Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident in Huntsville, Alabama, could leave you feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. Many families find a sense of comfort and closure by pursuing a measure of justice for their deceased loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit could be the right option for your family.
You have rights, but pursuing them can be difficult under these challenging circumstances. Instead of doing so alone, turn to a Huntsville fatal car accident lawyer who can demand the justice and financial considerations you and your family deserve.
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our team of experienced Alabama accident attorneys is dedicated to helping people who’ve lost family members in Huntsville and the surrounding area. Let us handle your claim for you, pursuing your case and giving you the space you need to concentrate on putting your life back together after a tragic loss.
What We Can Do to Assist You in This Difficult Time
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our Huntsville wrongful death lawyers understand the emotional trauma and financial difficulties caused by fatal car accidents. Our experienced attorneys have the skill and resources to pursue the money and justice you deserve from those responsible for your loss.
We are dedicated to advocating for the rights of people who’ve lost family members due to the carelessness or recklessness of others. We have recovered substantial settlements on their behalf.
Our team can support you in several ways, including the following:
- We can investigate your case to determine who is liable for the accident and gather evidence to support your claim.
- We can handle all the paperwork associated with filing insurance claims and lawsuits, including communicating with insurance companies and performing other administrative tasks.
- We can negotiate with insurers to seek the money they owe you.
- We can aggressively represent your interests in court if necessary.
Our attorneys are here to help you during this difficult time. We are prepared to do everything we can to help you recover the justice and money you deserve.
How Often Do Fatal Car Accidents Occur in Huntsville?
Sadly, car accidents are one of America’s leading causes of death, accounting for about a fifth of all preventable injury-related deaths annually, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The estimated number of motor vehicle-related deaths in one recent year was 42,915, a 10% increase from the preceding year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) reports that 930 people were killed in 851 fatal crashes statewide in one recent year. In Huntsville alone, 22 fatal accidents occurred that year, eight involving pedestrians.
Common causes of fatal car accidents include:
- Speeding – Exceeding the speed limit is among the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Huntsville. Higher speeds significantly increase the risk of an accident and make the injuries worse – even deadly – when one occurs.
- Distracted driving – Texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, and engaging in other activities while driving can all lead to fatal car accidents.
- Drunk driving – Intoxicated drivers make poor decisions and struggle to concentrate or react quickly when faced with hazardous road conditions. As such, drunk driving is a significant cause of fatal car accidents in Alabama, accounting for about a quarter of all such incidents, according to NHTSA.
- Driver fatigue – Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and may be less able to control their vehicles safely, which can cause them to drift into other lanes or veer off the road completely, failing to take evasive actions before a crash.
- Unfamiliar roads – New drivers or visitors unfamiliar with local roads may fail to recognize warning signs or take dangerous turns without realizing it.
- Poor weather conditions – Inclement weather can make roads slick or reduce visibility, leading to serious accidents.
When Can a Fatal Car Accident Be Treated as a Wrongful Death Case?
Generally speaking, if a car accident victim would have had grounds for a personal injury suit had they survived, their estate can instead pursue a wrongful death case on behalf of their close family members.
In many states, family members of someone killed in a car accident can recover compensation if the court deems the other driver acted negligently. Unfortunately, Alabama does not allow for compensatory awards in these cases but instead allows estates to seek punitive damages from the responsible party. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party rather than compensate plaintiffs for specific losses. They may be awarded if the judge finds that the defendant acted with willful or wanton disregard for the rights of others.
When faced with the death of a loved one due to a fatal car accident, it’s best to seek assistance from an experienced Huntsville fatal car accident lawyer. A good attorney has extensive knowledge of Alabama’s laws and will work to prove the liable party’s negligence so that you can recover the punitive damages you may deserve.
Who Can Bring a Fatal Car Crash Claim Under Alabama Law?
Under Alabama law, only the executor of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased’s will should name the executor. If there is no will, the court will appoint an executor, often the victim’s closest living relative.
Once appointed, the executor is responsible for representing the deceased’s estate and bringing a claim for punitive damages for the deceased’s survivors. To do so, they must show that another party was to blame for the deceased’s passing, usually by showing that the other party was in some way negligent and that their negligence led directly to the fatal accident.
Potential Compensation in a Huntsville Fatal Car Crash Claim
Alabama law does not allow for compensatory damages in a wrongful death case. Instead, it limits survivors to receiving punitive damages. While the money recovered this way can be used toward paying various expenses related to the death, including funeral costs, medical bills, and lost income, it does not do so directly like compensatory damages do. Still, the money recovered as punitive damages can go a long way toward providing survivors with valuable financial stability and a degree of justice after a sudden loss.
Talk to Our Compassionate Huntsville Car Accident Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal car accident, speak with an experienced fatal car accident attorney about your options. At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our Huntsville car accident lawyers can help you and your family through this difficult time. We understand how devastating it is to lose someone so important to you, and we are committed to helping you seek justice for their wrongful death.
Contact us today for a free consultation.