If a loved one died due to someone else’s negligence in Alabama, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Certain rules specific to Alabama apply to these types of claims. Here are the top things to know about filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama.
What You Need to Know about Wrongful Death Claims in AL
1 – Only a Personal Representative Can File
Only the personal representative of a deceased person can bring a wrongful death claim. A personal representative is a person appointed by a probate court to handle the estate of that person after his or her death. If a deceased person does not have a will, then the court will appoint a personal representative for you according to the rules of intestacy.
In a wrongful death case, the personal representative is typically the executor of the estate of the deceased person. However, if the deceased person is survived by more than one executor, then all his or her personal representatives can bring a wrongful death claim.
2 – Not All Deaths Can Be Considered “Wrongful”
Not all deaths may be considered wrongful in Alabama. People usually file wrongful death claims when the death occurs due to someone else’s misconduct or mistake.
Examples of wrongful death include:
An automobile accident
Violation of health laws
A professional’s malpractice
However, there are some types of deaths that may not be considered wrongful deaths. For example, a decedent’s own negligence does not amount to wrongful death. Also, if you died because of advanced age, then your death cannot be considered wrongful.
3 – You Have a Limited Time to Act
Alabama only allows a wrongful death claim to be made within two years from the date of the death. Thus, you will want to act quickly to file a claim. Fortunately, you can use the statute of limitations for the type of case that you are filing if the two-year statute is not met.
Thus, if you choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to act quickly so that you don’t miss the statute of limitations.
4 – One Can Only Recover Punitive Damages
If you win a wrongful death claim in Alabama, you may be able to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are damages to cover a decedent’s loss of future income and support. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the defendant for the wrong. In Alabama, a wrongful death claim may only allow for punitive damages.
5 – Hiring the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer Is a Must
For you to win a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that the defendant acted with malice, intent, or reckless disregard. The Alabama wrongful death attorneys of MHM Firm have the knowledge, resources, and skill to fight for your rights in court.
Alabama wrongful death laws are complex. However, if you feel that your loved one is a victim of wrongful death, you should contact a wrongful death attorney so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Should you be in need of a wrongful death attorney in Birmingham, AL, come to MHM Firm. The lawyers of McCallum, Hoaglund & McCallum, LLP bring more than 75 years of experience to the practice of law. From our office in Birmingham, Alabama, we passionately seek justice for our clients in state and federal courts in areas ranging from complex business litigation, medical malpractice defense, insurance defense and products liability to commercial litigation, construction law, securities and contracts litigation, employment litigation, and more.