My Spouse Died in a Workplace Accident, Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

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You say goodbye to your spouse as he heads off to work. You had no idea that would be the last time you’d see him alive.

The death of a loved one is not only shocking, but it can devastate a family. Your children will lose their father, your household may lose its breadwinner, and you have lost your husband.

In Alabama, there were 70 fatal work injuries in 2015, most occurring in the transportation area. That number is more than 20% higher than the national average. If a preventable accident took the life of your loved one through a wrongful act, omission, or negligence, Alabama law allows you to bring a wrongful death suit against the party that caused their death.

Wrongful Death Claim in Alabama

Filing a wrongful death claim is not unlike a personal injury claim. The actions of the at-fault party were so egregious that someone lost his life.

The civil action should be filed in the jurisdiction where the person lived. Actions can only be filed under Alabama law if he passed away in the state. That person has two years under Alabama law to bring the lawsuit which is usually wrapped up with the probate process.

The action must be filed by the estate of the deceased, not an individual. Compensation will then be paid to directly to the decedent’s heirs-at-law.

This is not a criminal action that can result in prison time. Instead, a civil action allows the estate of the deceased to be compensated from the party that caused the injury.

Alabama law is unique in that it does not allow you to recover compensatory damages to cover medical bills and funeral expenses. It only allows you to seek punitive damages.

That is a monetary amount that sends a message to the wrongdoer (and others like them) to cease the dangerous activity that led to the death.

Unfortunately, the only way to find justice is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongdoer will virtually never step up and offer you compensation. Holding the responsible party accountable by seeking financial compensation through a lawsuit is generally the only way to right a wrong.

Of course, no amount of money will never bring back your loved one, but it’s as close as we can come to make you whole again.

What We Need to Prove Your Wrongful Death Claim

Mr. Nix will send a letter to the defendant and any third parties not to destroy any evidence. In the meantime, there is a variety of evidence that we will need to gather to prove your claim as the burden of proof rests on your shoulders.

Here is some of what we will require:

  • Witnesses to the accident– Was there a co-worker who saw what happened? Maybe he observed or was part of the injury. Were there others, not part of the work force, who may also have observed what happened? Did they take any pictures or videos?
  • Pictures of the Scene – We will need physical evidence and pictures taken right after the accident are very valuable. Sometimes, an accident scene will change with the passage of time. So did someone take out their cellphone and take still photos or videos?  Can we compare that to the scene before the accident?
  • Police Report – When law enforcement is called to the scene, what did they observe, and did they collect evidence? Police reports will weigh heavily in your case. 
  • Medical Report – What does the doctor say is the cause of death? Was your loved one treated before he died? Hospital records will come into play here too.

Your Alabama Wrongful Death Accident Attorney

Ultimately, Mr. Nix will need to prove that the misdeeds of the at-fault party led to the workplace death.

First, we will establish that the at-fault party had a duty to act responsibly and not recklessly. When he failed to supervise correctly, or was not there when an accident was sure to happen, or created a hazard, he contributed to the accident.

Nothing will bring back your loved one, but this is a time when aggressive representation is needed to assist you in filing a successful wrongful death claim. Please call our Montgomery office at 334-203-6669 to begin the consultation process. 

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