If a loved one of yours was involved in a semi-truck accident in Birmingham, AL and they were killed as a result of it, you may be able to file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Now, you are only permitted to file this type of lawsuit given your relative’s death occurred as the result of the truck driver and/or their employer’s wrongful act, omission, or negligence, according to Alabama Code §6-5-410. For example, if the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel because they worked beyond the number of hours they were legally permitted to operate the truck for or they were found guilty of operating their vehicle recklessly, both would be considered as acts of negligence.
Aside from meeting this requirement to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Alabama, the state also requires that only a “personal representative” of the decedent is entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party who caused the wreck. This person can be a family member so as long as they are named as the decedent’s executor or administrator in their will or another legal document acknowledges them as such. While most states allow family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved one, Alabama laws differ.
In fact, unlike most states, Alabama only allows the personal representative to recover punitive damages as opposed to being able to collect compensatory damages as well. Compensatory damages are awarded based the financial loss you may have suffered along with other ways the loss has impacted your life. But since Alabama doesn’t allow the personal representative to recover these damages, let’s focus on punitive damages, which is the only form of compensation you would be able to collect.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages vary in amount and are awarded as a way to punish the individual and/or company who was responsible for your loved one’s death. They are also awarded to help deter other individuals from engaging in similar behavior so that fewer fatal accidents occur. Now, in order to receive punitive damages, you will need to provethat you are entitled to recover them so it is best you have an experienced Birmingham, AL truck accident lawyer representing you during this time.
Is there a cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded?
Although Alabama law does stipulate that the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is limited, these limitations do not apply to actions for wrongful death. In fact, the jury appointed to the case would be responsible for determining how much in punitive damages you would be entitled to receive.
Now, there is much more you will need to know if you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one who was killed in a truck collision so it is best you schedule an initial consultation with a reputable Birmingham, AL truck accident lawyer. USAttorneys.com can connect you with some of the best attorneys in the field who will take the time to review with you all the information you need to know and even help get you started with the litigation process in the event you are ready to proceed on with it.