Family conflicts added onto any wrongful death case can amplify the emotional and mental trauma you face after you have lost a loved one. Although everyone grieves for their loss, there may be specific members who especially depended on that person’s financial contributions for income, savings, and investing. It is imperative that you divide and settle compensation fairly because kids and grandkids do not deserve to witness senseless in-fighting while dealing with death.
All 50 states handle wrongful death settlements by their own legislation, so you should not pursue a wrongful death claim without the proper knowledge in mind. Our team has information about dividing wrongful death settlements to inform you how Alabama and other states distribute court-awarded funds. It will save you time and money from wasted claims you file by yourself, giving you more time to process your pain and suffering.
Who in my family can sue for wrongful death?
Many states, such as Alabama and Vermont, conduct wrongful death cases uniquely since only a personal representative of the deceased or an executor is legally allowed to file a claim against the defendant. They are someone your loved one wrote on their will before their passing (could be a family member) or a person the court appoints after their death. An executor’s job is to protect a deceased’s estate after their death by distributing the property funds according to state law.
Places in the United States like Georgia assign surviving spouses and children permission to sue for wrongful death. But generally, extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) of your loved one cannot pursue a wrongful death claim in court.
Who in my family can obtain compensation?
Again, there is wide diversity in wrongful death laws across the country, including who can obtain compensation and how judges distribute the money. Alabama, for example, divides all wrongful death settlements (unless the deceased passed while on the job) according to regular intestate succession. If your loved one died in Montgomery from a car accident and left children but no spouse, the children would inherit everything.
Some states dictate that only direct relatives can obtain compensation, while others provide this right to other surviving family members, assigning each person a portion of the total amount. These additional relatives include surviving parents, cousins, and siblings.
What kind of damages does the judge award my family?
A judge may award your family punitive damages or additional fees the killer pays to deter them from acting recklessly again. States will also charge the guilty party for punitive damages in wrongful death cases to further compensate your family where financial dependency is present. These types of legal punishments are also relevant in other wrongful death claims where the defendant was negligent in medical malpractice, workplace accident, or product liability situations.
Your state or county court will also award compensatory damages that cover the financial losses you and other dependants of the loved one stop receiving. These compensatory damages include lost income, funeral costs, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other bills your family did not expect or ask for.
The law’s mission in your wrongful death case, regardless of the state, is to ensure they compensate each family member according to what they lost. Also, they pay special attention to the relationship each person had to your loved one in determining how much funding they deserve.
How long can my family wait until filing?
Most states in America allow you to wait up to 1 to 3 years before filing a wrongful death claim. They recognize your family’s need to recover from your loved one’s passing and not feel the immediate burden of pursuing the killer in court when experiencing a loss of consortium and emotional trauma. Georgia, Alabama, and many other states have a two-year time limit, so the law will bar your family from presenting the claim before a judge if you do not file in time.
It’s Not Fair to Experience Wrongful Death Alone
We want to give our deepest sorrows for the loss of your loved one and the incredible burden you have to carry of dividing their wrongful death settlement. It is not fair for you to battle heated family discussions and the barrage of other legal professionals who are disinterested in helping you move forward.
You can have a challenging time filing a wrongful death lawsuit due to different state laws depending on where you live and may not obtain the full amount you qualify for without the help of a wrongful death attorney. We would be glad to answer any questions you have about wrongful death claims and explain how the judge in your state would divide your loved one’s settlement.
To start working with our empathetic personal injury attorneys and for us to hear your case details, call our office at (334).269.3230. We accept calls every day of the week, including weekends and holidays, and are always available to help.