Huntsville Wrongful Death Attorney
When a loved one dies unexpectedly, the grief and loss is painful. When that death occurred due to someone’s negligence, Alabama law allows for the pursuit of a wrongful death claim against that person or entity.
While nothing can replace the loss that you have suffered, many families feel a great sense of closure just from having someone admit that what happened to their loved one was wrong and should not have occurred. Pursuing a wrongful death claim is often more about seeking justice for your loved one than about any monetary compensation you may receive. Contact the Huntsville wrongful death lawyers at Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod to see how we can help.
Causes of Wrongful Death
Alabama law defines wrongful death as a death caused by the “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another. It is important to note that a wrongful death may be caused not only by a wrongful act someone committed, but also by omitting to do something that could have prevented the death. For instance, if a dog owner failed to properly control their animal and the attack resulted in someone’s death, their failure to prevent the attack may be a cause for a wrongful death suit.
Other common causes of wrongful deaths include:
- Car Accidents
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
- Medical Malpractice Errors
- Truck Accidents
- Premises Accidents Including Slip and Fall Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Intentional and Criminal Acts
Any act of negligence that results in the death of your loved one may be a cause for a wrongful death suit.
Alabama Wrongful Death Laws
Alabama laws are unique in the country concerning wrongful death. The first notable difference in Alabama wrongful death suits is who may file a suit. In Alabama, it is not family members per se who file a wrongful death suit, but the representative for the estate. In cases where the deceased left a will designating an executor after their death, that person may be appointed as the estate’s personal representative. In cases where the deceased did not leave a will, a family member can petition the probate court to become the estate’s personal representative.
Another unique feature of Alabama wrongful death laws is that only punitive damages may be sought in a wrongful death suit. Where many other states allow for compensation of funeral expenses, lost support from the deceased, and medical expenses, Alabama law focuses on deterring the same wrongful conduct in the future and punishing the person who caused the untimely death. Any damages awarded are paid directly to the estate of the deceased rather than to their immediate family members.
Alabama law does provide for wrongful death cases even in situations where the accused has not been convicted of a criminal charge in the deceased’s death, or may even have been acquitted of criminal charges. The civil suit is separate from any potential criminal charges and proceeds independently.
How to Proceed
In most cases, it is best to engage the services of an attorney in pursuing a wrongful death claim. An attorney can work to preserve evidence in a case where the authorities are not pursuing criminal charges. An attorney can also bring out the facts of the case by engaging expert witnesses, obtaining depositions, and demonstrating that the death was caused by the negligence of the person or entity in question. Your family deserves compensation for your loss, and protecting your interests is the job of your attorney. The personal injury lawyers at Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod are here to help. Contact us today.