Wrongful death cases are governed by the Alabama wrongful death statute codified at Alabama Code Section 6-5-410 (1975). In Alabama, the Alabama courts have interpreted the law to allow only for the imposition of punitive damages, and deny the recovery of compensatory damages. Therefore, you are unable to recover for your medical and hospital costs, your pain and suffering, your loss of wages and lost earnings capacity along with other damages that may arise. You have no more than two years from the date of death of the testator or intestate.
Here, in its entirety, is the Alabama Wrongful Death Statute:
(a) 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, and not elsewhere, for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence of any person, persons, or corporation, his or their servants or agents, whereby the death of his testator or intestate was caused, provided the testator or intestate could have commenced an action for such wrongful act, omission, or negligence if it had not caused death.
(b) Such action shall not abate by the death of the defendant, but may be revived against his personal representative and may be maintained though there has not been prosecution, conviction or acquittal of the defendant for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence.
(c) The damages recovered are not subject to the payment of the debts or liabilities of the testator or intestate, but must be distributed according to the statute of distributions.
(d) Such action must be commenced within two years from and after the death of the testator or intestate.
Here, in its entirety, is the jury charge delivered to all Alabama juries in cases of Wrongful Death:
In a suit brought for a wrongful act, omission, or negligence causing death the damages recoverable are punitive and not compensatory. Damages in this type of action are entirely punitive, imposed for the preservation of human life and as a deterrent to others to prevent similar wrongs. The amount of damages should be directly related to the amount of wrongdoing on the part of the defendant(s). In assessing damages you are not to consider the (pecuniary)(monetary) value of the life of the decedent, for damages in this type of action are not recoverable to compensate the family of the deceased from a (pecuniary)(monetary) standpoint on account of (his)(her) death, nor to compensate the plaintiff for any financial or pecuniary loss sustained by (him)(her) or the family of the deceased on account of (his)(her) death.
Your verdict should not be based on sympathy, prejudice, passion or bias, but should be directly related to the culpability of the defendant(s) and necessity of preventing similar wrongs in the future.
Ferguson & Ferguson Law Offices have successfully handled wrongful death cases for over (20) twenty years. In most cases, claims are negotiated with insurance companies and are favorably settled by the Ferguson & Ferguson Law Offices, with the client’s approval and consent, without you having to go to court. Also, most insurance companies will not raise your insurance rates when it has been determined that the accident is not your fault. Remember that insurance companies have professional adjusters and attorneys working to represent their interests and to save the insurance company money. Make sure that you are not dealing with the insurance company at an unfair advantage. The Ferguson & Ferguson Law Offices offers a no obligation free initial consultation to discuss your claim. We handle case in Huntsville, Decatur and Cullman, Alabama. We also handle injury claims in Tennessee, Georgia and all parts of the southeast. Call us now. Call 256-534-3435 or 1-800-752-1998.
This information on wrongful death has been provided by the attorneys at Ferguson & Ferguson Law Offices. If you have not yet retained an attorney, you can be directly connected with an attorney to discuss your rights by calling the telephone number above or by using the email link below. Ferguson & Ferguson Law Offices are located at 303 Williams Avenue, Suite 321 , Huntsville , Alabama 35801 and 401 Lee Street, Suite 607A , Decatur , Alabama 35601.Because laws vary from State to State, and every situation is different, this information is provided only as a general guideline and does not replace the advice of an attorney. It would be wise to consult with an attorney who has experience in handling personal injury cases. You may contact my office at (256)534-3435, 1-800-752-1998 or fax us at (256)534-4339. If you don’t ask me for legal advice, please ask someone else. We are here to help.