Every person’s life has value. People who cause the death of another can be charged in court, even if this was not intentional, as long as negligence can be proven. Since the victim can no longer file a case, the claim is usually pursued by the individual’s closest relatives. Note that this is a civil action that will result in compensation if the defendant is found liable. It is not a criminal offense so there will be no prison sentence. Wrongful death laws in Alabama are very strict in that the victim must not have contributed to his own demise. Any fault, however small, can be a basis for dismissal.
Most cases that result in a wrongful death suit revolve around medical malpractice. The defendant could be a doctor, a nurse, or a hospital, whichever was responsible for the fatality. For example, a doctor might have prescribed drugs with harmful side effects despite warning signs from the patient’s history. It might be a case of a nurse providing excessive doses of a patient’s medicine or providing the wrong drug. A surgeon could have botched an operation, leaving tools and bandages inside the patient’s body. All of these deaths could have been avoided if the professionals were reasonably careful.
Another type of wrongful death involves vehicular accidents. For example, a motorist might have caused a collision that resulted in the death of a loved one. Maybe he was driving with distractions like a mobile phone or was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Perhaps he was speeding or ignoring the traffic laws. The family can then sue in court in order to collect damages, since those left behind might be put at a financial disadvantage due to the loss. Children will be harder to raise if the breadwinner dies. The compensation may be used to care for these dependents.
Car manufacturing defects that cause death can also become the foundation of a civil suit. Perhaps a person buys a brand new vehicle and experiences component failure almost right away. The car could go out of control or the brakes may not catch. These could trigger a sudden accident. Road defects may also be used as basis to sue the government agency tasked to design, create, or maintain these roads.
Statute of Limitations
Residents of Alabama are given two years to file a suit dating from the victim’s death. After this, people forfeit their right to go after the person responsible. This might seem like a long time but some investigations take even longer. In some malpractice cases, the cause of death does not get traced immediately and the 2-year period lapses. This will not be a problem as a grace period is given for the relatives. They can file a claim within six months from the discovery of relevant information to finally get the justice they deserve.
Talk to a Lawyer
Success in wrongful death claims depends highly on the skill and experience of the lawyer handling the case. Every detail must be studied and strong evidence must be presented in court. Otherwise, it might just get dismissed from lack of merit. Make sure that you consult with the best wrongful death attorneys in Alabama that you can find.