in the future. No compensatory damages are recoverable for wrongful death in Alabama. Compensatory damages include pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, mental anguish, loss of consortium, etc. Trying a wrongful death case to verdict in Alabama is a daunting challenge given the unusual law that applies. The experience of the attorneys at Fischer & Associates, LLC in trying wrongful death cases to verdict and achieving millions of dollars in jury verdicts in such cases affords them the insight and knowledge to develop a trial strategy that works.
Personal Injury Claim Viable if Filed Before Death
It is possible to recover compensatory damages in a lawsuit if filed prior to death. If a loved one is in a catastrophic accident which ultimately ends in death, a lawsuit may be filed immediately to ensure that the loved one has the ability to recover for the pain and suffering and medical expenses that may accrue prior to death. It is an unfortunate and incomprehensible situation to face. Family members are generally not thinking of such legal matters when faced with a seriously hurt loved one. However, if the loved one was clearly hurt due to the negligence of another, it is very important to contact an attorney as soon as possible due to the nuances of Alabama law on damages. As stated above, Alabama is the only State in the United States that limits recovery in a wrongful death action to punitive damages only. Therefore measures to protect your loved ones rights may need to be acted upon immediately.
Statute of Limitations
Deadlines exist under the laws of the State of Alabama that bar lawsuits if not timely filed. It is very important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that the statute of limitations of your potential case does not expire.
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If you have lost a loved one, you may be legally entitled to wrongful death damages under the law, and it is only just and right that you investigate what rights you and your family have according to the Wrongful Death Statute. Please feel free to contact the experienced trial attorneys at Fischer & Associates, LLC to schedule a free, initial legal consultation.