What Is a Wrongful Death?

Whenever someone dies in an accident, it can be difficult to assign blame.  After all, most people have no intention of harming someone else when they take actions that lead to a fatal accident.  However, under the law, certain types of accidents can be deemed as wrongful deaths, depending on their cause.  If your loved one has been lost to a fatal injury caused by an accident, it is important to know if you have the right to recover compensation from the person or entity that caused the death.

Accidental Death vs. Wrongful Death

It is sometimes difficult to understand the difference between accidental death and wrongful death.  In both cases, a victim dies as the result of someone else’s actions.  However, the law makes a distinction between deaths that are purely accidental and those that are the result of negligence on the part of another person, company, or agency.

In general, the standard for separating accidental and wrongful death is one of negligence.  If a person’s death occurred through an act that was avoidable or the result of carelessness, it may be deemed a wrongful death.  If the death occurred through no one else’s fault, it may be deemed accidental.

As an example, if your loved one was driving and fell asleep, running off the road, and suffering fatal injuries, that is usually an accident.  The injuries were not caused by someone else’s negligence; it was simply a tragic event that no one can really be blamed for.  On the other hand, if someone served your loved one alcohol when he or she was clearly intoxicated, and the victim then suffered a fatal crash, the situation might be deemed a wrongful death.  The person serving the alcohol was negligent in allowing the victim to drink to the point of intoxication and then allowing that person to drive without trying to intervene.

Collecting Compensation for Wrongful Death

Under the law, the families of victims of wrongful death may be entitled to collect compensation.  The amount of this compensation depends on many factors, including the age of the victim, earnings of the victim at the time of death (or potential for future earnings), number of dependents, and the level of negligence displayed by the person or entity who caused the wrongful death.  Individuals, companies, organizations, and agencies can all be sued for wrongful death.

If you believe that your loved one died as a result of someone’s negligence, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney immediately.  There is a statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim, so you should act quickly.

At Barber & Associates, we have been representing Alaska families whose loved ones have suffered wrongful death for many years.  We have the experience to evaluate your claim and help you seek the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.  Call us today to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you get justice for your family.

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