If someone you love has been killed in an Alabama accident or died as the result of a defective product, you may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama’s wrongful death law is very unique. We are the only state in which wrongful death is meant purely to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar wrongdoing, rather than to compensate the loved ones of the victim. Huntsville wrongful death attorney Sarah Rutledge knows from personal experience what it is like to lose someone you love in a tragic accident. She is passionate about helping the families of wrongful death victims pursue justice and healing. Please, call the Law Office of Sarah Elise Rutledge, LLC right away to find out how we can help you.
Understanding Wrongful Death
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit, not a criminal case. Even if there are no criminal charges or if there are and the defendant is acquitted, the wrongful death suit still stands. In many cases, it is the only punishment for the wrongdoer.
Alabama is the only state that does not allow loved ones to recover compensation for the lost future income of the victim and other losses resulting from the death. Punitive damages are the only damages available in Alabama wrongful death cases.
When is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Appropriate?
In Alabama, a wrongful death action can be brought anytime a personal injury lawsuit would have been allowed if the victim had not died of their injuries. Examples include:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall
- Fatal injuries caused by defective products
Wrongful Death Beneficiaries
The proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit are paid to the heirs of the victim, according to the rules of intestate succession regardless of whether the decedent had a will. They cannot be taken to repay the debts of the decedent.
The manner in which payment is distributed depends on the existing heirs. Alabama law gives first priority to the surviving spouse. The descendants and then parents of the victim are the next priorities. If there is no surviving spouse, descendants, or parents, the money goes to the descendants of the parents, meaning siblings, nieces and nephews, and so forth, of the wrongful death victim. From there it moves to the grandparents and their descendants.
If you have lost someone you love in a tragic accident or as a result of a defective product, Huntsville wrongful death attorney Sarah Rutledge is here to help. We understand what families endure when a loved one is killed and we will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Please, call us today at 251-300-1653 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We only charge a fee is we recover money for you.