Alleviate Your Concerns With These Answers to Common Injury Questions

While some degree of uncertainty is inevitable, the stress of the unknown associated with a personal injury case can be frustrating. Here, experienced injury attorney Ben Crittenden draws from his years of experience and knowledge of the law to address many of the most common concerns and questions. Find out what to expect from the legal system, how long your case will take, what type of compensation you may be able to obtain, and much more. Don’t see your question? Reach out to Ben today! Take a moment to fill out our online contact form to find the answers you need.

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  • What happens if I am a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car and the driver gets into a car accident?

    In June 2017, Governor Walker signed a bill that allowed Uber, Lyft, and other similar companies to start operating in Alaska. Within a week, Uber and Lyft began working in our state and providing a convenient and often useful service to the people of Alaska. However, as is the case with all motor vehicles, the potential for serious accidents and injuries exists.

    Alaska law requires that ridesharing companies conduct background checks and look at the driving records of potential drivers, but the state counts on these companies being self-regulating and does not ensure that these steps were taken. Yet, even if the state did make sure that these background checks were carried out, it would not prevent every crash.

    Accidents Will Happen Anyway and You Need to Know What to Do

    If you are an Uber or Lyft passenger and the vehicle in which you are traveling is involved in an accident then it is important to do the following, if you are physically able to do so:

    • Call the police.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene.
    • Record the names and contact information for any witnesses to the crash.
    • Save the information about the driver and the trip from your Uber or Lyft app.
    • Accept medical help.

    Additionally, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer.

    Who’s Liable?

    Who is liable—or legally responsible—depends on who caused the crash. If it was a driver other than the Uber or Lyft driver, then your claim would be against the other driver. However, if it was the Uber or Lyft driver who was negligent, then your claim would be against the Uber or Lyft driver.

    Generally, Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors. That means that if a driver is negligent then your legal claim is likely against the driver. However, it is important to know that the driver should be covered by the insurance policy held by Uber or Lyft. There also may be limited circumstances when you could also sue Uber or Lyft directly.

    You have a lot at stake. You have been hurt and the accident was not your fault. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you make a fair recovery after an Uber crash or another ridesharing accident. To learn more about your rights, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Together, we can work to protect the recovery that you deserve.

  • Who is at fault if a driver hits someone when backing up?

    As is the case after every accident, determining who is at fault is only possible after all of the evidence is considered. However, if you or your child have been hurt in this type of accident—known as a backover crash—then it is important to know how these accidents occur, who may be at fault, and how to protect your recovery.

    Common Causes of Backover Crashes

    Backover crashes typically happen in driveways and parking lots. As the term suggests, they occur when drivers are backing up or in reverse and they hit a pedestrian or bicyclist. The majority of backover accident victims are young children.

    While young children cannot appreciate the risk of being behind a motor vehicle, drivers can prevent backover crashes by:

    • Anticipating that someone may be behind the vehicle. Drivers should look carefully before putting the car in reverse and should proceed slowly so that they can stop before tragedy occurs. This requires a driver’s full attention and should not happen when a driver is distracted.
    • Taking care to check blind spots. Every vehicle—even a sedan—has blind spots that drivers just can’t see when they are in reverse. It is a driver’s responsibility to account for these blind spots.

    Some vehicles have technology installed to make backover crashes less likely. For example, rearview cameras and sensor based systems that detect people behind the vehicle may prevent some accidents. However, these technologies cannot prevent every backover accident.

    Who May Be Liable for Backover Injuries and Fatalities?

    Generally, there are two choices. The driver may be liable for the crash or the pedestrian or bicyclist who was hit may be responsible for the crash.

    While some crashes are just accidents that the pedestrian caused but did not intend, other crashes are caused by the driver’s negligence. If the driver failed to act like a reasonable driver would when backing up and that failure caused an accident and resulting injury or death, then the driver is liable.

    How to Protect Your Fair Recovery

    It is important to anticipate that the driver’s insurance company is going to argue that the accident was your fault or your child’s fault. You deserve to know the truth and to get the fair and just recovery that you deserve if the driver’s negligence caused the accident. Attorney Ben Crittenden will make sure that a thorough investigation is done and that your rights are protected. He will fight for your recovery of past, current and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain, suffering, and other damages. To learn more, please read a free copy of A Guide to Car Accidents in Alaska and contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
     

  • What should I do if I’ve been hurt in a car accident involving a government vehicle?

    Generally, states enjoy what is known as “sovereign immunity,” which means that they cannot be sued. However, the federal government, Alaska, and local municipalities have made exceptions to this general legal doctrine to allow people who have been hurt in car accidents and other specific situations to recover damages.

    The injuries that you suffer in a car crash with a government vehicle may be the same as you would suffer in any motor vehicle accident, but the rules for your recovery may be different. Accordingly, it is important to know what rules apply and how you can protect your right to a fair recovery.

    Get the Information You Need Before You File a Claim

    You have the right to sue the United States of America, the State of Alaska, the City of Anchorage, or another municipality if you are hurt in a car crash because of a negligent government employee. However, if the defendant is a government entity, then it is important to know that:

    • Your time frame for providing notice of your claim to the defendant may be shorter than it otherwise would be pursuant to the applicable statute of limitations.
    • Your damages may be capped and you may be prevented from pursuing punitive damages. For example, currently, personal injury claims against the State of Alaska are capped at $400,000 and punitive damages are not allowed.

    Special laws such as the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Alaska Tort Claims Act may apply.

    Get Legal Help Sooner Rather Than Later

    Since your time to file notice of your claim may be short, it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You can expect that the government defendant will be well represented by counsel. You deserve the same benefit. For more information about protecting your rights and getting the fair recovery that you deserve form the government, please start a live chat or call Attorney Ben Crittenden today.

  • How can I help my attorney obtain the maximum recovery for my car accident injuries?

    Attorney Ben Crittenden works hard to get each of his clients the fair and full recoveries that they deserve based on the unique facts of their cases and their individual injuries. Ben will be the one negotiating a settlement with the insurance company on your behalf or advocating for your recovery in an Alaska courtroom.

    You, however, are a vital part of your own recovery. You can work together with Ben to make sure that you get the recovery that you deserve.

    Here’s What to Do

    As a client of Ben’s you can:

    • Tell Ben the whole story about your accident—even the unflattering parts. This will allow him to develop a strong case on your behalf and to anticipate the defense’s arguments.
       
    • Be organized and provide all of the requested information. Certain records, such as medical records, may be necessary to prove your claim.
       
    • Communicate well. Return all calls and emails from your attorney, or others in his office, promptly.
       
    • Ask questions. You are a valuable part of your own legal team. The outcome of the case impacts your life. You deserve to know what your rights are, what reasonable compensation may be for your injuries, what obstacles you face in getting that compensation, and any other information that you want to know.
       
    • Stay off social media. Anything that you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms may be discovered by the defense and may be used against you in ways that you did not anticipate or intend.
       
    • Comply with your doctor’s orders. If you fail to do this, then the defendant may argue that you are partly to blame for your own injuries.

    Right now, in the aftermath of your car accident, everything may be confusing. However, you have the right to work with a lawyer whom you trust and one who will explain everything to you at each step of your claim. You and your lawyer are on the same team.

    Attorney Ben Crittenden is committed to working with you to help you get the fair recovery that you deserve. To learn more, please contact this law firm via this website or by phone at your earliest convenience.

  • How soon after a car accident should I contact an attorney?

    An attorney may not be the first person you contact after a car crash. At the scene of the accident, it is most important that you call 911 or make other arrangements for immediate medical attention and that you call your loved ones to let them know what happened. You have urgent and potentially life-threatening issues that should be taken care of right away.

    Contact a Car Crash Lawyer as Soon as You Can

    After you’ve called for medical help and let your family know that you’ve been involved in a crash then you may be wondering if it is time to call a lawyer.

    It is never too soon to call an attorney.

    There is no benefit to waiting to make the call, but there are many potential benefits to calling a lawyer as soon as you are physically able to do so. Those benefits include:

    • Getting advice about how to protect your rights. Everything that you say and do after a car crash can be important to your ultimate recovery. You’ve been through a traumatic event. You may be in physical pain and it can be challenging to know what to do to protect your rights. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with every step so that you don’t make a potentially costly mistake.
       
    • Acting quickly to preserve evidence. You are going to need evidence to prove who was liable for your accident and the extent of your injuries. It is easier to obtain and preserve evidence sooner rather than later. A car accident lawyer can help you identify what evidence is available and take care of that evidence so that is available to be used during settlement negotiations or in court.
       
    • Making a fair recovery more quickly. If you delay taking action, then your recovery will also be delayed. You may need money to pay medical bills, to replace lost income, and for your other damages quickly. Accordingly, it is important to take action by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible.

    If you’ve been hurt in a car crash, then we encourage you to take action today. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden today by phone or through this website to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • How do I know if I should accept an insurance settlement offer?

    There is no precise answer to the question of what constitutes a fair settlement when someone has been injured in a vehicle accident.

    Setting a Value on a Settlement Offer

    Unlike personal property damage, where it’s easy to calculate the value of damaged car parts, harm to the human body isn’t as easily determined. Injuries sometimes have long-term consequences, possibly impacting the victim’s future quality of life and earning potential. The accident may also cause mental and psychological issues that must be addressed. Factors that may impact the settlement offer include the victim’s:

    • Age and life expectancy.
    • Health prior to the accident.
    • Long-term impact on health.
    • Mental state prior to the accident.
    • Past earning history.
    • Future earning potential.
    • Employment history.
    • Physical and mental pain and suffering.
    • Relationship changes with spouse and children.
    • Reduced ability to enjoy life.

    Accepting a Settlement Offer

    A fair settlement offer should include the costs of your medical care, the damage to your vehicle, and any other expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. If you’ve been permanently injured, or if you’re in need of long-term care, you should also receive compensation for those anticipated long-term costs.

    You may think that the at-fault driver’s insurance company would have to cover all of your medical bills and pay a settlement to you, but that isn’t true. All of your medical bills must be paid out of the settlement funds you receive, which may leave little or nothing for your pain and suffering or lost wages. When you accept a settlement, the matter is typically closed forever afterward; it’s not possible to return to the court for a reassessment if you later realize that your settlement is too low.

    You Need an Attorney

    Unfortunately, the insurance company of the at-fault party will likely want to pay you as little as possible. Its first offer is therefore almost certain to be low. If you’re not sure that the insurance company is making a fair offer for your personal injury claim, you should speak with an attorney before you settle. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover everything you’re entitled to. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

  • How do I receive compensation for pain and suffering resulting from my vehicle accident?

    Pain and suffering resulting from a vehicle accident can last for years, or even decades. Therefore, it’s important to obtain a fair recovery that adequately compensates you for your injuries.

    Compensation for Pain and Suffering

    To receive compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained in a vehicle accident, you must prove the extent of your physical pain and emotional suffering. This will depend on your specific physical injuries, the emotional impact they have on you, and the effect they have on your daily activities. Pain and suffering may include:

    • Worry, shock, anxiety, or depression.
    • Difficulty sleeping.
    • Inability to engage with family.
    • Physical pain and discomfort, whether temporary or permanent.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life due to physical limitations.

    Valuing Pain and Suffering

    If your pain and suffering only lasts for a brief period of time, your demand for compensation should be relatively low. However, if your pain and suffering is expected to persist for years into the future, your recovery should be much higher. A couple of methods are commonly used to value damages resulting from pain and suffering:

    • The multiplier method. This frequently used method for evaluating pain and suffering damages requires multiplying actual damages (medical and therapy bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and property damage) by a particular number. The multiple chosen will depend upon the severity and duration of the injuries, and the types of pain and discomfort experienced.
    • The daily rate method. Using a daily rate calculation, a certain dollar value is assigned to each day a victim suffers from his vehicle accident injuries. The criteria used to choose the daily rate varies. One way it may be determined is to base the rate on the income you would have earned in a given day had you never been injured.

    You Need an Attorney

    Insurance companies will try to maximize their profits by paying you as little as possible for your recovery, so you need an experienced attorney to help you collect the damages you deserve. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.

  • Can I still receive compensation for my vehicle accident even if my injuries weren’t obvious immediately?

    Yes, you can. When you’ve been involved in a vehicle collision, your injuries may not be obvious right away. Provided that you haven’t settled your claim and signed a liability release with the insurance company, you may still receive compensation for delayed injuries. However, you will need to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident in order to receive compensation.

    Delayed Injury Symptoms

    A car crash can be a terrifying experience, resulting in a sudden release of adrenaline. This adrenaline rush can temporarily mask serious injuries that should be addressed by a medical professional. After the vehicle accident, physical and emotional symptoms may begin to surface, such as:

    • Headaches. A headache that begins after a vehicle accident may indicate whiplash, a brain injury, or a concussion. A severe headache may also signal post-traumatic stress disorder. Take note of the intensity and location of the pain, and report this information to your doctor.
    • Back pain. Pain in the back may indicate a herniated disc, whiplash, or soft-tissue injuries.
    • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs. Sensations of numbness and tingling frequently indicate a herniated disc that is putting pressure on spinal nerves.
    • Neck and shoulder pain. Neck and shoulder pain is frequently a sign of whiplash or a spinal injury such as a herniated disc.
    • Abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can indicate serious internal injuries, which may be fatal if left untreated. Internal bleeding frequently causes headaches, dizziness, and severe bruises. If you experience abdominal pain after an accident, seek medical attention immediately.
    • Emotional pain and suffering. The emotional trauma of a vehicle accident can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD may include anxiety, depression, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as your injury symptoms appear. Once you’ve obtained treatment for your injuries, you should pursue compensation for the damages you’ve sustained. An experienced attorney can help to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

  • What should I bring to my free consultation?

    If you need to consult with an attorney regarding a personal injury claim, you should provide documentation that helps him better understand your case. Gather together any documents related to your accident, and take them with you to your initial consultation.

    Documents You’ll Need During Your Free Consultation

    • A list of questions. Before your meeting, make some notes outlining your legal problem. Write down any questions you can think of regarding your case and the law firm ahead of time, to ensure that you don’t forget.
       
    • The police report. Bring a copy of the police report from your vehicle accident. This will help your attorney better understand how your injuries occurred, and it will provide him with a list of witnesses he can contact.
       
    • Insurance information. Give the attorney a copy of your automobile insurance declarations page or coverage certificate, so he can see the types of coverage you have purchased, as well as your policy limits. Also provide your medical or disability insurance policy or coverage certificate, along with any other policies you own, such as veterans insurance. If you receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits, you should bring along a copy of that card, as well. This will help your attorney pursue the insurance benefits you need. Also, provide the name and phone number of any insurance adjustors you’ve spoken with, and any correspondence you’ve received from any insurer regarding the accident.
       
    • Medical records. If you called an ambulance after your collision, provide your attorney with the name and address of the ambulance service. Give him the name and address of the emergency room you visited, the dates you were admitted to the emergency room and hospital, and the name and address of any doctors or chiropractors you have visited.

    You Need an Attorney

    When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, the more useful information you can provide to your attorney, the better prepared he will be to help you with your case. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.
     

     

  • What happens when a driver causes an accident due to a medical condition?

    A pre-existing medical condition can negatively impact a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. In Alaska, the defense of sudden medical emergency has been allowed against a claim of negligence per se. If the driver is unaware that he has a medical condition, and if that medical condition leads to an accident, he may be exempt from liability due to the sudden emergency doctrine. To use this defense, the driver must demonstrate that he was unaware of the collision risk stemming from his medical condition. If a driver is aware that he has a medical condition, and if that medical condition was the cause of his accident, he may be held liable for the collision.

    Sudden Medical Emergency Defense

    A driver who wishes to use the sudden medical emergency defense generally must prove the following:

    • The driver suddenly lost consciousness prior to the accident. If a vehicle operator experiences symptoms that indicate a medical emergency, he should stop driving, rather than endangering himself and others by continuing to drive. However, if the onset of symptoms is so sudden that the driver doesn’t have time to react to the medical emergency, he won’t be held liable.
    • The medical emergency that caused the accident was unforeseeable. If the driver had a history of the medical condition which led to the collision, he is unlikely to succeed in using the sudden medical emergency defense. This is because he had reasons to suspect that he might suffer a medical emergency while driving.
    • The loss of consciousness caused the driver to lose control over the vehicle. The driver’s medical condition must have led directly to his loss of consciousness, which in turn resulted in the collision.

    Relevant Medical Conditions

    Medical conditions that may cause a driver to lose control over his vehicle include:

    • Heart disease. Weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath caused by heart disease can increase the risk of losing consciousness.
    • Diabetic shock. Diabetic shock is triggered by severe low blood sugar, and it can cause the driver of the vehicle to faint.
    • Seizures. Seizures may be caused by brain infections, epilepsy, stroke, and high blood pressure.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a driver who blames the collision on a medical condition, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to fight a sudden medical emergency defense. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.