Can you seek punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2021 | Auto Accident Injuries |

When your loved one said they were buying a motorcycle you may have worried that such vehicles are dangerous. Your worst fears might have been realized when one day a police officer knocks on your front door to tell you your loved one was hit by a car while on his motorcycle and was killed.

During this time of grief, it is important to know your options including pursuing compensation from the other party through a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims in Alabama can provide you with the financial compensation needed to get through a rough time and hopefully hold the negligent party responsible so that others are not harmed by this individual in the future.

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim in Alabama can be filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate on the behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members. If your loved one’s death was caused by the wrongful act, omission or negligence of someone if your loved one would have been able to take legal action against the negligent party had they lived, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are civil in nature and are not related to any possible criminal trials based on the same death. You have two years from your loved one’s death to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims and punitive damages

When someone else’s carelessness causes your loved one to die, it is only natural that you want to see justice done. For some, this means more than simply winning the lawsuit and recovering standard damages for medical expenses, lost earning potential and loss of consortium. Some may want to seek punitive damages, which go above and beyond standard damages and are meant to punish the negative party and hopefully serve as a deterrent. There are a variety of grounds upon which punitive damages can be sought.

Punitive damages may be available in cases of malice. Malice is the purposeful wrongdoing in which there is no just cause or excuse for a person’s actions and there is an intent to injure the victim or there is otherwise some other evil intent for the defendant’s actions. Punitive damages may also be available in cases of wantonness. Wantonness takes place when a person acts recklessly or with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

Learn more about wrongful death claims in Alabama

Losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness can be devastating. If this happens to you, it is only natural that you want to see justice done, perhaps by seeking punitive damages in a wrongful death suit. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on wrongful death in Alabama may be a good starting point for those who want to learn more about their rights and options.