January 9, 2020

How Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama Different from Other States?

If someone’s negligence causes another person’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama may be in order. Each state has its own statutes and Alabama is unique in many respects. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you should know what to expect. You should work with a wrongful death attorney to learn how the law applies to your case. However, if you want to know the basics, this article will help.

The first thing you need to know is exactly who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Alabama Code Section 6-5-410, the victim’s estate has the right to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party. This differs from other states in which the decedent’s family can pursue a wrongful death claim. Of course, a family member can be named as the victim’s personal representative or executor. The claim can be filed against any individual or corporation which caused someone’s death through negligence, omission or a wrongful act.

Things an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer Will Discuss

When you meet with your personal injury lawyer, they will explain the law to you. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed following several types of incidents including vehicular accidents and injuries caused by defective products. The estate can only file a lawsuit if the deceased could have filed a personal injury claim if they lived. Even if the at-fault party is facing criminal charges, you can still bring a civil suit. The criminal case is separate from any legal action you will take.

Even though the personal representative has to file the action, any resulting damages don’t go to the estate. Unlike what happens in other states, the sum awarded isn’t distributed according to the victim’s will or trust. Instead, they are distributed as though the individual died without a will. This means that some individuals who aren’t in the will may be entitled to a portion of the amount recovered.

Damages Your Attorney Will Help You Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama

In almost every other state, survivors can recover monetary and non-monetary losses. These include loss of inheritance, loss of income, emotional distress and loss of support. However, Alabama is once again unique in its laws. This state’s wrongful death law is intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent similar behavior from other people in the future. Punitive damages are, therefore, the only type of damages that can be recovered under the law.

The jury can award any amount that it considers to be fair. However, it can’t factor in the value of the victim’s life or the need to compensate their family. The jury is only allowed to consider the severity of the at-fault party’s actions. Members have to focus on the need to punish the wrongdoer. They can also consider how wealthy the wrongdoer was when they calculate the award.

Other Important Facts to Note

It is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your loved one dies. In most cases, you must file your claim within two years of their death. In some circumstances, you may need to act even more quickly. If your claim is against a city or county, you may have to file a notice of claim in a shorter period. If you don’t comply with the time limits, you may not be able to recover damages. The sooner you can file your case, the better your chances of getting full compensation.

If the deceased filed a personal injury lawsuit while they were alive, you may have an advantage. Evidence of pain and suffering isn’t admissible in a wrongful death case. However, if your relative died while the lawsuit was pending, the personal injury case can become a wrongful death case. Evidence of the victim’s pain and suffering will be considered under these circumstances.

Contact The Vance Law Firm for Help With Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama

If you’ve lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, you deserve to get compensation. Even though Alabama’s laws are different from those of other states, relatives can still recover damages. However, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer in Montgomery, AL as soon as you can. Your lawyer will ascertain that you have the right to file a lawsuit and guide you through the entire process.

It’s virtually impossible to handle a wrongful death lawsuit on your own so it’s best to call The Vance Law Firm. We will treat you with the compassion you deserve while fighting for your rights in court. All you need to do is contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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