You shouldn’t have to worry about complicated wrongful death laws and procedures when you are mourning a loved one. However, Alabama’s unique approach to wrongful death law can easily overwhelm a grieving family. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight alone.
The lawyers at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys guide families through the difficult process of opening an estate, filing a claim on behalf of their loved one, and demanding money damages against the wrongdoer to punish and deter the wrongdoer (and others similarly situated) from committing similar wrongs in the future. At every step, we are equally aggressive and compassionate. Here are a few key facts to keep in mind if you are considering filing a wrongful death claim in Alabama.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Alabama defines wrongful death as a fatality resulting from another’s misconduct, omission, or negligence. Wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the deceased person, not the surviving family members. These are civil claims and can be filed regardless of whether a prosecutor pursues criminal charges against the negligent party.
How Do I File a Wrongful Death Claim in Alabama?
You cannot automatically file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one. First, you’ll need to open an estate for the deceased.
To open an estate, you’ll need to submit a series of documents with the probate court and appoint a personal representative for your loved one. The personal representative is the only person who can file your loved one’s wrongful death claim.
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Keep in mind, Alabama’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is usually two years from the victim’s death. Due to the unique and exceedingly complicated nature of Alabama wrongful death claims, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to start the process of creating an estate and filing your claim.
How Much Is My Loved One’s Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Compared to other states, wrongful death compensation in Alabama is very different.
You Can Only Recover Punitive Damages
In most states, wrongful death claims award compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. Lawyers refer to these payments as compensatory damages, since they reimburse victims for their economic and non-economic losses.
However, the estate can only demand punitive damages in an Alabama wrongful death claim. Rather than serving to compensate for losses experienced by the victim and family, punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party and discourage similar behavior. This means that the amount of compensation awarded depends not on your loved one’s losses, but the severity of the wrongdoing.
Alabama Inheritance Laws Trumps Any Existing Will in Wrongful Death Cases
Alabama is also unique in that it applies the state’s inheritance laws in all wrongful death claims. Wrongful death compensation will be distributed according to the state’s inheritance laws, even if your loved one had a will. This means that a beloved long-term partner or friend cannot receive wrongful death damages in Alabama.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys | Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you’re struggling with the unexpected loss of a loved one, it’s time to call Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys. We pride ourselves on our client-focused approach to wrongful death claims and strive to get our clients much-needed closure and time to grieve.
With decades of collective experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases, our lawyers will want to help you receive the compensation you deserve while working to make Alabama a safer place to live. Call 251-888-8888 today or contact us online for your free consultation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.