If your loved one died in a car accident caused by someone else, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. Compensation from a wrongful death claim allows you to hold the at-fault party accountable for their recklessness and provides financial security for you and your family as you mourn.
The idea of filing a legal claim after a family member’s death in a car accident can feel overwhelming. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer at Bence Law Firm, LLC can take the burden off your shoulders. We’ll give you time to grieve by handling all the legal legwork of the case for you. You can rely on us to fight aggressively for justice on your loved one’s behalf. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Top Causes of Fatal Crashes in Alabama
Sadly, most fatal crashes in Alabama are entirely preventable. Some of the most common causes of deadly car accidents in the state include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driver fatigue
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Alabama
Alabama defines wrongful death as a fatality that occurs as a result of a “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” on the part of someone other than the decedent. To successfully bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to demonstrate the defendant’s liability—that is, their legal responsibility—for the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death.
In Alabama, the only person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is the estate’s representative, or the executor. There is a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. Fail to file before the time limit expires, and you could lose your right to compensation forever.
What Are My Rights After a Fatal Car Accident?
After losing a family member in a fatal car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. If you are the estate’s executor, you (or your wrongful death attorney) can file the claim yourself. Otherwise, whoever is named as the executor must file suit.
In most states, plaintiffs in wrongful death cases can seek damages for financial and non-financial losses resulting from an accident. These losses could include medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. But not so in Alabama.
In Alabama, a wrongful death lawsuit can only seek punitive damages, which serve to punish the responsible party for their wrongdoing rather than compensate the surviving relatives for the specific losses they suffered. Alabama also places no cap on the compensation you could seek through the lawsuit. The focus is more on punishing the negligent party for their actions rather than reimbursing family members for their accident-related losses.
Contributory Negligence to Negligent Homicide
To prevail in a wrongful death case in Alabama, claimants must prove that the deceased did not contribute to the accident in any way. The state’s harsh contributory negligence law says that if an individual was even one percent at fault for the accident that led to their death, their claim could be thrown out entirely. This is one of the most important reasons to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer. A fatal car accident lawyer knows what evidence is necessary to prove the other party’s fault, which can prevent deserving family members collect the money they deserve.
A motorist who causes the death of another person through carelessness or recklessness could also be charged with negligent homicide. To secure a conviction, a prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in dangerous behavior that any reasonable person would have recognized as a gross deviation from their ordinary duty of care. However, criminal charges are not required in order to file a wrongful death claim.
Talk To a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in Alabama
Don’t wait to talk to a wrongful death lawyer if you lost a relative in a fatal car accident in Alabama. At Bence Law Firm, LLC, we will push for the punitive damages you are entitled to after such a tragic loss. Find out more about how we can help in a free consultation. Call us today.