Comparing Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in Alaska


Personal injury accidents are an unfortunate consequence of negligent, reckless, and intentional misconduct, and sometimes they are so serious that they lead to fatalities. Motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, assaults, airplane crashes and many other situations can be deadly when people do not follow the law and comply with their duty to exercise reasonable care. If you recently lost someone close to you under such circumstances, it is a comfort to know that Alaska statutes provide legal remedies through wrongful death and survival actions.


Both forms of relief enable qualifying survivors to obtain compensation for their losses, though the details can be complicated. The reason is that, while there is just one statute covering them, there are significant differences that anAlaska wrongful death attorney can best tackle. Even so, an overview comparing wrongful death and survival actions should help you grasp the basics.


Alaska Laws on Fatal Personal Injury Accidents

Initially, it is helpful to learn how wrongful death and survival cases are similar. As mentioned, they are covered by the same statute, which provides for legal remedies when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of someone else. The decedent’s personal representative has standing to file a lawsuit to recover damages; this may be an individual named in the victim’s will or appointed by a probate court if the deceased did not have a will. The personal representative seeks monetary damages on behalf of the decedent’s:

  • Surviving spouse;
  • Children; and,
  • Other dependents who relied upon the victim for support.


If the deceased did not have a spouse, children, or other dependents, the personal representative can seek damages on behalf of the estate. Heirs would receive the proceeds of legal action.


Distinctions Between Alaska Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions

The key difference that may help you understand these two types of remedies comes down to damages. A wrongful death case is intended to provide compensation to surviving loved ones who are left to cope with unimaginable losses after the victim’s passing. You may qualify to recover for losses related to:

  • Wages and pecuniary benefits the deceased would have provided over the course of an average lifetime;
  • Other contributions and forms of support;
  • Education, guidance, and education; and,
  • Funeral and burial expenses.


A survival action is intended to pay damages for the losses that the victim suffers, from the moment of the accident to the point of death. As a result, if there was some time that passed, he or she may have experienced significant pain and suffering – and the personal representative can seek damages for these losses.


Discuss Options With an Alaska Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death and survival actions are obviously closely interconnected, but it takes a knowledgeable legal professional to handle the subtle differences. You may have legal options related to each of these remedies, and you want to maximize your compensation considering the tragic losses you have sustained. To learn more, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and advise you.