Have you lost a family member due to somebody’s wrongful actions? If so, your family deserves to pursue accountability from those responsible for your loved one’s death. A wrongful death claim under Alabama law could allow your family to demand justice. And an Opelika wrongful death attorney from Stokes Stemle, LLC can provide your family with the experienced legal representation you need to pursue your case.

Attorneys Jonathan Stokes and Joshua Stemle founded our firm to give the people of Alabama exceptional legal advice and dedicated representation. As native Alabamans, our founding attorneys have committed their careers to serving their communities. Our legal team will tirelessly fight to demand the recovery your family deserves and hold those at fault for your loved one’s death responsible for their actions. We know that a loved one’s passing can devastate your family, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry. Our compassionate attorneys will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns to prepare an effective legal strategy seeking the results your family needs.

Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC today for a free initial case evaluation to discuss your family’s legal rights with a knowledgeable Opelika wrongful death attorney. Let our firm help you pursue financial recovery and justice after losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful acts.

What Are Wrongful Death Claims?

A wrongful death claim arises when a person’s death occurs due to someone else’s actions. Alabama’s wrongful death law defines a “wrongful death” as one caused by the “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another party. Wrongful death claims can arise under the same circumstances that could give the victim the right to pursue a personal injury claim if they had survived their injuries. Although wrongful death claims can arise from a criminal act such as a homicide, the at-fault party does not need to face criminal charges or a conviction before surviving family members have the right to recovery in a wrongful death claim.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Alabama?

Alabama’s wrongful death law only allows certain people to file a wrongful death lawsuit, depending on the victim’s age at the time of their death:

  • Adult victims – In wrongful death claims involving an adult, only the personal representative of the victim’s estate may file the wrongful death claim. Any compensation recovered is paid to the victim’s estate and distributed based on their will or Alabama probate laws.
  • Child victims – For claims involving a minor, the victim’s parents have six months from their child’s death to file a wrongful death claim. After that, the personal representative of the child’s estate may file the claim.

Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Claim

Most wrongful death claims involve negligence that caused your loved one’s death. Proving negligence in a wrongful death claim requires showing that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care – and they breached this duty. You must also show that their breach of duty caused your loved one’s death.

Alternatively, establishing fault in a wrongful death claim may involve demonstrating that the at-fault party recklessly or intentionally caused your loved one’s death. Recklessness involves willfully ignoring a substantial risk that their actions may cause serious injuries. A claim of intentional wrongful death means proving that the at-fault party intended for their actions to cause death.

What Type of Compensation Is Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Although no amount of money can bring your loved one back, your family still deserves to pursue damages to obtain some measure of justice and accountability for your loved one’s death. Alabama does not permit families to recover financial compensation for losses they have incurred due to their loved one’s passing, such as the loss of the victim’s financial contributions, services, guidance, affection, or society.

Instead, an Alabama wrongful death claim can only award punitive damages to the surviving family. Punitive damages punish a liable party for their conduct that led to the victim’s death and deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.                   

What Is Alabama’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

Alabama law gives you only two years from a loved one’s passing to file a lawsuit. The trial court will likely dismiss a lawsuit filed after the statutory deadline. While there are cases where the statute of limitations is paused, you have even less time to act with claims against government entities. You should speak with an Opelika wrongful death attorney from Stokes Stemle, LLC as soon as possible to ensure your family does not lose the right to pursue financial recovery from those responsible for your loved one’s death.

Is It Helpful to Hire an Alabama Wrongful Death Attorney?

A wrongful death lawyer can take care of the details of preparing and pursuing your family’s wrongful death claim while you and your family take the time to grieve and heal after your loved one’s death. A lawyer can help your family with every step of the wrongful death claims process, including:

  • Investigating the facts and circumstances of your loved one’s death to recover evidence and build your case
  • Identifying liable parties and potential options for financial recovery, such as applicable liability insurance coverage
  • Working with accident reconstruction or engineering experts to develop persuasive opinion testimony to prove the opposing party’s fault for your loved one’s death
  • Sitting down with you and your family to explain your rights and prepare you for what to expect during the claims process
  • Preparing and filing your legal claims to begin pursuing accountability for your family
  • Aggressively negotiating with adjusters and defense attorneys for the best outcome in your case
  • Going to trial when necessary to demand accountability and compensation from those responsible for your loved one’s death

Contact an Experienced Opelika Wrongful Death Attorney for Help Today

After you have lost a family member in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Stokes Stemle, LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our firm’s knowledgeable Alabama wrongful death lawyers can help you pursue the justice and closure you and your family need after your loved one’s passing.