Wrongful Death Common Questions

Wrongful death suits are personal injury claims which are filed by the close family or personal representatives of the victim, the decedent, to recover punitive damages for their loss. Each state has regulations regarding who may recover damages and other factors, and Alabama is no different. Here are some commonly asked questions concerning wrongful death suits.

For other questions regarding wrongful death cases in Alabama, reach out to Glenda Cochran Associates, Attorneys at Law for the legal advice you need.

What is “wrongful death”?
Wrongful death is a death caused by the “wrongful act, omission or negligence” of another where the injuries extend to those dependent upon the deceased for support. Wrongful death claims can be filed for any type of accident, such as car accidents or nursing home abuse, or criminal homicide, separate from a criminal case.

How do wrongful death cases work in Alabama?
In Alabama, families who lose a loved one due to another person’s negligence must pursue punitive damages to provide funds they need to help them move on. These damages are intended to punish the offender in cases where wrongdoing was involved. A Birmingham personal injury attorney will need to convince the jury that the defendant should be punished for their actions. In cases of accidental homicide, the jury may feel that living with the guilt is punishment enough, which is why you need an aggressive attorney representing you.

Who can recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?
Alabama is unique in that the only person who can initiate a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. No family members of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim.

How long do I have to file a wrongful death suit?
The statute of limitations in Alabama for personal injury claims, which includes wrongful death lawsuits, is two years from the date of the death. After this time, no jury will hear your case and no punitive damages can be recovered.