Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be a source of trauma and great stress. Losing someone is never easy, but when it happens suddenly, as a the result of an accident, it can leave your entire family in a difficult situation. Not only do you have to arrange a funeral, you have to find a way to cope with your loss and move on with life without what was once an important relationship.
If the person who unexpectedly died was the primary wage earner or "breadwinner" in your family, you may not know how you'll pay your mortgage, rent or other basic bills. Losing a spouse when you stay at home to care for the children can result in many issues beyond the grief and loss associated with a sudden death. You could find yourself without income, insurance or support in a difficult time.
Alabama lets you pursue compensation when someone causes a death
Under wrongful death laws in Alabama, surviving dependents and family members have legal recourse in the event of a sudden death. Generally speaking, in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the person filing the suit should have evidence that the death was the result of a wrongful act, omission or negligence on the part of the person, people, business or municipality named in the lawsuit.
Under state law, the lawsuit must come from the representative of the deceased's estate. This could be a spouse or another person named as executor or trustee in a last will or estate plan. Any amount earned in the lawsuit passes on to the named heirs in the estate or last will. One important consideration is that you only have two years from the date of your loved one's death to file a wrongful death lawsuit, with a few exceptions. The longer you wait, the more difficult it could be to hold the other person accountable.
Civil lawsuits require less proof than criminal courts
You may have hoped that the courts would do the right thing and bring charges against the person responsible for the loss of your loved one. Sadly, the courts or the prosecutor could decide there is not enough evidence to go to trial. That doesn't mean the other person isn't responsible, only that there isn't evidence beyond a reasonable doubt available to secure a conviction.
The civil courts have a lower threshold for successfully holding someone legally responsible for a death. There are many cases where someone who successfully defends against criminal charges is later sued for wrongful death and loses.
While it's true that no amount of monetary compensation can bring back your loved one or replace what was lost, a lawsuit can provide your family with justice and financial compensation for the loss you have suffered.