When accidents based on one person’s negligence or intentional misconduct result in the death of your loved one, you are left with a significant question: what are your family’s legal rights? Without having experienced something like this before, you may not know whether you can hold the at-fault person responsible. Our Mobile wrongful death lawyers can help you throughout the legal process.
A wrongful death claim is a civil matter used to punish a party that causes another person’s death by their carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Under Alabama Code § 6-5-410, a party can be held responsible if their negligence, omission, or wrongful act caused another person’s death. They could also be forced to pay a monetary penalty. Because it is a civil case, a wrongful death claim does not lead to imprisonment or probation.
If you believe the other party’s actions were negligent and caused your loved one’s death, speak with our Mobile wrongful death lawyers today. We can review what happened and inform you of your legal rights and options moving forward.
Many states allow certain family members to file wrongful death lawsuits. Parents, spouses, and children are commonly eligible to move forward with these claims. However, Alabama law is different. Only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can commence the action. This representative may be a family member; however, there is no requirement for the executor of an estate to be related to the deceased.
If you are not sure whether you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit or not, contact our attorneys right away. We can discuss your possible involvement in this claim. We can also explain your rights and options if you want to pursue compensation, but the personal representative does not.
A few elements of a wrongful death claim must be proven to establish the other party’s negligence. If you and your family decide to move forward with a wrongful death claim, you must provide evidence of:
Alabama has strict rules regarding wrongful death claims. This type of claim must be pursued in the jurisdiction where the decedent would have been able to commence an action for their bodily injuries had they not passed away. This may be the county where the decedent lived, where the accident took place, or where they died. Jurisdiction can be complicated, though. If you have questions about moving forward with a lawsuit, contact our Mobile wrongful death lawyers.
There is also a time limit on filing a wrongful death claim. The paperwork must be filed within two years of your loved one’s death. If your family is approaching this deadline, call Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. right away. We may only have a brief time to investigate the situation and determine whether you have a valid wrongful death claim.
Compensation in a wrongful death claim is different than in a personal injury claim. Injury lawsuits pursue compensatory damages. The money you would receive in one of those cases is meant to repay your financial losses and make you whole concerning your physical and psychological injuries. In a wrongful death lawsuit, damages are punitive. The monetary reward is not compensation for you and your other loved one’s injuries. Instead, it is intended to punish the wrongdoer and prevent them from acting negligently again.
The value of your wrongful death claim depends on a variety of factors. If you are wondering what your lawsuit may be worth before you decide whether to move forward or not, contact us right away. We have decades of experience handling wrongful death claims.
While the personal representative of the decedent’s estate files the wrongful death claim, the punitive damages are divided based on Alabama’s intestate laws. These are the rules of how an estate is divided when an individual dies without a will. This law defines who the decedent’s heirs are and their proportion of the compensation.
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You may have many questions about what happens after losing a loved one in an accident. It can be challenging to find the answers yourself when you are grieving. Our attorneys at Belt, Bruner & Barnett, P.C. are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. We will go over Alabama’s wrongful death law with you, and if you wish to move forward, we will investigate your loved one’s death and guide you through the insurance claim or legal process.