Wrongful deaths are caused by individuals acting in a negligent manner and causing the death of an individual as a result. These deaths can cause deviation to families and even create catastrophic financial conditions due to medical expenses, damaged property, and loss of income. Consider the following information about wrongful deaths in the state of Alabama, and what you need to know to move forward with a case.
What is Wrongful Death?
If the death of a person results from negligent actions of a person, then it’s considered a wrongful death. The person who died did so by none of their actions, and now the families are left without their loved ones. This type of case is very emotionally taxing for those who experience this type of loss. In Alabama, some laws dictate how loved ones can proceed to get compensation for damages.
In order to have a wrongful death claim, there must be a case filed by the estate or court-appointed representative for the deceased. They must first go to a Probate court to gain this designation, and then they can hire an attorney to file a wrongful death suit against the defendant for their negligent actions. The goal of these cases is to get a financial award for damages related to medical costs, funeral expenses, loss of income, and other potential aspects.
Aspects of Wrongful Death
There are things to know about filing a wrongful death case in Alabama. The first thing to know is that you need an attorney specializing in these cases to get ideal results. Additionally, they need an in-depth knowledge of the state laws that govern a wrongful death case so that they can avoid pitfalls and other complications. For example, they need to know that there is a two-year cut-off deadline for filing in the state of Alabama.
Also, in Alabama, the estate of the deceased can only collect punitive damages. They can’t collect medical costs or other compensation that usually falls under the wrongful death allowances in other states. Once the settlement is awarded, it must be dispersed according to the estate inheritance laws.
As mentioned previously, if there are grounds for a wrongful death case, there is only punitive damage to award to the estate of the descended. Punitive damages are considered as a financial figure that the judge determines to punish the defendant for their actions. Rather than collecting for medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of income, the punitive damages are a single lump sum award that the defendant must pay to the estate.
Unfortunately, if there’s a significant amount of bills resulting from their injuries and death, there’s no award available for them. Sometimes, the punitive damages aren’t enough to cover all the expenses. This is why many people have life insurance in place in the event of their untimely death.
Most common causes of wrongful deaths
Most wrongful deaths occur as a result of a vehicle accident with an impaired driver. For these cases to be considered a lawful death, however, the representative must prove that outlined Alabama Law applies to that particular case. If the driver was impaired in any way, there needs to be documentation that they were under the influence at the scene. This documentation usually involves testing either on-site or at a hospital right after the collision. If the death resulted from reckless driving, there needs to be documentation or proof that the driver was participating in actions that put the victim at risk and caused their death.
Other Causes of Wrongful Deaths
There are many other instances where there are grounds for a wrongful death suit. Many cases are related to medical malpractice. This occurs when the surgeon or attending physicians make mistakes that cause bodily injury and complications. This type of malpractice can occur both on and off the operating table. Another medical-related instance where there’s the potential for a wrongful death case is when there’s fault lying with nursing home workers who cause injuries or neglect the needs of residents, which then results in their death – or complications that lead to death result.
Some other types of wrongful death situations include workers’ compensation. This type of case happens when a worker is killed at their job. If the death resulted from preventable circumstances on behalf of the employer or resulted from safety situations not addressed properly, there is a case for wrongful death. If a victim dies as a result of a faulty product, if the attorney can prove that there was negligence on the manufacturer’s part, they might have grounds to file a claim for wrongful death.
Negligence Resulting in Wrongful Death
Each wrongful death claim is unique, and there are many instances where there are grounds for a wrongful death case. For example, suppose you don’t maintain your car, and it has known safety issues. In that case, if you collide with another vehicle and cause death due to a defective operational system or safety features of your car, you might be liable for punitive damages.
The judge weighs all the facts and information to determine what type of damages to award to the deceased’s estate based on the conditions of the case and their opinion of the seriousness of the negligence in question. Many factors are weighed in these types of cases. That’s why you need a highly experienced attorney to rely on valuable information related to the case to get the best outcome. Don’t take chances with representation in these claims. It takes years of experience and skill to accurately handle a wrongful death case in the state of Alabama.
Finding a Wrongful Death Attorney
Anyone currently needing a wrongful death attorney to handle their case in Alabama should reach out to a firm experienced with wrongful death claims to get the process started and learn what they need to know about the case. Reach out to Caldwell, Wentzell, and Athena injury lawyers today and find out what to do to begin working with top professionals today.