Wrongful death claims are brought against a defendant when an individual dies due to the defendant’s negligence. Alaska’s wrongful death statute specifies those individuals permitted to file wrongful death claims, the damages that may be recovered, and the statute of limitations for these claims.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In Alaska, the family or estate of the deceased may bring a wrongful death case to seek compensation for the negligent act that resulted in death. The case must be initiated by a personal representative of the victim’s estate. Damages may be pursued on behalf of both the estate and the individual survivors of the deceased. When damages are awarded, they will first be paid to the deceased’s spouse, children, or other dependents. If there are no survivors, compensation will be distributed directly to the estate.
How Compensation Is Determined
In wrongful death cases, damages are typically awarded as a single monetary amount. Many of these damages are not economic in nature, so the court must consider the extent of harm suffered by the deceased’s loved ones. Numerous factors may impact the value of a wrongful death claim, including:
- Medical expenses resulting from accident-related injuries.
- Burial and funeral costs.
- Loss of the deceased’s income, services, and child or spousal support.
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to death.
- Loss of companionship and consortium.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
A statute of limitations establishes a time limit for filing a claim in court. In Alaska, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date the death occurred. The statute may be delayed, or tolled, if the statutory beneficiary is a minor. However, due to Alaska’s statute of repose, any wrongful death claim must still be brought within ten years of the cause of death.
You Need an Attorney
Failure to file your wrongful death claim within Alaska’s statute of limitations may result in having your claim barred. When you’ve lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, you need professional legal representation. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.