Chatom, Alabama Wrongful Death Attorneys
While most people expect that there will come a point in their lives where elderly parents or grandparents will pass, no one plans to lose a loved one in an untimely death. Particularly shocking is losing a loved one in a tragic and preventable accident that happens suddenly and without warning. If you have lost a family member in an accident, you may have a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
At Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley, P.A., our experienced Chatom wrongful death lawyers are available to review your case, provide you with an overview of your options, and represent you should you decide to pursue a claim. Please call us directly for information specific to your case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action that may be brought after an individual dies because of the negligence or other wrongful conduct of another person or party.
Wrongful death claims often arise out of the following accident types:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents;
- Defective product cases;
- Boating accidents; and
- Premises liability accidents.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The law in Alabama regarding wrongful death claims is unique in a couple of ways, one of those ways being that only the personal representative of the decedent has standing to bring a wrongful death claim.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
The other way that the law in Alabama is unique and stands in contrast to wrongful death laws in most other states is the types of damages that are recoverable. In most other states, compensatory damages–such as compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the lost wages of the decedent, and loss of companionship and guidance–can be recovered. In Alabama, however, only punitive damages may be sought in a wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages are not designed to compensate a plaintiff, but rather are intended to punish a defendant for their wrongful actions, as well as deter other parties from engaging in similar conduct.
Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Claim
The law is clear about when a wrongful death action must be commenced: an action for wrongful death must be filed within two years from the date of death of the victim. Note that this time limit is incredibly important because if more than two years pass from the date of death, then the personal representative/the decedent’s estate can be barred from recovering compensation at all. It is very rare for a court to agree to hear a case in which the statute of limitations has passed.
Why You Should Work with a Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one unexpectedly may be one of the most difficult experiences of your life and thinking about commencing a civil action may be far from your mind as you mourn your loss. Because of the statute of limitations, as well as the fact that evidence may be lost if not collected as early as possible, it’s important to initiate the claims process as soon as you can.
Working with a wrongful death attorney may improve the outcome of your case in a number of ways:
- Explain the law and answer your questions. Understanding wrongful death laws, the elements of a wrongful death claim that must be established for a claim to be successful, the types and amounts of damages that you can recover, who can file a wrongful death claim, and how much time you have to file can be confusing and overwhelming. Our attorneys will be available to answer all of your questions and ensure that you understand your rights and options.
- Investigate and build your case. One of the most important roles that an attorney will play in the wrongful death claims process is investigating and building your case to hold the defendant liable and recover compensation. This involves committing time and resources, bringing in experts, and working with other professionals to prove exactly what happened, how the accident occurred, the cause of death, and the defendant’s wrongdoing.
- Review and negotiate a settlement offer. When you are offered a settlement, it may be tempting to accept it because you want the process to be over and you need the money. However, settlement offers are often for far less than your claim is worth because an insurance company knows that you’re looking for a quick end to the process. Our attorneys will negotiate settlements on your behalf to maximize the amount you receive.
- Litigate your case. When a fair settlement cannot be reached, our attorneys have extensive trial experience and will litigate your case.
Call Our Chatom, Alabama Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Our lawyers understand what you’re going through, and we are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. To get the legal help you need in pursuing a wrongful death action, please call us directly at (251) 847-2237. You can meet with us in person or send us a message online with more information about your case.