You may have heard the term “wrongful death claim” without truly understanding what it means. It is obvious that a “wrongful death claim” includes a victim’s death, but who brings such a claim against a defendant? How do you know if a death is wrongful or just an accident? What type of compensation is available for wrongful death and who collects it?
These questions are all good ones to pose to an attorney who focuses on wrongful death and personal injury, like those at Barber & Associates. Here are some facts about wrongful death cases that will help you understand this sometimes confusing area of the law.
What is Wrongful Death?
The term “wrongful death” applies to a death that is caused by someone else’s negligent actions. The person who causes the death does not have to intend to kill the victim but must have acted in a negligent way.
Some confusion may come about when discussing wrongful death because there is a difference in a criminal activity that leads to death and a civil wrongful death claim. Criminal activity, such as assault, that leads to death would be prosecuted by a district attorney under criminal law statutes and could result in jail time, fines, and other punishment.
Wrongful death suits are civil lawsuits. This means that, while criminal activity may or may not have taken place, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant caused the death of the victim and should have to pay damages to the surviving parties.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Alaska, the survivor of a wrongful death victim has two years, in most cases, to file a lawsuit. The survivor is defined as the person or persons responsible for the deceased’s estate. This is often a wife, parents, or children, although it can be the executor of an estate as well. Certain people have legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim, so it is important to understand who has that right before filing on behalf of a deceased victim.
How Can I Recover Wrongful Death Damages?
To receive compensation for wrongful death, it is very important that you have the assistance of attorneys who are knowledgeable about Alaska legal procedures. Call Barber & Associates today to discuss your case.