The damages that surviving family members may be able to recover in a wrongful death case depend on where the accident occurred and the state’s laws. In general, recoverable losses usually include compensatory damages for the family’s economic and non-economic losses.
Wrongful death actions are possible when an immediate family member dies due to someone else’s negligence. This could occur in any type of incident, including:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian or bicyclist collisions
- Pool accidents
- Other premises liability accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability injury cases
You Can Recover Losses in Most Wrongful Death Cases
When a family member or representative of the estate pursues a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the recoverable damages in most states include the losses the immediate family experienced due to their loved one’s death. This could include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The cost of paying for services the deceased previously handled
- Any outstanding medical bills for their treatment
- Loss of income and financial support
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship for the spouse
- Loss of parental guidance for children
- Other intangible services lost
- Emotional suffering and grief of the decedent’s surviving family members
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Survival Actions May Recover Additional Compensation
Some states allow the family or a personal representative to pursue additional damages through a survival action. This type of action could recover the compensation the deceased may have claimed had they survived.
Examples of these damages include:
- Medical care costs for ambulance transportation and any treatment received
- Lost wages from the accident until their death
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damages
- The victim’s conscious pain and suffering
In most cases, survival actions do not pay out directly to the decedent’s survivors like wrongful death damages usually do. Instead, they go to the estate. The compensation is then distributed according to the decedent’s will or another estate plan.
Some States May Not Allow Compensatory Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Alabama’s wrongful death law is unique because it bars family members from recovering compensatory damages. The Alabama Supreme Court has confirmed this.
This means loved ones cannot recover the expenses or losses they endured. Instead, they can only seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are a penalty for the negligent party, which are generally awarded only when a person acts intentionally or with wanton recklessness.
Who Can Take Legal Action May Vary from State to State
Some states allow any immediate family member to file a claim on behalf of the whole family. In contrast, others only work with those who suffered the most damages, usually the spouse and children. Still, others require the personal representative of the estate named in the will or by the court to manage the wrongful death case.
Your state’s wrongful death laws will determine:
- Who can file a lawsuit
- What damages you can recover
- How long you have to file the paperwork
- Other details of the case
You can learn more about the wrongful death laws applicable to your state by speaking with a wrongful death lawyer who can review these statutes with you:
- Alabama: Ala. Code § 6-5-410
- Arkansas: Ark. Code Ann. § 16-62-102
- Louisiana: La. Civ. Code Art. 2315.2
- Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 11-7-13
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Work with a Personal Injury Law Firm to Better Understand Your Case and Options
Our wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations for families who have lost a loved one in a negligence accident. During this free case review, you can ask questions and learn more about the laws that define your legal options and recoverable damages.
An attorney from our team may be able to tell you:
- How long you have to file a lawsuit
- Who is eligible to act
- The strength of your case against the liable party
- The types of damages you may be able to recover
- How the contingency fee pay structure works
- When they can start work on your case, if you decide to work together
We may be able to develop a strong case that proves negligence and responsibility and seek a settlement agreement with the insurer representing the at-fault party.
Otherwise, our team may prepare paperwork to begin a lawsuit and take the liable party or parties to trial. A Birmingham wrongful death attorney will represent you at trial and ask the judge and jury to award your family fair compensation for your losses. We can also handle survival actions and other civil actions related to negligence accidents.
Speak with a Lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC, for Free About Your Case
You can talk to the Morris Bart law firm for free today to learn more about how a wrongful death attorney can help you. Our team provides free case assessments and consultations for families who lost a loved one due to negligence.
We serve four states in the Gulf South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We work based on contingency, too, so you do not need to pay us any upfront attorney’s fees to get started on the case. Call (800) 537-8185 now to get started.
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