Birmingham Wrongful Death Lawyer
Experienced Attorneys Providing Families the Legal Support They Need After Fatal Accidents in Birmingham, AL
At the Alabama law offices of Salter Ferguson, LLC, our Birmingham wrongful death attorneys are dedicated to protecting families that have lost loved ones as the result of someone else’s negligence. Taking care of all your legal concerns during this difficult time, we will help you secure the compensation your family deserves, so you can be there for your family when it matters most. t is the last news you ever want to hear. Losing a loved one in a motor vehicle crash, as the result of another’s negligence or in any type of accident is one the most difficult things you and your family will ever go through. In addition to the very real pain you feel, there are also immediate and long-term practical concerns you have to worry about.
Birmingham Wrongful Death Attorneys Offer Compassionate and Experienced Help When the Unexpected Happens
Many people who have lost a loved one unexpectedly know they should seek legal advice, but they are afraid that it is wrong to call a lawyer and pursue a case. Our attorneys are here to help you explore your legal options and answer your questions about personal injury claims. We do not want to make you and your family go through any process that makes you uncomfortable. In fact, we resolve most cases without ever filing a lawsuit or even going to court.
Simply, our goal is not to take advantage of someone else after your misfortune. At the same time, you must consider your family’s financial losses and the long-term consequences. By listening to your concerns and answering your questions, we will help you come to a better understanding of your rights and options so that you can protect your loved ones and begin to move forward.
Punitive Damages Are Allowed in Alabama Wrongful Death Cases
In Alabama, you can receive punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our firm is prepared to handle every aspect of your claim. We have the experience and resources to handle wrongful death claims involving the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Hospital and nurse errors
- Pharmacy errors
- Defective products and drugs
Wrongful Death Claim vs. Survival Action
Alabama legislature defines strict differences between a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action. Section 6-5-462 of the Alabama Code defines a survival action as the right for certain family members to proceed with a contract claim on the decedent’s behalf, whether the deceased person filed one prior to death or not. Family members also have the right to continue personal injury claims the injured person started prior to death.
Survival actions aim to secure compensation for surviving family members’ damages. A wrongful death lawsuit cannot occur until the victim of negligence passes away from his or her injuries. A survival action, on the other hand, gets its roots from lawsuits begun prior to death. The other major difference is in damages. A wrongful death lawsuit can end in compensation for the decedent’s beneficiaries’ losses, such as mental anguish and loss of the loved one’s support.
A survival action focuses on restitution for the losses the decedent suffered prior to death. A survival action aims to bring justice to the decedent by awarding damages he or she could have won if the injuries had not proven fatal. The decedent’s beneficiaries or the estate may receive these damages, but their purpose is to complete a claim the deceased person started prior to death. Unfortunately, Alabama law does not permit a family to make a survival action on a personal injury claim filed after the victim passes away.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
The damages a claimant can receive from a wrongful death case are the money awards he or she may be eligible to obtain. The amount a claimant may secure depends on the type of accident, the defendant’s actions, and the losses the decedent and his or her loved ones suffered. It can also depend on the skill of the negotiating attorney. Although each claim is unique, the types of damages available in an Alabama wrongful death case remain the same.
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses. The courts may award an amount to cover the expenses of the decedent’s funeral and burial, within a reasonable limit.
- Lost wages and lost inheritance. Loss of the deceased person’s wages and the financial support he or she likely could have given surviving family members were it not for the fatal accident.
- Property damages. If the decedent or family suffered any property damages in the incident, they may qualify for an amount to repair or replace the damaged property.
- Intangible losses. The Alabama courts permit families to seek restitution for the intangible, or non-economic damages of wrongful death. These can include physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
- Loss of consortium. Loss of the decedent’s guidance, love, support, companionship, household duties, and care. Typically, spouses and dependent children are the only ones eligible for this type of damage.
The amount a family can recover in a wrongful death claim will depend on the seriousness of the negligence, misconduct, or crime. Some courts may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory ones. Punitive damages aim to punish the defendant for gross negligence. A judge cannot award more than $1,500,000 in punitive damages in a wrongful death claim, according to Alabama law.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
In Alabama, claimants have two years from the date of the deceased person’s death to file a lawsuit. Failure to meet this deadline generally results in loss of the right to file. If the lawsuit is against a government entity, such as the city of Birmingham, the claimant must file a written notice within six months of the date of death. Contact an attorney from Salter Ferguson, LLC as soon as possible after losing a loved one to avoid missing your statute of limitations.
Contact an Experienced Birmingham Wrongful Death Lawyer at Salter Ferguson Today
As with all our personal injury claims, we handle wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency basis. This means you pay no legal fees unless you win. Located in Birmingham, our firm offers evening, weekend and off-site visits in addition to our weekly business hours. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Karen’s handling of my case was both professional and caring. I appreciate how quickly my case was settled. I felt that Karen made my case her first priority even though I’m sure she had many other clients for whom she was working just as hard at the same time. -Lynn Reeves