The Law Offices Of Adam E. Parker
Wrongful Death Lawyer in Alabama and Georgia
Wrongful Death Claims in the Southeast
Nothing is harder than losing a loved one – except for losing a loved one because of the intentional, reckless, or careless actions of another person or business. If another party’s negligence caused your loved one’s passing, our team at The Law Offices Of Adam E.Parker is deeply sorry for your loss. We also want you to know that you have legal options, and that we are here to help you understand them. Our firm would be honored to stand by your side through this difficult time.
Wrongful Death Defined
In Alabama, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another. As explained in § 6-5-410 of the Code of Alabama, a deceased person’s estate can bring about any personal injury claim the deceased person would have been able to make had they survived.
Simply put, a wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim made on behalf of someone who succumbed to their injuries (and is, therefore, no longer capable of making one). Read our personal injury page or visit § 6-3-2 or § 6-3-7 of the Code of Alabama to better understand the root of wrongful death claims.
How Common Are Wrongful Death Claims?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 214,000 people die from injuries and violence each year in the United States. While not all bereaved families file wrongful death claims, many of them do.
Some of the most common causes of wrongful death claims include motor vehicle accidents and accidental falls. Many cases are also caused by acts of violence, or as we call them in the legal world, “intentional torts.”
If you have lost a loved one in any of these situations and/or due to the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of another, please contact our Dothan wrongful death lawyers today.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Alabama?
All wrongful death claims in Alabama benefit the deceased person’s estate, which means only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This rule is important and different from many states, in which family members are allowed to file wrongful death actions directly. That being said, the personal representative of an estate is often one of the decedent’s family members.
Damages in Alabama wrongful death cases are also paid directly to the decedent’s heirs, which means neither the person filing the lawsuit nor the deceased person’s estate will receive the damages (unless the personal representative is also an heir). For more information about estates and probate, read our estate planning page.
Wrongful Death Claims Explained
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex by nature. In these cases, surviving family of the deceased can file a lawsuit against the negligent party whose actions caused the death of their loved one. Separate from criminal court proceedings, the best outcome for wrongful death cases will result with the family members receiving a financial reward to try and cover some of the burden of losing their loved one. In Alabama,compensation awarded in wrongful death lawsuits can cover:
- Funeral costs
- Medical expenses
- Lost income & future earnings
- Emotional distress
Another way Alabama wrongful death claims differ from those in other states is in the types of damages allowed. Most states allow compensatory damages, which address pain and suffering and other damages, but Alabama only allows for punitive damages.
The main purpose of punitive or exemplary damages is to punish the wrongdoer and make an example of them so that others do not behave similarly in the future.
How Long Do I Have to File?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death actions in Alabama is two (2) years. This means you have 2 years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a lawsuit. Some factors can make this window shorter, so you should speak to an experienced lawyer right away!