Wrongful Death

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA ATTORNEYS SPECIALIZING IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASES

Wrongful death is “the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of any person… whereby the death of the testator or intestate was caused.”

 

Simply put if you believe another person(s) or business may have been responsible for the death of a loved one because of their actions or failure to act, the estate of your loved one may have a wrongful death claim.

 

Who can bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Alabama?

The statute provides that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. What this means is that prior to filing any wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama, an estate in the name of the deceased generally must be established. However, it is not required that the deceased have a will in place at the time of their death to establish an estate. An estate can be set up for almost any deceased person, regardless if they had a will or not. Once an estate is set up in the name of the deceased, the personal representative of the estate will have the legal right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama.

 

What Damages can be Received?

Another feature of the wrongful death statute in Alabama is that only punitive damages may be recovered. In some states, plaintiffs are able to recover for costs such as funeral expenses, medical bills from the injuries that led to the death, damages for pain and suffering, and more. These types of damages are commonly referred to as compensatory damages. Punitive damages have a twofold purpose. First, they are imposed upon a defendant in order to punish the defendant’s conduct, i.e. for causing the death of another person. The second purpose of punitive damages is to deter the defendant from engaging in similar conduct in the future.