Most people know that the loss of a loved one comes with unimaginable pain, but the accompanying financial burden often comes as a surprise. For help, turn to an Alabama wrongful death attorney.
The death of a loved one is the most difficult experience most people ever face. The loss can color every moment of every day, but when your loved one’s death was someone else’s fault, these feelings become much more intense.
Unfortunately, that pain isn’t the only struggle you must bear; you’re also likely to face crippling expenses from hospital bills, lost income, and funeral costs.
In your grief, you shouldn’t try to fight the insurance companies, take on at-fault parties, or even navigate the halls of the court—not on your own, at least. You need to hold the person who did this accountable, but to do so, you may need to team up with an Alabama wrongful death lawyer.
Alabama has complex and unique laws when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, so finding an attorney and filing your claim quickly is essential. At the Henry Dailey Law Firm, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to make sure your claim is successful.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Alabama?
Alabama drastically differs from other states because only the personal representative of the estate named in the will can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If no one is named in the will, administration obligations to the estate are granted to a willing one of these individuals, in this order:
- The widower or widow
- The next of kin entitled to share in the estate
- The largest creditor of the estate residing in Alabama
- Any other person the judge may appoint
In Alabama counties with a population over 400,000, a fifth person, the county or general administrator, is inserted in that fourth spot.
If the decedent is a minor, then the father or mother may be able to bring the claim, or it may fall to the same order as above.
Causes of Wrongful Death
A fatal accident can come in many forms. We will investigate the situation from every angle to determine the cause. We have to find the cause or causes in order to figure out who's at fault.
Common causes of wrongful death claims include the following:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Vehicle crashes be caused by drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted drivers, malfunctioning or improperly installed parts or equipment, hazardous roads, poorly placed signs, and equipment or debris in the roadway. Motorcycle accidents and commercial truck crashes are often fatal, as well.
- Workplace Accidents – These usually fall within the workers compensation system, but if a third party other than an employer is involved, then that party may be held accountable and named in an Alabama wrongful death claim.
- Premises Liability Injuries – This includes deaths caused by slip-and-fall accidents, drownings in unsecured pools, falling into open wells, accessible but dangerous equipment, or falling objects, among other causes.
- Defective Product Injuries – Any product that malfunctions and kills someone may warrant a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer of the product in question.
Alabama’s Wrongful Death Compensation Rules
Alabama dares to be different in many ways, and the way our state handles wrongful death claim damages is one of them. In Alabama, the administrator of the estate can only sue for punitive damages.
In other states, wrongful death claims can call for compensatory damages for funeral costs, medical bills, and other financial hardships. Not in Alabama.
Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant whose extremely egregious negligence led to the fatal accident involving your loved one and deter that defendant and anyone else from performing similarly negligent actions.
Asking for the court to punish the responsible party is also important in providing justice for the deceased and your family. Punitive damages may help cover some of the costs leading up to your loved one’s death.
Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims in Alabama
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Alabama is two years from the date of the death. This is the same deadline for other personal injury cases. While two years may seem substantial, gathering evidence and building a strong claim takes a lot of time. A lawyer can help speed things up.
Reach Out to an Alabama Wrongful Death Attorney
We know you are hurting and you just want to be with your family. We will do our best to comfort you and keep you informed of your options and the proceedings at hand. And we’ll hold the person who hurt your loved one financially accountable.
Contact an Alabama wrongful death lawyer at the Henry Dailey Law Firm as soon as you can. Give us a call at 205-995-2412 or fill out the online contact form below to schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation with us.