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It can be absolutely devastating to a family to unexpectedly lose a loved one when the incident could have been avoided had the other party taken more careful precautions. Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed as a result of the negligence or wanton act of another. Alabama’s wrongful death statute is different from every other state’s wrongful death action as more fully explained below.

Some of the more common examples of wrongful death cases may include but are not limited to:

  • Aviation accident
  • 18-wheeler accident
  • Car accident
  • Birth injury
  • Construction site accident
  • Defective product
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Nursing home abuse
  • A slip and fall accident


Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on behalf of the members of the family who have lost the support and companionship of a loved one. Therefore, a child, wife or husband may be able to recover damages for both support and companionship. However, before a lawsuit can be filed, an estate MUST be set up first.  How that is accomplished depends upon whether or not the decedent died with or without a will.

In Alabama, the family of a loved one who is killed as a result of another person’s negligence is only entitled to punitive damages, not compensatory damages. In other words, if a forty-year-old husband and father of two is killed in an automobile accident in Alabama, his family cannot ask a jury to award damages for his future income which they could have expected had he lived another thirty-five years. Punitive damages only allow for damages to punish the wrongdoer and send a message to others to avoid such conduct. When the defendant is an individual falls on his/her sword and apologizes for running the red light or speeding, it is very difficult to get a jury to punish that person. When the defendant is a corporation, it is a little easier to make that argument.

Only the estate, by and through the personal representative (executor or administrator) may file a wrongful death lawsuit. They can only ask the jury to punish the person who was at fault. There are other intricacies involved in pursuing wrongful death actions such as the actual process for filing the lawsuit in Alabama. These various details make it imperative that you consult an attorney that is experienced in wrongful death cases in Alabama before attempting to handle such a case yourself.

If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death, contact us now for a free initial consultation and case evaluation by calling the Birmingham personal injury law firm of Lewis & Feldman, LLC locally at 205-896-6410, toll-free at 888-705-3997 or by completing our contact form. You can also email us at jon@LewisAndFeldman.com and dfeldman@LewisAndFeldman.com. Our Birmingham based law firm may be able to help you resolve your wrongful death case. We’re the wrongful death lawyers serving Birmingham, Bessemer, Hoover and the state of Alabama who can help you receive the justice you deserve.