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What is wrongful death in Alabama?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | Personal Injury

Any death in your family is a tragedy, even if your loved one had a good life and died at an old age. However, death is even more tragic if someone could have prevented an unexpected fatality. If another person’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you might want to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What is wrongful death?

In legal terms, wrongful death is a death that someone caused indirectly through their own negligence. They weren’t necessarily trying to harm anyone, but their actions led to the death of your loved one. For example, if someone killed your loved one in a car accident, you could launch a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.

Some states allow family members to file wrongful death lawsuits. In the state of Alabama, only the executor of the decedent’s estate can file a lawsuit. This might be you if your loved one named you to be the executor in their will. If they didn’t leave a will behind, a judge could appoint you to be the executor of the estate.

As the executor, you could sue the responsible person for punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically a large sum of money that’s intended to punish the defendant and prevent other people from making the same mistakes. If you win the lawsuit, the decedent’s heirs will receive the damages. You only have two years to file a lawsuit, so make sure you hire a personal injury attorney within that time frame.

Was your loved one a victim of wrongful death?

Car accidents often result in wrongful death lawsuits, but your loved one might have also been the victim of a defective product or nursing home abuse. Whatever the case, the executor of their estate has the right to hold the responsible parties accountable.

If you’re the executor of your loved one’s estate, you might want to talk to an attorney about filing a lawsuit. You may be able to sue the other party for punitive damages and collect a cash settlement that helps your loved one’s heirs move on with their lives.