Losing a loved one to negligence or a wrongful act by another person or party can have a profound impact on surviving loved ones. Seeking justice for wrongful death becomes not only a legal necessity but a crucial step towards closure and accountability. At Dennis Injury Law, we understand how difficult these cases are.
When you hire a Huntsville wrongful death lawyer from our firm, you get an ally who will navigate the intricate legal landscape on your behalf to secure the compensation and accountability you deserve.
Why Choose Dennis Injury Law for Your Wrongful Death Claim?
Garrett Dennis established Dennis Injury Law to provide residents of Huntsville and North Alabama injured due to no fault of their own with unwavering legal support and expert guidance.
Our legal team combines extensive experience with a genuine understanding of the emotional toll of wrongful death cases. We strive to ease the burden on our clients by shouldering the legal complexities, allowing them the space and time needed for healing.
As your advocates, we are driven by a passion for justice and a determination to make a difference. Our Huntsville personal injury lawyers are ready to stand by your side, providing steadfast support and pursuing the justice your loved one deserves. Contact us today to hear how we can help.
What is Wrongful Death?
In Alabama, wrongful death refers to a situation in which the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party cause a person's death. The state has specific laws governing wrongful death claims, and they are outlined in the Alabama Wrongful Death Act.
Key points regarding wrongful death in Alabama include:
- Legal Standing to Sue: Under Alabama law, only certain individuals have the legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate brings the action on behalf of the surviving family members.
- Time Limit for Filing: Alabama has a statute of limitations for filing wrongful death claims. Generally, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the individual's death. It is crucial to initiate legal proceedings within this timeframe, as failure to do so may result in losing the right to seek compensation.
- Proof of Negligence or Wrongful Conduct: To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's negligent, reckless, or intentional actions directly caused the death. Establishing a causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the fatal outcome is crucial to these cases.
Navigating the legal complexities of wrongful death cases can be challenging, and it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who specializes in wrongful death law in Alabama. An attorney from Dennis Injury Law can provide guidance, build a strong case, and advocate for the rights and interests of your loved one’s surviving family members.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Not all deaths are wrongful deaths. Only ones based on negligence or wrongful acts qualify for wrongful death claims.
Some wrongful death claims we handle involve incidents such as:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
What Compensation is Available in a Huntsville Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Some states allow surviving family members of wrongful death victims to recover compensatory damages, such as lost income, lost inheritance, medical bills, and other losses. Alabama only allows the recovery of punitive damages.
Punitive damages serve a different purpose than compensatory damages. These damages intend to punish the party at fault for particularly egregious or reckless behavior that led to the death of an individual and deter others from engaging in similar egregious conduct. The idea is to discourage reckless behavior and send a message that such actions will not be tolerated in society.
Because Alabama law only requires punitive damages in wrongful death lawsuits, it's even more important to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney like Dennis Injury Law to prove the degree of negligence or recklessness of the other party. In doing so, we can maximize the compensation your loved one's estate receives for their tragic death.
Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Claims
Survival actions are distinct from wrongful death claims, although they are often related. In a survival action, the legal right to sue "survives" the death of the person who suffered the injury or harm. It allows the deceased person's estate to pursue a legal claim for damages that the deceased would have been entitled to if they had survived.
Typically, survival actions cover the physical, psychological, and financial damages the decedent suffered before their death.
In a survival action, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may seek compensation for the decedent’s:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income or wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
How Can My Lawyer Prove My Loved One Died from a Wrongful Death?
To establish a wrongful death claim based on negligence, the plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) or their lawyer typically needs to prove four essential elements. These elements are commonly recognized in legal systems that follow the principles of common law.
The four elements of negligence are as follows:
- Duty of Care: The first element is establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. This duty is often based on the relationship between the parties or the circumstances of the case. For example, a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle with reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the deceased. This means showing that the defendant failed to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances. The breach of duty is essentially a failure to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation.
- Causation: Causation consists of two components: factual causation and proximate causation. Factual causation (also known as "but-for" causation) requires proving that the defendant's actions were a factual cause of the death. Proximate causation, on the other hand, involves demonstrating that the defendant's breach of duty was a legally recognized and foreseeable cause of the harm.
- Damages: The final element is establishing that the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant's breach of duty. In a wrongful death case, damages typically include the losses experienced by the surviving family members, such as financial losses, emotional distress, and the value of lost support and companionship.
If the plaintiff successfully proves all four elements of negligence, they may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one. Consulting with a legal professional from Dennis Injury Law who is familiar with the laws in Alabama is crucial to ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Huntsville Wrongful Death Lawyers at Dennis Injury Law Today
In times of unimaginable loss and grief, the Huntsville wrongful death lawyers at Dennis Injury Law stand ready to provide compassionate and unwavering support in your pursuit of justice for your loved one. With a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding wrongful death cases, we are committed to navigating the legal landscape on your behalf.
Our experienced team strives to not only seek fair compensation for the financial and emotional toll you have endured but also to hold accountable those responsible for the untimely death of your family member. Contact our Huntsville wrongful death attorneys today at (256) 500-4878 or through our online form for your free and confidential consultation. Let us work together to seek the resolution you deserve during this challenging time.