Wrongful death is a civil action in which the negligence of the at-fault party causes the unintentional death of another. Wrongful death may also be a criminal action where the misconduct of the at-fault party was intended to harm another. Civil wrongful death lawsuits regarding misconduct typically follow after the criminal trial, and the person found liable for wrongful death may or may not have been convicted of a crime during the criminal trial. Let’s take a look at a few facts and what you should know.
A wrongful death lawsuit may only be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. What this means is the family of the deceased is not entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. Rather, only the personal representative of the deceased can initiate the claim; however, there is no law preventing a family member from being named as a personal representative. It is also important to note that the at-fault party could be a person(s) or entity responsible for the death.
There are a number of wrongful death scenarios, but here are a few circumstances in which they may arise:
- Automobile, airplane, train, truck, and bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice that results in death
- Products liability where the death results from a faulty design, defective manufacturing process, or failure to warn (this can include pharmaceutical drug manufacturers)
- Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
- Death during an on-the-job supervised activity
- Criminal behavior – such as murder
Alabama law allows the estate representative to sue for punitive damages as a means to punish the at-fault person or entity responsible for the death caused and to send a message to others that such actions will not be tolerated. Keep in mind the statute of limitations is usually two years from the time the incident occurred.
If your loved one has died as a result of someone else’s negligence, we are here to help get the justice you deserve. Our Birmingham, AL personal injury firm can analyze your case.
If you believe you have suffered as a result of someone else’s actions, contact us, Lewis and Feldman, at (205) 254-6060 or toll-free at (888) 295-7409 for a free, no-risk consultation about your injuries.
No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
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