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.

  • Page 1
  • Do I have legal options if a pet causes a distracted driver to hit me?

    Woman driving a car with her pet dog in her lapMany people consider a pet another member of the family. The family dog can be an important part of their life, and they frequently include the animal in family activities. This can include running errands or taking trips with a pet in the car.

    According to a AAA Foundation for Safety study, approximately 84 percent of pet owners say they drive with their pets on a variety of trips. However, only 16 percent of those drivers use an animal restraint system in the car. This can be a problem when drivers become distracted by their pets. And they do become distracted—the same study revealed that more than half of those people admitted to playing with their pet, offering treats, or even letting the pet sit in their lap while driving.

    While the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not provide statistics specific to pet distraction, distracted driving in general is a significant issue on our roads. In 2015, there were 391,000 people injured and 3,477 killed in accidents involving distracted driving. The NHTSA website even notes a case in which a Utah driver became distracted by her dog, crossed the road’s center line, and crashed head-on into a county sheriff’s vehicle.

    When a Distracted Pet Owner Has Caused Your Injuries in Alaska

    Just like a driver who texts, puts on makeup, eats, or engages in any other behavior that takes his attention away from the road, a distracted pet owner can cause serious accidents and significant injuries. In Alaska, there are no laws that specifically state drivers may not travel with pets in the car or that require pet owners to restrain their pets while in a vehicle. However, accident victims do have the ability to demand the person responsible for their car accident make them whole. A personal injury claim could hold the at-fault driver accountable and could provide compensation for:

    • Medical bills.
    • Lost wages.
    • Future medical bills.
    • Future lost wages.
    • Property damage.
    • Pain and suffering.

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident and you suspect the other driver was distracted by a pet, you may be eligible to file a claim. Even if you aren’t sure of your rights, take care to protect yourself and your family. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible and avoid speaking with insurance adjustors until you’ve talked with an experienced attorney.

    At the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, personal injury lawyer Ben Crittenden represents accident victims all over Alaska, offering personal attention and effective guidance during this difficult time. Request a free copy of Ben’s book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more about your legal rights and options after a crash, or call our Anchorage office to speak directly with Ben.

  • I’ve injured my hand in a car accident. Can I recover compensation?

    Applying a bandage to an injured hand and wristMany different types of injuries can occur during a vehicle accident, and even seemingly minor injuries can have a significant effect on your physical and emotional health, as well as your ability to go about your normal life and perform your job.

    Why Hand and Wrist Injuries Are Different

    While any injury can be devastating, a serious injury to the hand or wrist can be especially painful and frustrating. We use these structures constantly, and the loss of use can make even simply daily tasks difficult.

    Additionally, there are 27 bones that make up the hand and wrist, in addition to many tendons and ligaments that provide us strength and flexibility. This makes them complex and, in places, delicate structures. Injury to any part can affect the function of the larger whole, and it is important to address the injury properly to avoid further complications or lasting damage.

    Common Types of Crash-Related Hand Injuries

    It is common for car accident victims to experience hand injuries. Often, drivers and passengers brace themselves for impact, putting their hands out or covering themselves. Flying debris can also strike or penetrate the hand, causing significant injury. Some of the most common hand and wrist injuries include:

    • Broken bones.
    • Joint dislocation.
    • Stretched or torn ligaments.
    • Lacerations.
    • Nerve damage.
    • Amputation.

    It is important to seek medical care right away after an accident if you experience any symptoms of pain, discomfort, or deformity. Depending on the severity of the injury, treating these problems can require extensive medical care, including surgery, injections, physical rehabilitation, medication, and more. Addressing injuries as soon as possible can improve outcomes and promote a faster recovery.

    Compensation After an Alaska Car Accident Hand Injury

     It is possible to obtain medical care and compensation if you suffer a hand or wrist injury in a car accident caused by another person’s carelessness. In Alaska, accident victims may be able to recover compensation for:

    Protect Your Health With Help From an Alaska Injury Lawyer

    Even if you aren’t sure if you are able to file a legal claim, if you’ve suffered injuries in car accident, seek the advice of an experienced Alaska personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you both secure the compensation you need to move forward, as well as protect that award from insurance companies, hospitals, and others who may seek to be reimbursed for more than their fair share. Call the Anchorage office of the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about who we are and how we may be able to help.

  • What is a medical lien and how does it impact my car accident recovery?

    Your first priority after a car accident should be to get the medical care that you need. Medical costs can quickly add up, however, even if you have health insurance. For a variety of reasons, you may be unable to pay for the medical care that you need.

    But You May Be Able to Get Medical Care Anyway

    The hospital or doctor who is treating you may agree to provide you with medical care in return for putting a lien on your eventual car accident settlement or court recovery. In other words, you will receive the medical care that you need now and the hospital or the doctor will later be paid out of the money that you eventually recover for your injury claim.

    According to Alaska law, the hospital or doctor may have a lien against your recovery that includes:

    • The reasonable value of the services provided before the date of the settlement or court recovery.
    • The hospital or medical provider’s costs or reasonable attorney fees as allowed by the court.

    Typically, the hospital or doctor will notify you of a lien in writing before your case is decided. The lien must describe the exact services that were provided and the amount of money that the hospital or doctor expects to be paid.

    Know What to Expect Before Your Case Is Resolved

    Your attorney should know about all of the medical care that you have received as a result of your accident injuries and how that care was or will be paid for by you. If there is a medical lien against your future recovery, then you can be confident that the hospital or doctor will make the lien known so that it can be paid in a timely way.

    Liens can be complicated. You want to make sure that they are paid as required by law, but that you do not overpay. Your lawyer can make sure that your liens are paid and that your recovery is maximized. To learn more, please contact attorney Ben Crittenden for a free, no-obligation consultation about how you can get the medical care that you need and the recovery that you deserve after an Alaska car crash.

  • What should I do after a hit and run accident?

    It was the other driver’s decisions that put you in the situation you currently face. He or she was negligent and unlawful by leaving the scene of the crash. Unfortunately, it's now up to you to take the correct actions necessary for protecting your legal rights and financial recovery.

    Start at the Scene of the Crash—and Continue

    If you're physically able to take action, then it's important to do the following right after the accident:

    • Call the police immediately. Provide the dispatcher with the location of your accident and as detailed a description as possible of the vehicle that left the scene of the accident.
    • Stay at the scene of the crash. Write down the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses. Ask them if they saw the vehicle that left the scene; if they got the license plate number of it; and if they can provide a description of the vehicle and possibly the driver.
    • Take pictures. Make sure to capture photographic evidence of the general accident scene and of the specific damage to your vehicle.
    • Call your insurance company and report the accident. Don't speculate about the cause of the crash. Instead, simply report the date, time, and location of the crash.

    After you leave the scene of the accident, it's critical to get prompt medical attention and to speak with a lawyer about your rights.

    Uninsured Motorist Coverage May Help You

    Alaska law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to car insurance purchasers. You may choose not to carry a UM policy, but you need to have clarification of this decision in writing. This choice is made when you purchase insurance coverage and not at the time you're involved in a hit and run car crash.

    If you have UM coverage on an existing policy in effect at the time of your crash, your insurance company may be responsible for paying your injury damages.

    Contact an Experienced Car Crash Lawyer Today

    It can be difficult to recover from a hit and run accident. Even if you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may now be an adversarial party trying to pay you as little as possible for your claim.

    It's important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can protect your rights and get you the fair and just recovery you deserve. Please contact Attorney Ben Crittenden today to learn more about your rights or to schedule a free initial consultation.


  • How much will future medical care cost after an auto accident?

    The cost of future medical care, including medications, is difficult to predict, yet it is very important to anticipate.

    When you resolve your car accident claim, either through an insurance settlement or a court verdict, the amount that you recover is going to be your total compensation for your accident injuries. That means that you will not be able to recover additional medical expenses in the future, even if these expenses were a direct result of your accident.

    You Need to Accurately Predict Your Future Medical Expenses Now

    Estimating your future needs can be challenging, because you don’t know how effective your treatment will be or the cost of treatment that has not yet happened.

    Typically, a team of professionals will be involved in determining the value of the medical care and medications that you will need in the future. This team will include:

    • Doctors. Your physicians may be able to predict with reasonable certainty the extent of your future medical treatment. This could include things such as hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors’ visits, rehabilitation therapies, and medications.
    • An economist. An economist may be able to provide information about the future cost of medical treatment and prescription drugs. While no one can give a definitive statement about what a medication or medical treatment may cost in the future, economists know how to study market trends and other factors that can help determine a reasonable value of future health care costs.

    Your attorney will then take the information provided by this team of experts and use it in settlement negotiations or in court to help you get the fair compensation that you need for your future medical expenses.

    You may need ongoing medical care for a short term or for the rest of your life. Either way, you deserve to make a full and fair recovery. Please contact attorney Ben Crittenden today via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation about your rights and about your potential recovery.

  • The insurance company is offering me a quick settlement. Should I take it?

    The promise of a quick settlement offer may come as a relief. Your car accident has left you with injuries and expenses, and the insurance company is offering you money to help you pay your bills. However, settlement offers that come quickly after auto accidents are not always fair settlements.

    The Potential Danger of a Quick Settlement

    The insurance company may be counting on the fact that you need money quickly. Accordingly, it may offer you a fast settlement with the promise that you will have the money quickly and that you will not have the headache of a pending settlement claim or lawsuit.

    However, there are likely a few things that the insurance company is not telling you. Specifically, a quick settlement can be dangerous because:

    • You may not yet know the full extent of your damages. You should only settle your claim after you know the full extent of your injuries. This means that your doctor has made a diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis. With this information, you can find out what your accident injuries will really cost you by getting a realistic estimate of your future medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other damages.
    • Once you agree to the settlement it is binding. The settlement contract will prevent you from pursuing any other financial claim for accident injuries.

    For these reasons, it is important to get all of the information that you can prior to settling your claim. A fast settlement may appear to be the easiest way to resolve your claim, but in the long run it may not be the best settlement for you.

    Talk to a Lawyer Before You Agree to Any Settlement

    There is no magic time when it is suddenly right for all car accident victims to settle their claims. Instead, the time is right when you are offered fair compensation for all of your accident injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you identify a fair settlement and make sure that the insurance company does not pressure you into a quick settlement that does not fairly compensate you for all of your injuries.

    There are ways to make the wait easier. For example, your healthcare providers may agree to defer payment until your claim is resolved.

    If you would like to speak with a lawyer who will help you get the fast and fair settlement that you deserve, please contact attorney Ben Crittenden via this website or by phone for a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • What should I expect when I call a car accident lawyer?

    You’ve suffered a significant trauma. The car crash that left you injured was shocking and knowing what to do after the crash can be overwhelming. You want to do what you can to protect your recovery, but you don’t want any more surprises.

    Here’s What Will Happen When You Call the Law Office of Ben Crittenden

    When you contact this office, you will not be just another number. You will not enter some impersonal queue of potential clients. Instead, you can expect to receive personal attention beginning with our first phone call.

    If you’ve been hurt, then you should expect personal attention from the attorney—and the law office—that you hire to help you through this difficult time. At our office:

    • Ben will get to know you. He wants to know not only what happened in the accident but also how the accident has affected your life.
    • Ben will want to know your goals. Together, you will discuss your goals in filing a lawsuit and what realistic compensation you can expect.
    • Ben will fight hard for your fair and just recovery. Ben wants to know your goals for filing a claim so that he can fight hard to get you the compensation that you deserve through a settlement with the insurance company or through a court verdict.

    Calling a lawyer does not have to be a scary or an intimidating task. Instead, it is your chance to contact an advocate who is going to be on your side as you navigate your road to recovery. You are contacting an ally who wants to hear from you.

    Woman calling for her attorney's help after car crashYou Have Nothing to Lose

    Attorney Ben Crittenden would be pleased to offer you a free consultation and to meet with you personally to discuss your rights. If you have a car accident case and you decide to hire Ben to represent you, then you will not have to pay an hourly fee. Instead, Ben works on a contingency fee basis and is only paid a percentage of your recovery.

    You deserve to have someone on your side who will fight for your legal and financial recovery while you concentrate on your physical recovery. To learn more, please call us or contact us via this website today.

  • 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.