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         When a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased may bring a “wrongful death” action.  Wrongful death actions are governed by Alaska Statute 09.55.580.  If a loved one dies and a wrongful death action is contemplated, the analysis is similar to other personal injury actions.  The burden of proof is the same as a personal injury action and the responsibility to prove negligence on the part of the defendant rests with the plaintiff.  Any suit must be brought within two years of the death.  Any recovery in a wrongful death action is for the surviving spouse, children or other dependants.  In the event that there are is not a spouse, children or dependants, then a wrongful action may still be brought by the personal representative of the deceased though recovery is limited to actual economic loss.  There is no recovery for non-economic injuries (loss of consortium) in the event that there is no spouse, children or dependants.              

         If a relative or loved one has died and you believe the death is a result of another person’s wrongful act or omission, you should speak with an attorney experienced in bringing wrongful death actions as soon as possible.  It takes time to arrange the appointment of a personal representative and to evaluate any potential claim.


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