When someone dies as the result of another’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the responsible party in Alabama. In order to successfully pursue compensation for damages, it is important to understand the state laws governing wrongful death claims and the elements that must be proven in order for the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) to prevail at trial.
The basis of any wrongful death claim is provided by section 6-5-410 of the Code of Alabama 1975 which states: “When the death of a person results from an injury caused by a wrongful act or omission of another, his or her personal representative may maintain an action against the wrongdoer therefor.” This means that when someone dies due to negligence or a deliberate act on behalf of another person or entity, then their family may have grounds to pursue legal action against them in civil court. The statute also establishes who is allowed to bring forth such legal action, noting that only certain family members such as parents, siblings, spouses and children are eligible.
In addition, this section stipulates that any compensation received via such a suit must go directly back into the estate of the deceased in order to benefit those who were dependent upon them financially prior to their passing (such as minor children). It is also important for plaintiffs filing these suits within two years from date of death as this is how long they have from when they learn about their rights according to §6-2-38(l) before they will no longer be able to seek compensation.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
For a successful wrongful death claim under §6-5-410 , four primary components must be demonstrated: duty; breach; causation; and damage. Duty refers to establishing that either legally or ethically there was responsibility placed upon one individual towards another which was not fulfilled—as with failing in providing adequate medical care while treating someone else’s injury. Breach speaks towards any behavior which went beyond simply not meeting this responsibility but rather actively going against it—such as if a doctor administered incorrect dosages without adhering firstly towards moral practices laid forth by their profession when prescribing medications.
Causation requires evidence concerning how exactly one’s actions actually led to the victim’s demise—like if it can be demonstrated that an incorrect dosage changed by the physician had deadly consequences instead of proper guidelines being followed beforehand. Finally there must be proof demonstrating some form of physical loss suffered from these events—such as if property had been damaged during treatment gone awry (though most commonly these suits involve losses experienced through fatalities).
If all four elements are established, then typically resulting verdicts will award financial compensation deemed equal with both tangible and intangible harms done—with things like loss wages/benefits plus emotional distress often taken into consideration alongside more overt costs such as burial expenses paid out by family members etc… As this area falls under tort law however full restitution will never materialize even with success since nothing ever truly takes away grief felt after losing someone you love taken so abruptly due someone else’s mistake (or willful wrongdoing).
What Happens After Filing A Claim?
After beginning proceedings under §6-5-410 , your attorney should navigate all related activities needed for gathering evidence & making your case via discovery processes (based on information needed for proving each element mentioned above). Then usually defendants are given 30 days within which they need to respond after being formally served notice documents pertaining to your wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit immediately preceded by having your complaint already submitted around the same time frame to judiciary courts near residence involved parties (which will likely include persons suing too).
During all this time, the Birmingham personal injury attorneys representing both sides shall communicate regularly discuss possible settlement terms avoiding expensive & less predictable trial setting altogether (if an acceptable offer made accepting would result receiving monetary recompense often much sooner than waiting ruling handed down judge/jury decisions). If agreement reached does not occur, mediation sessions often recommended further helping move closer fair resolution beneficial to both individuals involved. The process eventually concludes with an outcome satisfactory to plaintiffs without needing to pass through steps stated previously .
It is expected that many families dealing tragedy brought about wrongful death precedent set forth Section 6–5–410 will benefitted state wide means offering necessary justice recognition serious issue . Hopefully present guidance help those currently situation understand available options provide necessary resources learning tactics navigating system better ensuring receive due compensation deserve following loved one gone suddenly directly fault another .
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!