Anchorage Alaska Wrongful Death Attorney
“Wrongful death” is a type of lawsuit initiated by the surviving relatives or dependents of a deceased person against the wrongdoer who caused the death to occur. These lawsuits can be brought for wrongful acts ranging from a single act of momentary negligence or carelessness, to a pattern of intentional or reckless behavior.
Damages in wrongful death cases can vary significantly depending on whether the deceased person had a spouse or dependents.
Spouse or Dependents
Husbands, wives, children, and other dependents are known as statutory beneficiaries under Alaska’s wrongful death statute. Statutory beneficiaries can recover a wide spectrum of damages including the following:
Loss of assistance or services: in many cases the deceased would have provided assistance or services to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may be able to recover the cash value of this assistance from the time of death up to the ordinary life expectancy of the deceased.
Loss of consortium: spouses and children can recover for being deprived the benefits of care, comfort, and companionship for the loss of their family member.
Loss of pecuniary benefits: statutory beneficiaries may recover for losing an expected inheritance.
Punitive damages: punitive damages punish a wrongdoer for malicious or fraudulent activity that showed an intentional disregard for the safety of the deceased.
Grief and anguish: a jury may award the beneficiaries an amount to compensate them for their suffering due to their loss of a loved one.
Other losses: the surviving beneficiaries may be able to recover for medical, funeral and other expenses.
No Spouse or Dependents
When the deceased did not have spouses or dependents the estate of the deceased is usually limited to recovering pecuniary losses. This is equal to the reasonable estimation of the deceased’s estate if the deceased did not die (future expected earnings minus future expected spending), minus the actual value of the estate at the time of death.
Parental Right to Recovery
Although the surviving parents of a child are not technically statutory beneficiaries, parents are given extra rights to recovery under Alaska law. Parents may be able to recover for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages including loss of consortium (loss of society) and for grief and anguish.
Recovery for Pain and Suffering Prior to Death
Wrongful death cases often result from serious injuries that eventually, but not immediately, lead to death. In this situation the survivors may be able to recover for pain and suffering that was consciously experienced by the deceased prior to death, as well as medical expenses.
Contact an Anchorage Wrongful Death Attorney
Robert Stone Law Office LLC in Anchorage Alaska is dedicated to protecting the rights of surviving family members by seeking maximum compensation for wrongful deaths. Call to schedule a free consultation today.