When someone causes the death of another person in Alabama either accidently or intentionally, that person’s estate can pursue a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are high value cases because the loss of a life is the ultimate damage. Know matter how much money the liable party may possess, there is no way to fairly compensate someone for the loss of a loved one.
A wrongful death claim in Alabama is brought pursuant to Alabama Code § 6-5-410. The state of Alabama defines a wrongful death as one that is caused by a “wrongful act, omission or negligence of another.” Alabama wrongful death law is unique and different from other states in the country for one important reason. Forty-nine states allow family members to be awarded compensatory damages in wrongful death cases. Alabama does not allow compensatory damages, only punitive damages.
If a family member has died due to the wrongful act or neglect of another, it is important to find a reputable and well-established Alabama law firm with an exceptional reputation for handling wrongful death cases. Attorney Randy W. Ferguson is your best resource to ensure you are being protected and that your family is being compensated for your loved ones death. Our wrongful death attorneys have been the preferred wrongful death attorneys in north Alabama since 1993. If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’ negligence in Decatur, Huntsville, Birmingham or north Alabama, call now. We offer no obligation, FREE CONSULTATIONS. We also have a LOWEST FEE GUARANTEE. Home and hospital visits are available if you are unable to come to our Huntsville or Decatur office. Call 256-534-3435 or 1-800-752-1998. We can help.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Alabama
The state of Alabama defines a wrongful death as one that is caused by a “wrongful act, omission or negligence of another.” The most common causes of wrongful death includes the following:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boat accidents(drownings)
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents(falls, electrocutions, crush injuries)
- Intentional acts(murder)
- Drunk driving accidents
- Planes,hot air balloons, helicopters
- Train accidents
- Bus accidents
- Food poisonings(e-coli etc.)
- Defective products(drugs, machinery, medical devices)
- Pharmacy errors
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect
- Dog attacks
- Slip and falls
- Amusement park accidents
- Taxi accidents
- Work injuries(non-workers compensation)
Personal Representative Must be Appointed
In Alabama, a family member cannot just file suit to recover for the wrongful death of a relative. The proper party to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama is the administrator of the decedent’s estate. This means that, in order to bring a wrongful death claim in Alabama, an estate must be set up. The party requesting to be appointed by the probate court as the administrator must be bonded and must follow certain rules as the administrator of the estate. The administrator must keep meticulous financial records and must provide the probate court with receipts, bank records and a financial accounting in the case. The administrator does not get to keep the money received from any wrongful death case. All money must be turned over to the proper heirs at law in the case.
Alabama Wrongful Death Statute of Limitation
Alabama’s “statute of limitations” sets a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama. Wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the date of death. Even though two years seems like a long time, it can go by fast when you are having to get a personal representative appointed to file the case.
The damages allowed in Alabama for wrongful death have been debated and questioned for many years. In many states you can recover for pain and suffering and lost wages. Under Alabama law, damages in wrongful death lawsuits are punitive only, and imposed for the preservation of human life and to deter similar wrongful conduct. Under the Alabama wrongful death law punitive damages are more designed to punish the defendant and deter similar future negligence than it is to compensate the specific needs of the survivors. No consideration is given whatsoever to the future earnings capacity lost by the family of the victim of the wrongful death. Since the law in Alabama only allows for punitive damages, you cannot recover for medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Any damages recovered under Alabama’s wrongful death statute passes outside of the estate and are not subject to the payment of debts or liabilities of the decedent. Therefore, any creditors of the estate cannot touch the money received in the wrongful death case, including hospitals.
Workers Compensation Deaths in Alabama
Workers compensation death claims are very complicated and are different than a third party wrongful death case. In workers compensation death claims, the dependent(s) of the deceased are paid either 50% or two-thirds of the weekly earnings depending on how many dependents the deceased had at the time of his death. Benefits are paid for 500 weeks or cease upon remarriage or death of the dependent. Further, a burial expense is also paid to the dependents. If the deceased had no dependents, their estate receives a one-time ridiculous $7,500.00 payment.
Free Wrongful Death Consultation
At the law firm of Ferguson & Ferguson, we are always available to review your wrongful death case and analyze the facts of your potential claim, with no obligation. Call us in Decatur or Huntsville, Alabama today to see how we can help you obtain justice and get you compensation for your loss. We are available day or night to discuss your case and answer your wrongful death questions. Wrongful death consultations are always free, and if we represent you, we will not charge legal fees unless we win your case. If you have lost a loved one, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss your case. Call us in Huntsville or Decatur, Alabama now. Call 1-800-752-1998 or 256-534-3434. We can help.
Huntsville Office Location:
303 Williams Avenue SW
Huntsville, AL 35801
Decatur Office Location:
401 Lee Street, Suite 607A
Decatur, AL 35601