Wrongful death is a legal term meant to refer to situations where someone is killed due to the negligence, intentional act, or misconduct of another – regardless of whether the wrongdoer is another individual or a corporation.
At Hare Wynn, our experienced wrongful death attorneys handle cases involving virtually every type of wrongful death claim. Some common examples of wrongful death claims include the following:
- Death as a result of a serious accident
- Death as a result of medical malpractice
- Death as a result of automobile collisions
- Death as a result of an aviation accident
- Death as a result of a defective product
- Death as a result of a defective drug
- Death as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals
- Death as a result of a criminal act
The law governing the damages recoverable in a wrongful death action generally varies from state to state. In Alabama, all wrongful death claims are litigated under the Alabama Wrongful Death Act, which is unique and unlike the wrongful death statutes in any other state. Under Alabama law, the damages recoverable for wrongful death are entirely punitive in nature, not compensatory. In cases of wrongful death, the judge instructs the jury as follows:
In a suit brought for a wrongful act, omission, or negligence causing death the damages recoverable are punitive and not compensatory. Damages in this type of action are entirely punitive, imposed for the preservation of human life and as a deterrent to others to prevent similar wrongs. The amount of damages should be directly related to the amount of wrongdoing on the part of the defendant(s). In assessing damages you are not to consider the (pecuniary) (monetary) value of the life of the decedent, for damages in this type of action are not recoverable to compensate the family of the deceased from a (pecuniary) (monetary) standpoint on account of (his) (her) death, nor to compensate the plaintiff for any financial or pecuniary loss sustained by (him) (her) or the family of the deceased on account of (his) (her) death.
At Hare Wynn, our experienced attorneys have a long track record of creativity when it comes to arguing wrongful death cases at trial. The Firm’s founder, Francis H. Hare, Sr., was responsible for a complete rethinking of the law of wrongful death claims. In its 100 year plus history, the Firm’s attorneys have obtained a number of extraordinary results, in the form of jury verdicts as well as settlements, in wrongful death cases nationwide.