Fatal Car Accidents
If your family has suffered a tragic loss due to a fatal motor vehicle collision, a wrongful death action may be brought against the person or business that caused your loved one’s untimely death. Although nothing can bring back your family member, a settlement or judgment may help alleviate the financial burden often felt by people left behind. Foley car accident attorney Whit A. Thomas has been representing accident victims in many areas of Alabama since 1980, and he is here to help you seek maximum compensation in a fatal car accident case.Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Following a Fatal Crash
A wrongful death action is similar to a personal injury claim in that it is usually based on the theory of negligence. In other words, the driver who caused the fatal accident must have acted carelessly in handling their vehicle, such as by running a red light or driving while distracted or intoxicated. There also must be a direct connection between the driver’s carelessness and the crash that caused the victim’s death. Liability depends on establishing that the fatal car accident likely would not have happened if the defendant had obeyed traffic rules and otherwise acted with the appropriate care.
The only person who is eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in an Alabama court is the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person. A wrongful death case stemming from a fatal car accident generally must be brought within two years to comply with the statute of limitations, which restricts the time period for seeking compensation. The personal representative must identify with reasonable certainty the person or business whose “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” caused the victim’s death.
Another important consideration that is specific to Alabama is the type of damages that are available to wrongful death claimants. Punitive damages are the only damages that are available in these cases, rather than the compensatory damages that are generally sought in ordinary personal injury claims. However, it is not as challenging to obtain punitive damages in wrongful death cases as it is in personal injury cases, and these awards are often substantial. If the personal representative succeeds in proving their case, the defendant pays the settlement or judgment directly to the victim’s heirs at law.Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Foley Attorney
A wrongful death lawsuit is always a complicated endeavor, and this is especially true in Alabama. The many steps that must be taken, beginning with the opening of a probate estate, may be time-consuming. Experienced Foley attorney Whit A. Thomas has been handling fatal car accident cases for decades, and he has the knowledge and skill needed to pursue maximum compensation. He also represents people who need a wrongful death lawyer in Fairhope, Daphne, Gulf Shores, Mobile, Altmore, Monroeville, or other areas of Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia, and Monroe Counties. To schedule an appointment, call (251) 943-9330 or contact us online. There is no charge for the initial consultation, so there is no reason to wait to take this important step toward healing from the financial and emotional devastation caused by a loved one’s untimely passing.