Alexander City Wrongful Death Attorneys
What Is Considered Wrongful Death?
Alabama law defines “wrongful” death as any death resulting from the “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another person or party. In other words, if the person who died (known as the “decedent”) would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim had they lived, their death is considered “wrongful.”
Wrongful death claims often arise from the following:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Large truck collisions
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Serious falls
- Property owner negligence
- Accidents involving defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Workplace accidents
Wrongful death cases can also arise from intentional acts or omissions, including criminal conduct. If a person dies due to assault, homicide, or murder, the surviving family members may be entitled to compensation from the liable party through the civil court system. This is separate from any criminal proceedings that may (or may not) occur, and the outcome of a criminal case does not necessary impact or affect the outcome of a civil wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Alabama?
In Alabama, certain individuals may file a wrongful death claim in different situations. If the person who died was an adult, the personal representative (or the “executor”) of the decedent’s estate must be the one to file the claim or lawsuit. If the person who died was a minor (meaning they were under the age of 19 when they passed away), the parent(s) may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit within six months of the date of death. Once six months have passed, the personal representative for the minor decedent must be the one to file the claim or lawsuit.
Although the action must be commenced by the personal representative (in most cases), damages are sought on behalf of the decedent’s heirs. Such individuals may include the decedent’s:
- Adopted children
In most cases, wrongful death damages are distributed according to the state’s rules of intestate succession, or the rules of distributing the estate when a person dies without a will. This is true in wrongful death cases even when the decedent had a will.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases in Alabama
Unlike many other states that allow eligible surviving family members to recover compensatory damages in wrongful death cases, Alabama only allows for the recovery of punitive damages. This means that eligible individuals cannot recover compensation for specific losses they have endured as a result of their loved one’s death in Alabama, such as medical bills associated with the decedent’s final treatment, funeral expenses, or lost income. Instead, plaintiffs in wrongful death cases may only recover damages that are meant to punish the defendant for their negligent or wrongful conduct.
In other words, the state of Alabama focuses solely on the defendant’s wrongdoing rather than the losses suffered by surviving family members and loved ones. Regardless, our Alexander City wrongful death attorneys understand the importance of securing maximum compensation for you and your family. We are committed to holding negligent people and parties accountable, and we are ready to fight for you and your rights.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
In Alabama, there is a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. This means that you have two years from the date of death (in most cases) to sue the liable party. In cases involving minor decedents, parents have only six months to file a claim. However, the personal representative for the minor may file a lawsuit after six months have passed.
In any case, it is important that you act quickly so that you don’t lose your right to file a lawsuit and secure the justice you deserve. At Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law, we are prepared to take immediate action on your behalf. Our Alexander City wrongful death lawyers conduct exhaustive investigations and work alongside teams of experts to prove the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct and liability. We have the resources and experience required to aggressively pursue these claims, and we never back down from even the most complex and challenging of cases.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Tallapoosa County
Although nothing can undo the pain, suffering, and trauma you and your family have been through, a successful wrongful death claim or lawsuit can provide closure and allow you to heal. It also sends a message that negligent and wrongful conduct will not be tolerated and works to hold the at-fault person or party accountable.
If you have lost someone you love due to the carelessness, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another, we at Morris Haynes Attorneys at Law are here to help. We extend our most sincere condolences to you and your family. Our attorneys recognize what you are going through, as well as the difficulties you still face. We are here to guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and fight tirelessly for justice on your behalf and on behalf of your loved one.
Our team is here to answer your questions and provide the one-on-one guidance you need to move forward through the legal system. When you choose our firm, you always work directly with a partner attorney; your case will never be passed off to an associate or paralegal.