Alaska Wrongful Death Laws

The Alaska Wrongful Death Statute can be found at Alaska Stat. § 09.55.580, et seq.  Pursuant to the Act, if the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representatives of the deceased can maintain an action against the person who committed the wrongful act or omission, provided the deceased might have maintained an action for such wrongful act, or omission, if it had not caused his or her death. 

The action shall be commenced by the personal representative within two years after the death[i].  The amount recovered as damages shall be exclusively for the benefit of the decedent’s dependents.  If the decedent is not survived by any dependents, the amount recovered as damages shall be administered as other personal property of the decedent.  The amount shall be distributed among the beneficiaries only after payment of all costs and expenses of suit and debts and expenses of administration.  The amount recoverable shall be limited to those which are the natural and proximate consequence of the negligent or wrongful act or omission of another. 

The damages awarded shall be the amount the court may consider as fair and just.  The court considers all the facts and circumstances and fixes the award which will fairly compensate for the injury resulting from the death.  While determining the award, the court considers the following factors:

1) deprivation of the expectation of pecuniary benefits to the beneficiary or beneficiaries, without regard to age thereof, that would have resulted from the continued life of the deceased and without regard to probable accumulations or what the deceased may have saved during the lifetime of the deceased;
2) loss of contributions for support;
3) loss of assistance or services irrespective of age or relationship of decedent to the beneficiary or beneficiaries;
4) loss of consortium;
5) loss of prospective training and education;
6) medical and funeral expenses.

An action for wrongful death does not abate by the death of the defendant.  Likewise, the death of a beneficiary or beneficiaries before judgment does not affect the amount of damages recoverable[ii].   

 

[i] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.580.

[ii] Id.


Inside Alaska Wrongful Death Laws