Wrongful Death Attorneys Fighting Back After a Loss in Alabama
Losing someone close to you is always difficult, and the pain can only be made harder if there is someone to blame. Pursuing a case of wrongful death may not bring back the person you have lost, but it can generate a sense of justice and provide financial stability and security for those who are left behind.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to legislation, a wrongful death case may be brought forward in the following circumstances:
“A personal representative may commence an action and recover such damages as the jury may assess in a court of competent jurisdiction within the State of Alabama where provided for in subsection (e), and not elsewhere, for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of any person, persons, or corporation, his or her or their servants or agents, whereby the death of the testator or intestate was caused, provided the testator or intestate could have commenced an action for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence if it had not caused death.”
In short, if the death of a person was caused by the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of the third party, the family or representative of the estate may be able to claim for wrongful death.
What Could Cause a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death has the potential to arise out of a range of situations, and these can include:
- A Faulty or Defective Product: any product intended to be sold to the public must undergo and pass a series of rigorous checks. In the event that a member of the public is injured or killed by a faulty product, there may be a case to pursue damages from the manufacturer or the seller of the item.
- Medical Malpractice: medical malpractice lawsuits are sadly all too common and may take a number of forms:incorrect treatment or delaying treatment, hospital negligence, errors in surgery, pharmaceutical errors, misdiagnosis,defective medical devices or equipment, defective medication, birth injuries, or lack of informed consent.If it can be proven that any of these actions caused the wrongful death of the victim, the hospital and medical practitioners may be liable.
- Unsafe Working Environment: 2018 saw 89 workplace fatalities in Alabama alone, unfortunately making it a common cause of wrongful death. The construction industry is the largest culprit when it comes to wrongful death caused by an unsafe working environment, but even an office could be found liable if there are dangerous stairwells or other potential hazards that result in the wrongful death of the victim.
- Auto Accidents: with 2018 seeing a traffic crash reported every 197 seconds in Alabama, it may be no surprise that auto accidents are responsible for many wrongful death cases in the state each year. In the event that you can prove that the actions, negligence or reckless behavior of the other driver caused the crash and subsequent death, you may be able to pursue them for damages.
How Long Do I Have?
If you believe that you have a case for wrongful death, the statute of limitations offers two years from the date of the accident for the individual to file a lawsuit against the wrongdoer. This can be done by a representative of the estate of the deceased, as long as the details of the case acknowledge that the deceased would have had grounds to pursue their own personal injury claim had they survived.
What Can I Claim?
Unlike other states which allow compensation to be claimed for medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial costs, Alabama only allows for the collection of punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, these are costs awarded “over and above special and general damages to punish a losing party for willful or malicious misconduct.”
In short, the ultimate goal is to punish the guilty party for their negligence or misconduct and to deter them from ever acting in this way again. The focus is on the punishment of the guilty party rather than helping the victim or dependents left behind. Any damages which are paid will be made out directly to the heir of the deceased.
What Are Your Next Steps?
If you believe that you may have a legitimate case for a wrongful death, contact Pharr & Associates Injury Attorneys today. Our experienced team has assisted individuals across Alabama, and we will strive to ensure you receive the justice you deserve.