Fatal Car Accident Lawyers
Fatal car accidents can take a devastating toll on a family, but you may have options for obtaining the compensation that preserves your financial future after a tragic loss. If your loved one died in a car accident, call a fatal car accident lawyer at Belt & Bruner right away to learn your rights.
There’s no such thing as a perfect driver, which is why no matter where you live and drive, you’re at risk for an accident. Your actual chance of getting into a collision on any given day depends on a multitude of factors, many of which are out of your control, like the weather and whoever else is on the road. Your chance of dying in that incident depends on another set of factors, such as your injuries, location, and nearest hospital.
For Alabama residents, the probability of dying in a car accident is twice as high compared to the risk for an average American, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This exceptionally high rate of auto collision fatalities is due in part to the rural nature of much of the state and the amount of time it takes for emergency medical responders to reach a crash site and transport victims to a hospital. In fact, more than half of fatalities occur in rural areas despite 75 percent of car crashes happening in urban areas, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation.
The Effects of Crash Fatalities
There’s never a car accident that results in death which doesn’t affect other people’s lives. The victim is always someone’s child, sibling, parent, or friend. When a person dies unexpectedly in a car accident, that individual may not have a will in place. This means someone — often a family member or an attorney — will need to be appointed as the executor of the estate and take care of their property, pay their debts, and distribute their assets according to state law. Depending on what the individual left behind, this can be a great deal of work.
When the victim is the family breadwinner, the crash can leave behind an emotionally and financially devastated spouse and children. If the individual didn’t have a good life insurance or auto insurance policy, his or her spouse may struggle to pay funeral expenses in addition to normal household expenses.
If the individual was a single parent, he or she leaves behind children who need a guardian. If there isn’t a family member or close friend to step in, the victim’s children can end up in state-run foster care.
The effects of a fatal car crash can touch every aspect of the life of an individual or a family. Not only do families lose someone they loved and would have spent considerable time within the coming years, but households lose incomes, and children can lose their entire lives.
Wrongful Death Claims
The Alabama Wrongful Death Statute states a personal representative can start an action and recover damages for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of a person or corporation that caused the death of the victim. A personal representative may have a wrongful death claim when the victim would have had a claim against the party at fault had he or she not died. Also, the action must be started within 2 years after the victim’s death.
It’s important to note that the wrongful death statute provides for recovery of punitive damages only, not compensatory damages. This means that the damages are not compensation for costs like medical care and funeral expenses, but actually is an amount that is intended to punish the other party for their actions and deter future similar conduct. During the wrongful death suit, they must argue that the defendant should pay an amount that represents an appropriate punishment for causing the fatal accident, not to replace the value of the lost life.
Call Our Alabama Fatal Car Accident Lawyers
If you believe a wrongful death action may be the best step for your family after losing someone in a crash, call Belt & Bruner, P.C. right away. Our car accident lawyers in Alabama have more than 65 years of collective experience in trying personal injury and wrongful death suits. We know the ins and outs of Alabama law and are prepared to aggressively advocate for you in court. We have recovered more than $1 million each in more than 55 cases, and more than $5 million in 11 separate cases.
Call Belt & Bruner at 205-933-1500 for a free consultation. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our fatal car accident attorneys can help you at a location nearest you.