A "wrongful death" occurs when a person dies due to the negligent, careless, intentional, or reckless act of another person or entity. If someone close to you has died due to the wrongful act or neglect of another, it is important to find a reputable and well-established law firm with an exceptional reputation for handling wrongful death cases.
Alabama‚Äôs wrongful death law (Code of Alabama 6-5-410) allows for recovery of punitive damages only. Moreover, only individuals with a certain relationship to the victim may file a wrongful death claim. Below are the heirs who may file for recovery:
The victim's surviving spouse, children, dependent stepchildren, dependent minors living in the victim's household for at least six months, and dependent parents.
If there are no heirs as described above, then claimants include those who would be entitled to inherit the victim's estate under the law of intestate succession: Parents, whether or not they were dependent; if there are none, then siblings or children of deceased siblings; if there are none, then grandparents; if there are none, then children of a deceased spouse.
If none of these relatives exist, the next of kin may file a wrongful death suit.
A wrongful death victim's personal representative can also maintain a wrongful death action on behalf of the individuals listed above. A personal representative is a person appointed by the probate court to handle the wrongful death victim's assets, or estate. When proceeds are received from the wrongful death suit, they may be distributed by the personal representative according to the wrongful death statute
Time is of the essence in many wrongful death actions. Preserving evidence and identifying defendants are key factors in many of the underlying accidents involving death cases. This requires retaining investigators and experts to commence investigations and evaluations as promptly as possible.