Selma Wrongful Death Law
Selma is a city on the banks of the Alabama River with a population of nearly 18,000. As the county seat of Dallas County, Selma is known as the Queen City of the Blackbelt.
Located 50 miles from Montgomery, Selma is best known for the1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and Selma to Montgomery March, where thousands of disenfranchised citizens pushed for voting rights.
Today, 80 percent of the population of Selma is African American.
Whether in Selma or anywhere in Alabama, wrongful death can happen to anyone at any time.
A wrongful death is not only an unfortunate event that affects an entire family, but the accident that led to the death was entirely preventable.
When a person or corporation caused the event – whether from an auto accident, workplace mishap, boating accident, or a defective product- that individual or company should be held accountable.
Under Alabama law, a wrongful death claim is filed in civil court and may only seek punitive damages, not compensatory ones, to award survivors. Instead, the goal is to punish the responsible party for the family member’s death.
If successful, the monies will be distributed to those in the deceased’s estate, which may include:
- Financial compensation for survivors, such as a spouse, who depended on the deceased for support.
- Compensation to minor children who have lost a parent, his companionship, guidance, and mental pain and suffering.
- Compensation to a parent of a deceased minor child killed due to someone else’s negligence.
Monetary damages will be awarded to the deceased’s estate and distributed according to the will. Unlike other personal injury cases with a cap on punitive damages of $1.5 million, there is no cap on punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. You do not pay taxes on a wrongful death settlement in Alabama.
While retaining a lawyer after the death of a loved one may not be one of your first actions, it’s essential for survivors to understand there is a time limit within to file any claim. Under Alabama state law, that is generally two years from the date of the death. If you miss that deadline, you may no longer have any options.
You do not want to miss any deadline that may apply to your case, so it is best to connect with an experienced Alabama wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the wrongful death.
Alabama’s Wrongful Death Law
In order to file a wrongful death claim, there must be recklessness, a wrongful act, omission, or negligent behavior displayed by the at-fault party. How do we define negligence?
Negligence is behavior that falls outside how a reasonable person would have acted. In other words, you drive outside the traffic lane, your speed exceeds the traffic flow, your vehicle is in poor running condition, and the product you sold contained toxic materials you should have known about.
There is a certain standard of care each of us is expected to follow in a civil society.
Your wrongful death attorney will show the court that the offender breached that duty of care through reckless action and that was the direct cause of the injury or death of your loved one.
Alabama bases its wrongful death claims on a punitive consideration. Rather than determining what the family will need for compensation, the law addresses the amount of negligence shown by the liable party.
In its unique wrongful death law, you can only recover punitive damages to deter the defendant’s negligent behavior. For example, if a driver is drunk, the claim may amount to more than if the at-fault driver just ran a stop sign.
Selma brings tourists to the area to understand its role in the Civil War and the struggle for civil rights. They may travel on U.S. 80 from the west or 22 from the south, I-185, or I-10. Rural roads surrounding the Selma area are where there is a disproportionate number of fatal traffic accidents.
Some other areas where one can be negligent include:
- Car, truck motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Boat accidents
- DUI claims
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Premises liability
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home abuse
Because of the nature of Alabama’s wrongful death recovery options, you are well advised to seek the guidance of an experienced Alabama wrongful death attorney.
Your Wrongful Death Claim
It’s important to understand that an individual cannot file a wrongful death claim in Alabama. Instead, a personal representative overseeing the estate or will of the deceased will become the chosen representative to file a petition to represent the rights of the deceased.
The filing must be done within 40 days of the death of the loved one. If a deadline is missed, you may forfeit your right to be compensated.
Your Alabama Wrongful Death Attorney
Attorney Chip Nix has four decades of experience helping survivors file wrongful death claims. He will delve into the offender’s history to see if wrongful and reckless actions are part of his pattern.
In investigating the accident, Mr. Nix will extract the elements of the accident, identifying how reckless behavior disregarded the safety and health of others, which led to wrongful death. He will also ensure the medical records accurately point to the injuries received from the at-fault party’s negligence.
Because Alabama requires only a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim, Mr. Nix can help guide you with information on filing a claim, including the different requirements if the decedent was a minor.
Upon the death of a loved one at the hands of a negligent person or corporation, you may have many questions amid your grieving. Now is not the time to delay filing an action that may help your family stay alive financially.
Contact us online or call our office today at (334) 203-6669 for a free consultation and case assessment.
Civil Rights Trail
Selma Times Journal