Wrongful Death Attorneys in Mobile, Alabama
Regardless of how it happens, dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. When a death occurs as the result of another’s negligence, leaving your loved one with fatal injuries well before their natural time of death, the experience can be even more difficult to cope with.
When a fatal accident happens that would not have occurred but for the wrongful actions of another party, the estate of the decedent has the right to the right to file a wrongful death claim for damages. At the law office of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our experienced wrongful death lawyers in Mobile understand the grief and anger you are experiencing, and we are here to guide you through the process of seeking justice and compensation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death action is a type of civil suit that is filed when the death of a person occurs as the result of the wrongful act or neglect of another party. Because wrongful death claims are civil cases and do not assign criminal responsibility to the at-fault party, a wrongful death claim will not lead to criminal consequences, such as prison time. However, a wrongful death claim can yield monetary compensation for surviving family members and the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Damages Available in an Alabama Wrongful Death Action
Most states allow family members and beneficiaries of a victim of wrongful death to file a civil action for the purpose of seeking compensatory damages – that is, damages that are designed to compensate surviving family members for their loss of income, medical expenses incurred prior to the decedent’s death, loss of companionship and guidance, and value of pain and suffering. But Alabama does not follow this system; instead of allowing for compensatory damages to be collected in a wrongful death action, in our state, only punitive damages may be sought.
Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are damages that are designed to punish a defendant for their wrongful act. In typical negligence cases, exemplary damages are only available when the defendant causes the plaintiff harm as a result of intentional malice, deceit, or fraud.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Suit in Alabama?
A wrongful death suit, as found in Alabama Code Section 6-5-410, must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent. Typically, this person is named in the deceased’s will; if no representative is named, the court may assign one.
While the personal representative is the party who must bring forth the wrongful death action, the action is brought for the purpose of recovering punitive damages for beneficiaries, such as the decedent’s surviving spouse or children, and damages recovered are paid directly to beneficiaries rather than the estate.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Action in Alabama?
Like other personal injury claims in Alabama, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate only has two years from the time of death (not the time of the accident the led to the death). If more than two years from the time of death elapse, the personal representative will likely be barred by the court from seeking damages.
Is There Any Way to Recover Compensatory Damages Via a Wrongful Death Action?
It may seem unfair that those who pursue a wrongful death action may only seek damages to punish the defendant rather than compensate a family for their actual economic and non economic losses. However, there is one situation in which a family may be entitled to such damages: in the event that a survival action exists.
A survival action refers to a type of personal injury action that was filed by the decedent prior to death as a standard personal injury claim, and that survives post-death. Our lawyers are also experienced in survival action claims, and can assist you if your loved one started a personal injury claim after suffering a serious injury, but died as a result of that injury before the claim was settled.
How Our Alabama Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
Our lawyers at the office of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. understand how devastating the wrongful death of a family member can be, and how frustrating it can be to navigate the legal process and understand the accompanying statutes. Our lawyers can assist you by gathering evidence that proves:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care;
- The defendant breached the duty of care owed to your loved one via an act of omission, negligence, or another wrongful act; and
- The wrongful act, omission, or negligence was the proximate cause of your loved one’s death.
In addition to gathering evidence to prove the above, we also assist you by handling all of the legal elements of your claim, managing all conversations with interested and relevant parties, organizing all documents related to your claim, issuing a demand letter to an insurer, reviewing a settlement offer, rejecting a settlement and issuing a counter-demand, negotiating your settlement, and much more. You can also take comfort in the fact that our law firm has lawyers with years of trial experience behind them, and who are not intimidated by the prospect of litigation.
Our law firm has the resources necessary to fully delve into your case and do what it takes to improve your chances of recovering your maximum settlement award or obtaining a jury verdict in your favor. We have recovered millions of dollars on the behalf of our clients, and have more than 100 years’ worth of combined legal experience.
Seek Justice after Losing a Loved One to Another’s Negligence
There is nothing that can fully compensate you after you have lost a loved one. And while filing a wrongful death claim may feel unnecessary or even burdensome, doing so can yield just financial compensation and a sense of closure.
Our compassionate Alabama wrongful death lawyers empathize with you and offer you our deepest sympathies. We are passionate about representing families who have lost loved ones as a result of other parties’ fault, and want to work with you to help you recover the settlement you deserve. For a free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers in Alabama, please call our law firm today at 800-574-4332, send us a message, or visit our Mobile office in person.