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Has Your Loved One Been Killed by Someone Else’s Negligence or Misconduct?

Losing a spouse, child or immediate family member unexpectedly is one of life’s most painful experiences. If a preventable accident caused by someone’s carelessness led to your loved one’s death, the ordeal can be even more difficult to bear. The attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. understand the ties of family. We recognize that no amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one. Yet, Alabama law allows a family who has lost a loved one to hold accountable the at-fault party for the negligent behavior. By bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, the family may seek monetary compensation that is designed to punish the at-fault party for their wrongful conduct. Holding a wrongdoer accountable also may call attention to a problem and prevent another family from suffering a similar loss.

If your family has suffered a wrongful death in Huntsville or anywhere in North Alabama, you will want to work with a law firm with the proven experience of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. Our dedicated lawyers have helped many Alabamians with wrongful death claims and secured millions of dollars for our clients. Some of our notable wrongful death verdicts and settlements include a $3.1 million verdict for the family of a teenager killed by a speeding ambulance, a $2.5 million settlement for the family of a motorist killed in an automobile accident, a $1.2 million settlement of a patient’s wrongful death as a result of medical malpractice, a $1 million settlement against a trucking company for a fatal accident, and a $935,000 settlement for the family of an individual killed by a product explosion.

Each wrongful death case has its own set of circumstances and contributing factors. The results of our past cases do not guarantee the outcome of future cases. But the results do highlight our proven track record of accomplishment for clients and extensive experience handling wrongful death cases involving motor vehicle accidents, defective products, premises liability and medical malpractice. Our history shows the hard work that we put into our clients’ cases. We bring decades of experience to each case we handle and have a proven record of success.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your wrongful death claim. We handle cases on a contingency basis. There is no legal fee owed unless we collect money for you. Call or contact us today, and we are ready to help you.

How Our Attorneys Can Assist After a Wrongful Act

Your family should be your first priority after a loved one’s wrongful death. Our compassionate attorneys can assist you during this difficult time by helping you weigh your legal options and by dealing with the insurance companies. Within days of your loved one’s wrongful death, a lawyer representing the negligent party’s insurance company may offer a quick settlement before you have time to consider your legal options. The insurance company is trying to limit the amount it pays out by making a quick, lowball settlement.

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When an insurance company presents a settlement offer, it is in your best interest to discuss the situation with an experienced Alabama wrongful death lawyer. We have tried wrongful death cases in courtrooms throughout North Alabama, and we know the details of how these cases work. Contact the compassionate lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.
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Our attorneys will evaluate your wrongful death claim and answer your questions at no charge. We will share our perspective on whether the settlement offer you have received is reasonable under the circumstances. If we represent you, we will conduct a full investigation of the accident scene, interview any witnesses and preserve all evidence.
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We will identify all the potentially responsible parties and the possible sources of compensation. Based on the specific facts of the wrongful death, we will develop a legal strategy to hold the negligent party or parties accountable for your loss. Also, we will deal with the appropriate insurance companies on your behalf.
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Our attorneys will try to negotiate a fair settlement before filing a lawsuit. If we receive a settlement offer, we will discuss the offer with you. But we will not hesitate to go to trial if it is necessary to stand up for your rights. Our wrongful death lawyers are committed to aggressively pursuing a just resolution to your case.

In our observation from handling cases, those families who pursue a wrongful death claim and see justice served often achieve some sense of closure regarding their loved one’s loss.

Alabama Wrongful Death Law

A wrongful death is a civil lawsuit brought on behalf of the estate of the person who was killed. A wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligence, wantonness, failure to act or willful misconduct causes the death of another.

A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed even if the responsible party is not facing any criminal charges or prosecution or has been acquitted in criminal court of the wrongful act or misconduct that led to the death.

Alabama’s wrongful death laws are unique, because they are intended solely to punish the acts of the wrongdoer. While the laws in other states allow juries to award compensatory damages, only punitive damages may be recovered for an Alabama wrongful death claim. Experienced wrongful death attorneys may help to persuade the jury to punish the wrongdoer for their negligent or wrongful conduct that caused the death of a loved one.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful deaths claims arise from many types of fatal accidents and incidents. A wrongful death claim may be pursued against any person or business that acted negligently or wantonly and caused the death of someone.

It is often easier to understand through the use of examples how a law would apply. The personal representative of a deceased person’s estate in Alabama may be entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against:

  • A driver who was at fault in a fatal car accident.
  • A trucking company that was negligent in a fatal crash involving its tractor trailer.
  • The manufacturer, distributor or marketer of a defective product that causes a death.
  • The maker of dangerous prescription drugs that cause fatal side effects, even when taken as directed.
  • A property owner who failed to maintain a property, resulting in injuries that led to a death.
  • A property owner whose negligent security of a premises led to someone being violently assaulted and killed.
  • A drunk driver who runs a stop sign and fatally injures a pedestrian crossing a crosswalk.
  • A doctor or other health care provider who committed medical malpractice, resulting in a patient’s death.
  • An obstetrician who fails to follow the recognized standard of care in responding to a difficult birth and causes the death of a mother or baby through medical malpractice.
  • The owner of a vicious dog that was permitted to roam free and fatally mauled someone.
  • An at-fault party other than the deceased’s employer in a workplace accident or industrial injury. You may also file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer.
  • A subcontractor on a construction worksite whose negligence causes the death of a construction worker employed by another construction company.
  • A motorist turning left who fails to yield the right of way to an oncoming motorcycle and causes a collision that causes fatal injuries to the motorcyclist.
  • The manufacturer of a vehicle with a defective design such as a sport utility vehicle that is prone to rollover accidents.
  • An employer who allows a dangerous driver with a record of accidents and speeding citations to continue driving until the driver causes a fatal accident.

What the examples above have in common is that the victims’ deaths were preventable and were the result of acts of some other party’s negligence, wantonness, failure to act or willful misconduct.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

wrongful-death_noteIn Alabama, the administrator of the deceased’s estate (called the personal representative) may bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. If the deceased person left a will naming a personal representative, that person has the sole right to file and settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

Any damages recovered through a wrongful death case are held by the personal representative for distribution to the heirs at law. A settlement or jury verdict in a wrongful death claim in Alabama is distributed to the heirs of the deceased according to the laws that control disbursement of estates. Generally, the surviving spouse and any children will share in the recovery.

Damages pass outside the estate and are not subject to payment of any outstanding debts or liabilities of the deceased person owed to creditors. While the IRS generally taxes punitive damages, the federal income tax code provides for a special exemption for punitive damages recovered in Alabama wrongful death cases.

A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death. Wrongful death actions involving local governments such as cities and counties have even tighter deadlines for giving notice of a claim. Since the law allows only a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit, an individual or family that believes that a loved one’s death was caused by another’s wrongful act should consult an Alabama wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our attorneys grew up in North Alabama and understand the strong bonds of family and the effects. Our wrongful death attorneys offer trusted guidance to help Alabama families get through a difficult time and move forward. We have helped many families in situations similar to yours. We are ready to be of service.

Question and Answer

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that is filed on behalf of the estate of a person who died as a result of someone else’s negligence, wantonness, failure to act or willful misconduct.
How do you prove a wrongful death?

An attorney must establish certain elements to prove negligence in a wrongful death case. They include:

  • The at-fault individual or business had a duty to the deceased. For example, a driver has a duty to other motorists to obey traffic laws and operate a vehicle so as not to endanger others.
  • The defendant breached their legal duty. The driver got intoxicated and drove without regard for safety.
  • The failure to uphold the legal duty led to the death. The drunk driver’s reckless driving led to a head-on collision in which another motorist was killed.
How can I afford an Alabama wrongful death lawyer?
Families who have unexpectedly lost a family member who helped support the household often experience financial distress after the loss. Our Alabama wrongful death attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis. We pay any upfront out-of-pocket costs, and we provide free consultations. You pay us no fee or expenses unless we win a settlement or award in your case.
Attorney David Hodge

Contact Huntsville Wrongful Death Lawyers

Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. is based in Huntsville. Our attorneys handle wrongful death attorneys handle cases in North Alabama and beyond. If you think that we can help you or a loved on as we have helped so many other Alabamians, please call our attorneys at 256-677-4376, toll free 1-888-321-8353 or complete our online contact form.

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Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.

200 Pratt Avenue NE
Huntsville, AL 35801
Phone: 256-536-0588
Fax: 256-533-1504
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