What is Wrongful Death?
A “wrongful death” occurs when a person dies due to the negligent, careless, intentional, or reckless act of another person or entity. While wrongful deaths are decreasing due to advancements in medical technology, they are still at staggering numbers across the U.S. Approximately 40,000 people die each year in traffic accidents caused by another’s negligence. In fact, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35. According to the CDC, about 20,000 people die each year from slip and fall injuries; 6,000 people will lose their life due to an accident on the job; and a staggering 90,000 people die each year due to medical mistakes.
According to the National Safety Council, a fatal injury occurs in the U.S. every five minutes. The most frequent causes of accidental deaths are motor vehicle accidents, falls, poisonings, choking, fires and smoke.
As motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for those 35 and under in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that over 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in this country. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in death. In fact, 18-wheeler trucking accidents account for one of every eight traffic deaths.
Time is of the essence in many wrongful death actions. Preserving evidence and identifying defendants are key factors in all wrongful death cases. This requires retaining investigators and experts to start investigations and evaluations as promptly as possible. Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney therefore should not be delayed.
Every state in the U.S. has passed its own Wrongful Death law. What state law applies in your case depends upon where the death occurred. For example, if your loved one died in Alabama, then Alabama’s Wrongful Death statute applies. If the death happened in Mississippi, then the monetary awards will be defined under the Mississippi Wrongful Death law (even if your loved one lived in Alabama).
It is important to determine which state’s wrongful death statute applies to your case. The language of the state law will determine not only what type of damages can be sought, but what loved ones can actually be plaintiffs in a suit for wrongful death damages. For example, Alabama’s Wrongful Death statute is unique and believed to be the only one of its type in the country. In Alabama, the only damages that may be recovered for wrongful death are punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct in the future. No compensatory damages (such as lost wages of the deceased) are recoverable.
At Braswell Murphy we focus on Serious Injury and Wrongful Death cases only. We believe that this allows us to focus our skills on a limited number of cases and provide the best outcome possible for our clients. This type of practice has allowed Braswell Murphy to become a leader in serious injury and wrongful death cases. Attorneys Kasie Braswell and Brian Murphy have been recognized for their highly effective client service by Super Lawyers ® and Mrs. Braswell is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum ® and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum ® (less than 1% of attorneys nationwide are selected for membership). If you, or a loved one has lost a family member due to an accident, you may contact Braswell Murphy by email or call us at 800-554-9260 to speak with a lawyer immediately. Calls are answered 24/7.