Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one, but when someone else’s negligence is the cause for the death, a very difficult situation can become so much worse.
David Greene from Greene and Phillips Law Firm joined us on Studio10. The following questions and answers were provided by Greene and Phillips.
David, there’s a legal term, “Wrongful Death,” What does that mean?
When someone receives serious injuries that lead to their death due to the negligence of someone else and through no fault of their own. It may be a car accident, or truck accident, or even in an industrial accident. Someone is killed in that setting and it isn’t their fault.
What are some instances of wrongful death?
Automobile accidents, trucking accidents, construction accidents, industrial accidents, something falls on an individual, ATV accident, swimming accident. Typically an intentional killing is not included.
What recourse does the family of a Wrongful Death victim have against the person or company who caused it?
Families of Wrongful Death victims can often receive money damages for the loss of their family member. These damages include lost income, pain and suffering.
Talk about the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages?
Compensatory damages about compensation. So paying for the medical bills, the property damage, etc. Punitive damages, are damages used to deter companies or individuals from the unsafe practices that caused this accident. All wrongful death cases are senseless and should not have happened, and there is no amount of money that can bring that loved-one back, but at least in many cases the family can be taken care of. ..David added (not sure where this goes in the script) in alabama if there is a wrongful death the damages are only punitive .there are no compensatory damages available
What’s the difference between wrongful death and manslaughter or murder?
Manslaughter and murder are criminal charges brought against responsible parties by the district attorney's office. These are court cases that determine if the at-fault-party will experience jail time. A wrongful death case will be a civil suit filed by the victim to recover money damages from the at-fault party. Typically you can’t sue for a murder, but there may be instances where you have a criminal and civil case for the same incident.
Is a lawyer needed for this type of suit?
In Alabama, you’re required to have a lawyer involved to file a suit in a wrongful death situation. That’s why it’s crucial to find a lawyer that handles this type of case as soon as you can after the accident resulting in the death of your loved one.
What has to be proven for it to be a wrongful death?
The plaintiff must prove that a company or individual was negligent. In other words, they had a duty to provide a safe environment, and if they failed to do that, then the family is owed compensation for their loss.
If a family member is a victim of wrongful death, should they contact a lawyer right away?
It’s often very important to contact a lawyer as soon as you can after the incident. There is important evidence that becomes increasingly difficult to obtain the longer you wait after the accident. We know people are grieving and having to deal with arrangements
What does Greene & Phillips do to help families who have lost someone to a wrongful death?
We thoroughly investigate the facts of the case, by talking to witnesses, recovering any surveillance footage, and reconstructing the accident scene through sophisticated software. We’ll often work closely with local law enforcement and prosecutor’s office to gather the information we need to make your case strong. We then we go after the responsible parties and make them pay.
Is there any up-front cost to hiring a lawyer for a wrongful death case?
At Greene & Phillips, the consultation is completely free and no risk. You won’t owe us anything unless we get money for you.