Losing a loved one is always devastating, and the family of the victim
will undoubtedly face many challenges. If the death is caused by the actions
of someone else, compensation may be available to the family for that
negligence or misconduct of the other party. While money could never fully
compensate you for your loss, filing a lawsuit for wrongful death is at
least one step you can take toward recovering for the injury and damage caused.
Defining the term “wrongful death”
In legal terms, "wrongful death" occurs when someone suffers
personal injuries that ultimately result in death. Those injuries are
the result of the negligence or reckless conduct of someone else. Typically,
the surviving dependents or beneficiaries of the deceased will be entitled
to compensation for their losses, as opposed to the physical injury, pain
and suffering of the victim. Every state has its own laws regarding wrongful
death claims, which spell out the type of proof required for the claim,
as well as the types of damages that are allowed.
Wrongful Death in Alabama
Under Alabama law, "wrongful death is defined as a death caused by
the "wrongful act, omission, or negligence" of someone else.
The Code of Alabama §6-5-410 provides that the estate of a deceased
person may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a party that caused
the death, as long as the deceased person could have brought a personal
injury claim, had he or she lived.
Who has standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama?
Unlike many states, only the personal representative of the deceased's
estate is allowed to bring the wrongful death case, and all of the damages
awarded in that case must be paid to the estate. Alabama only allows punitive
damages in wrongful death cases, which must be paid directly to the heirs
of the deceased person, not to the estate.
If you have questions regarding wrongful death or any other personal injury matter,
contact us online or by calling the Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.