When a person dies at the negligence of another person or party, the deceased person’s estate or family may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide justice to the deceased person’s family. However, going about a wrongful death lawsuit varies by state, as each place has different means and laws on how to go about filing a claim. This blog will discuss how a wrongful death lawsuit is defined in the state of Alabama, and what you need to know if you are considering filing a lawsuit.
What is “wrongful death” in the state of Alabama?
In the state of Alabama, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by a “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another person or entity (Alabama Code §§ 6-5-391 and 6-5-410 (2021).) Some common causes of wrongful death are:
● Medical malpractice
● A negligence-based accident
● Birth injuries
● Occupational hazards
● Product defects
In order to go through with a wrongful death case, you and your attorney must prove that negligence caused the death. A wrongful death attorney can help you gather the correct evidence to help you prove that the other person failed to uphold their duty of care and that their actions were the cause of your loved one’s death. However, it is essential to understand that you must act fast when filing a claim. As more time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to establish the situation and what role others may have played in it.
How long do I have to file?
Although this may be a hard time for you and your relatives, you don’t want to hesitate when it comes to filing your lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a certain time period set by the state. This is known as a statute of limitations.
In an Alabama wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is usually two years, but in certain circumstances, it can be as short as six months. If you intend to bring forth a wrongful death suit, the state of Alabama limits the time you have to do so. You should contact Cunningham Bounds as soon as possible for an evaluation of the statute of limitations in your case.
Who can file a wrongful death case?
According to Alabama law, only a personal representative, or executor, of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The executor can be found in the deceased’s will, but if the deceased didn’t have a will, a probate court will appoint an executor or personal representative. In some cases, the personal representative can be the surviving spouse, adult children, or parents of the deceased.
What damages could I receive?
Unlike many other states, Alabama limits recovery in a wrongful death claim to punitive damages only.
Damages in Alabama wrongful death actions are entirely punitive, imposed for:
(1) the preservation of human life and
(2) as a deterrent to others to prevent similar wrongs in the future.
Are you ready to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, you have the right to hold the other person or entity accountable. At Cunningham Bounds, our lawyers can assist you in determining if you have a case and what types of compensation you should seek in your claim. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.Contact our legal office today at (251) 299-0101 or visit our website to fill out a free consultation form.