Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney Counseling Jasper and North Alabama Families
Think of wrongful death as a personal injury claim in which the injured person is incapable of filing suit for financial compensation. Instead, the family of the decedent steps in to seek compensation on behalf of the person who died.
A Wrongful Death Case is Not a Criminal Case
A wrongful death case differs from a criminal case in that it is a civil claim brought forth by a private party. A criminal case, on the other hand, is filed by the state of Alabama against a certain person and/or entity. Furthermore, liability in a civil case is expressed only in terms of monetary damages, whereas guilt in a criminal case may be punished by imprisonment, fines and/or other penalties.
Statute of Limitations
If you’d like to file a wrongful death suit in the state of Alabama, you must do so within two years of the date of the death. Since circumstances may change during this timeframe, it is highly recommended that you consult an experienced wrongful death attorney who can help you and your family determine the best way to move forward.
Despite the fact that many U.S. states allow for compensatory damages in wrongful death cases to cover the costs of funeral expenditures, medical bills and various other expenses, the state of Alabama only allows you to sue for punitive damages. Put another way, Alabama focuses almost entirely on the wrongdoing of the defendant, not the loss of the decedent’s life and/or related damages.
Why File Suit?
Alabama’s laws regarding wrongful death are intended to punish the defendant who is found negligent, and to deter similar negligence/misconduct by others. In Alabama, any and all damages awarded in a wrongful death case are paid directly to the decedent’s heirs. In other words, the damages are not made part of the estate.