If the negligence of another party led to the death of a loved one, you have the right to sue them for wrongful death. This compensation can cover funeral expenses and offer financial help during this difficult time.
Mourning the loss of a loved one is more than enough to endure without thinking about a lawsuit. That’s why it’s helpful to hire a professional wrongful death attorney in Madison. They are dedicated to guiding you through the complicated court process, explaining your rights, and getting the full compensation you and your family deserve.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Madison that You Can Sue For
According to Alabama law, the first legal step to take following the demise of a family member due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act is to file a lawsuit. Determining the cause of death is paramount for a successful case. Some common instances that may lead to wrongful death include:
- Road accidents – Vehicular accidents leading to death may involve cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Besides the person driving the vehicle involved, the auto manufacturer or heavy hauling company may also be liable and held responsible for the death.
- Medical malpractices – Many wrongful death cases are caused by medical negligence. It can be a misdiagnosis, errors during surgical procedures, prematurely discharging a patient, or the administration of the wrong dosage of anesthesia.
- Defective products – Some manufacturers roll out defective and unsafe products due to poor manufacturing, design, and ignorance during marketing. These products can sometimes lead to death.
- Crimes and other malicious acts
For a free legal consultation with a Wrongful Death lawyer serving Madison, call (800) 537-8185
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Madison?
Wrongful death cases are governed differently, based on state laws. Some states allow one of the surviving family members (spouse, children, or parents) to file the suit.
In Madison County, the law is stricter. Whether you’re filing a suit in Alabama or Mississippi, the law only permits the representative of the decedent’s estate to file the lawsuit. Also regarded as the executor of the estate, this representative is the one appointed through a will. If there’s no will, the probate court is tacitly mandated to appoint the administrator of the estate.
Typically, a surviving family member may petition the court to be the executor of the estate within 40 days of a loved one’s death. During this period, the court will appoint another party other than a family member to file the claim as the estate administrator.
Madison Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (800) 537-8185
Elements of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Four key elements determine the validity of a wrongful death claim, and the claimant must be able to prove them to make a solid case. These elements include:
- Negligence – In a wrongful death suit, the decedent’s representative must prove that the victim’s death was caused either partially or in whole by the defendant’s recklessness, negligence, omission, or carelessness.
- Breach of Duty – For a wrongful death case to stand, the executor must also prove that the at-fault party owed a duty to the victim. Hence, the plaintiff must determine how the defendant’s negligent actions resulted in a breach of duty.
- Causation – The personal representative must also establish how the defendant’s recklessness caused the wrongful death of their loved one.
- Damages – The court hearing your death claim in Madison County requires the plaintiff to determine quantifiable damages incurred due to their loved one’s demise.
Examples of recoverable damages might include:
- Funeral costs
- Hospitalization and medical costs
- Loss of income
- Emotional harm caused by the loss of a loved one
- Loss of potential earnings
Recoverable Wrongful Death Damages in Madison
In many states, the court will award compensatory damages to the family members or the victim’s estate when settling a wrongful death claim. These damages are awarded to reimburse the plaintiff for the expenses incurred because of a loved one’s wrongful death.
However, in Madison County the probate court only awards punitive damages in wrongful death suits. Therefore, they aren’t primarily meant to reimburse the victim’s estate or family members but to punish the at-fault party for their negligent actions. The plaintiff that recovers wrongful death damages is free to use the money as they deem fit.
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How Damages Are Distributed After a Successful Wrongful Death Claim
When an executor of an estate wins a wrongful death claim, the compensatory amount isn’t used to settle the decedent’s estate debts, liabilities, or state taxes. Instead, the damages are distributed to the estate heirs according to intestacy laws. That means the court distributes the damages under the assumption that the decedent didn’t write a will.
Under the law, the following parties are entitled to the settlement amount in various circumstances:
- If the victim only had a spouse, the spouse is entitled to the entire compensatory amount.
- If the decedent had kids but no spouse, the children inherit the award money.
- If the decedent had a family (spouse and children), the first $50,000 of the settlement amount goes to the spouse, including half of the remaining amount. The other half is distributed among the children equally.
- If the victim had a parent but no spouse or children, the parent inherits the total compensatory amount.
The distribution process can be complicated if the victim has many heirs. However, a Madison wrongful death attorney understands the statute of distributions and can ensure that all heirs entitled to the damage receive their rightful share.
Partner with a Madison Wrongful Death Lawyer and Get Your Rightful Compensation
If you’ve lost a family member because of another person’s negligence, you don’t have to take on the complicated court process on your own. Hire a wrongful death lawyer in Madison and get the legal support and counsel you need to receive your rightful compensatory damages. Call us today or fill out this form to schedule a free consultation.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.