Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

In an Alabama car accident claim, a plaintiff is required to prove the damages he or she claims to have sustained in the accident. Depending on the type of case and the injuries involved, there are different types of damages a plaintiff may be able to recover. One type is compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the plaintiff’s injuries and other losses. Examples of compensatory damages include medical expenses, property damages, and lost income. They can also include compensation for a plaintiff’s pain and suffering and emotional distress.Another type of damages is punitive damages, which are available only in certain claims. Punitive damages are meant to deter harmful conduct and to punish the defendant. Since the purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, an award of punitive damages is largely within the discretion of the jury. However, punitive damages are only available in Alabama in wrongful death claims or in claims in which the plaintiff proves that the defendant consciously or deliberately engaged in oppression, fraud, wantonness, or malice.

Plaintiffs who are injured in an accident are entitled to compensation for their injuries, despite any preexisting conditions or unique conditions. In other words, the defendant takes the plaintiff “as is.” That means that even if a plaintiff’s injuries are more severe than the average person’s would be, the defendant is still liable for all of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages caused by the defendant’s negligence.

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Chemical exposure can result in serious illness or even death. Over the past few years, researchers with the International Agency for the Research of Cancer have been studying the effects that Benzene has on humans. According to a recent news report, the agency’s conclusions regarding the carcinogenic properties of the chemical were grossly understated, and the chemical may present a much higher risk of cancer than originally thought. Such exposure may be the basis for an Alabama wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.Benzene is a colorless or light-yellow liquid that is frequently used in manufacturing a wide range of products across the United States. For example, benzene is routinely used in the manufacture of plastics, nylons, resins, and synthetic fibers. It is also used to create certain lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, and pesticides. Despite the dangers of benzene, it is listed as one of the top 20 most commonly used chemicals in the United States.

The Risks that Benzene Presents

According to the Center for Disease Control, those most in danger of experiencing the effects of benzene are those who work in the manufacturing industry, especially those who use the solvents containing the chemical. However, benzene is also found in car exhaust, tobacco smoke, and industrial emissions. Thus, people who spend large amounts of time in and around gas stations likely have more exposure to benzene. People have also suffered benzene exposure when it has leaked from underground storage tanks and contaminated well-water supplies.

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When someone’s negligence results in another’s death, the estate of the accident victim is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party through an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit. Alabama Code section 6-5-410 governs Alabama wrongful death lawsuits, and provides that any person or corporation can be liable for the death of another caused by any “wrongful act, omission, or negligence.”Alabama’s wrongful death statute is unique in several ways. First, as noted above, the family of the deceased is not entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. Instead, only the personal representative of the deceased can initiate the claim. Of course, there is no law preventing a family member from being named as a personal representative.

The second way in which Alabama handles wrongful death cases differently is the availability of damages. In most states, wrongful death plaintiffs can pursue compensatory damages for the loss of the deceased. However, Alabama provides only for punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to accomplish two goals: to punish the defendant who was found to have acted negligently, and to deter similar conduct by other parties. Any punitive damages awarded in an Alabama wrongful death lawsuit are paid to the heirs of the deceased, and are not made a part of the estate, as is the case in other states.

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