What is the Alabama Wrongful Death Statute?
In Alabama the Alabama Code §§ 6-5-391 and 6-5-410 state that the personal representative for a deceased's estate may bring an action against an individual or corporation for the wrongful act, omission, or negligence that cause the death of the deceased if the deceased could have brought the action had the incident not caused his death.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death In Alabama
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within the Statute of Limitations. In Alabama, a wrongful death case must be filed within two years of the date of the victim's death. If the personal representative fails to file a lawsuit prior to the Statute of Limitations you lose your right to pursue legal action and recover from the wrongdoer for the death of your loved one.
There are select scenarios where your time to file a lawsuit may be shorter or longer, for that reason you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your wrongful death claim to avoid losing the right to pursue it. These scenarios include, but are not limited to, where the entity to blame for the death of the victim is a government entity. Depending on if it is a City, County or State government entity you would only have 6 or 12 months to provide them with an anti litem notice or you would lose the right to file a lawsuit.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Alabama?
For a deceased minor child the Mother or Father can file a lawsuit on behalf of the child, or a Personal Representative if the Mother or Father do not file within six months. For deceased adults the Personal Representative of the Estate is the one with the power to bring the wrongful death claim in Alabama.
What is a Personal Representative
A Personal Representative is an individual appointed by either the deceased's will or by the Court to be the executor/administrator of the deceased's estate. This is the individual with the power to bring a wrongful death case in Alabama on behalf of the deceased's estate. As a result, as a prerequisite to bringing a wrongful death action, an estate would need to be opened for the deceased and a personal representative appointed. If you have lost a loved one to the wrongful actions or negligence of another, get in touch with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible, and they will be able to assist in getting the estate opened and setting up the claim for the wrongful death action.
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Case
To prove your wrongful death case in Alabama, you will need to show that the person at fault's wrongful actions cased the death of your loved one. Most commonly you will see the cases litigated under the standards of negligence. Negligence has four basic elements: Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and damages.
What Are the Damages for a Wrongful Death Case in Alabama
In Alabama you can only recover punitive damages in a wrongful death action. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their wrongful conduct. It also serves to discourage others from doing the same.
However, unlike a normal action for negligence where the injured party is alive and brings the case themself you cannot recover compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are intended to make the person who was injured "whole" again. These would include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, or other similar types of damages. Instead, because the person has died, in an Alabama wrongful death action the only damages available to the deceased's estate are punitive damages.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful conduct of another and would like to consult an attorney about your case we are here for you.
Suffering with the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one is hard enough without the added stress of pursuing a claim by yourself. Let me and my experienced team take the burden of the lawsuit and evidence collection off your plate. We are a full service firm and will handle every aspect of your case allowing you to grieve and spend time with those that matter most.
We offer free consultations, and those consultations can be done in person, via video conference, or by phone. We will evaluate your case and help you make the right choice for your family.
Contact us by phone or email: