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This Is What You Need to Know About Filing Suit for Wrongful Death in Alaska

Losing a loved one is always a difficult experience to endure. The sense of grief and loss is overwhelming. These feelings can be exacerbated even further if your loved one died as a result of another’s wrongdoing.

While no amount of money can make up for losing a loved one, a wrongful death suit can help make sure that justice is served and your family is taken care of.

Here are some of the details you should be aware of:

Wrongful Death and Survival Claims

Under AS 09.55.580 and AS 09.55.570, when someone dies as a result of the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representatives of the decedent may take legal action against the negligent party. You may file a wrongful death suit against the negligent party in order to recover losses for both of the following:

  • Wrongful Death - AS 09.55.580
    • The harm your loved one suffered after an injury caused by someone else while they were still alive, and
  • Survival Claim - AS 09.55.570
    • Any losses you incurred as a result of the death of your loved one.

The aforementioned are two separate claims against the negligent party and they must be decided separately. In addition, there are several other types of damages you may be able to recover as a result of the loss, including:

  • Loss of pecuniary benefits
    • Beneficiaries can recover compensation for losing an expected inheritance.
  • Lost wages
    • The decedent’s spouse and children can recover damages for wage earnings that your loved one would have received if he or she was still alive.
  • Costs related to the decedent’s injuries and passing
    • You may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, emergency treatment, funeral, and burial costs.
  • Grief and anguish
    • It’s possible to recover damages for psychological harm as a result of the death.
  • Lost child and spousal support
    • If the decedent would have supported you financially, you may be entitled to compensation that you probably would have received if your loved one survived.
  • Lost consortium
    • The decedent’s spouse and children can recover funds for losing care, comfort, and guidance as a result of the death.
  • Pain and suffering before the death
    • If your loved one was in pain and was suffering before he or she passed away, you may be able to recover damages.
  • Punitive damages
    • If the negligent party exhibited willful disregard for your loved one’s safety, you may have the right to recover punitive damages.

If the Decedent Had No Dependents

Damages may be awarded directly to the estate if the decedent did not have any dependents. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the estate’s recovery will be limited to pecuniary losses (losses that can be measured in financial terms).

To calculate the pecuniary losses, subtract the estate’s actual value at the time of death from the projected future value of the estate if the decedent had survived.

Statute of Limitations

In Alaska, the statute of limitations for wrongful death (the amount of time you’re allowed to file suit) is two years from the date of the death. If you wait longer than two years from the date of the death to file suit, your case will likely be thrown out.

We’re Here to Help

If your loved one lost their life as a result of another’s wrongdoing, we’re here to help. We have helped many others in similar situations, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office right away with any questions you may have.

Call Farnsworth & Vance today at (907) 290-2576 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

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