If a family member has passed away due to the conduct of another, you may be entitled to damages through the civil justice system. The Alabama wrongful death attorneys at Cross & Smith will work tirelessly to obtain justice for the family of the deceased individual.
A wrongful death claim is a claim made for damages by close family members or the personal representative of the deceased person. The claim can be made against any individual or entity that contributed to causing the death, whether the conduct was negligent, reckless, or even intentional. Wrongful death claims cover a wide range of conduct, from shootings and fights, to car and truck accidents, scaffolding falls to medical malpractice. A wrongful death case is separate from any criminal prosecution the government may pursue against a wrongdoer.
Wrongful death claims are handled in a unique manner in Alabama. In other states, the wrongful death action is intended to compensate the family of the deceased for the harm they have suffered, such as loss of earnings the deceased would have brought in, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses. Alabama’s wrongful death law does not allow compensation for injuries, but instead only allows punitive damages. This reflects a policy determination that no amount of money can truly compensate for the value of a human life.
Instead of focusing on the victim and the loss to the family, Alabama law focuses on the defendant’s conduct. The purpose of the punitive damages is to punish the defendant for the conduct, and to deter similar conduct from ever happening again – by that individual, or anyone else. Damages are awarded for the preservation of human life. In this manner, the Alabama approach to wrongful death encourages careful conduct and valuing all human life. In other states, wrongful death damages depend upon the character, family relationships, and income history of the deceased, but in Alabama all victims are treated equally because the law focuses on the defendant’s conduct.
In every wrongful death case, of course, liability of the defendant must be proven. Once liability is demonstrated, the jury must determine the amount of money necessary to punish and deter the defendant and for the preservation of human life. In some cases more than one defendant may have contributed to the death, and these defendants may be held jointly and severally liable.
The accidental death of a family member is a tragic event, and no amount of money can compensate for the loss. Damages can, however, provide a measure of justice. Presenting your claim requires empathy and understanding. It also requires diligence and an aggressive approach, as wrongful death cases are often highly contested by defendants. It is also important to retain an attorney with significant experience with the intricacies of Alabama wrongful death law.
The attorneys at Cross & Smith are experienced Alabama wrongful death attorneys. We understand how difficult dealing with the death of a family member can be, and we will guide you through every step of the process of your wrongful death claim. If a family member has passed away due to the conduct of another, call our office today at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.
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