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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  • Who pays for dog bite injuries?

    dog bite attorney snarling dogWhen you or a family member is bitten by a dog, you may be hesitant to file a claim—particularly if the dog owner happens to be a relative, friend, or neighbor. While that person likely feels terrible about what happened, sympathy doesn’t pay medical bills, and you should still pursue damages for the injuries you suffered.

    It might be helpful to remember that most dog bite injury claims are paid out by the dog owner’s rental or homeowner’s insurance.

    If they don’t have insurance, you still have a right to pursue a claim. If you feel bad about bringing such a claim, remember that if the person responsible for your injuries doesn’t pay for your medical bills and lost income, it will be up to you to do it.

    In either case, having an experienced attorney on your side can ensure you recover all the damages to which you are entitled.

    Damages You Might Be Able to Recover

    Dog bites and dog attacks can result in serious, sometimes life-changing injuries. Some of the potential damages might include the following:

    • Costs for current medical treatment
    • Costs for future medical treatment, including rehabilitation and physical therapy
    • Lost wages if you were unable to work while recovering from your injuries
    • Damages for disfigurement or scarring
    • Pain, suffering, and emotional stress
    • Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the aftermath of the bite or attack

    How a Dog Bite and Dog Attack Attorney Can Help

    Insurance companies are excellent at ensuring they pay you as little as possible for your injuries, and you shouldn’t try to negotiate with them on your own. Having an experienced attorney in your corner after a dog bite will help ensure that you recover the compensation you need to heal from your injuries and get on with your life. Working with an attorney can also provide a buffer between you and the dog's owner, particularly if that person is someone you know.

    You can reach the Law Office of Ben Crittenden by calling 907-885-6032 or by taking a moment to fill out our online contact form to request a free initial consultation.

  • Did the police use excessive force in my arrest?

    police using excessive force during an arrestBy law, police officers are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to protect themselves or citizens from harm. They can also use reasonable force when they are trying to arrest someone. Unfortunately, some police officers abuse their power by using excessive rather than reasonable force, which can result in a member of the public being hurt.

    This excessive force is referred to as police brutality. Identifying excessive force usually comes down to the following:

    • What another police officer might have done in a similar situation
    • Whether the person harmed by the excessive force had a weapon
    • Whether the police officer believed that excessive force was necessary to protect themselves or the public

    These circumstances are weighed heavily in making the determination of police brutality. For example, if someone dies as a result of a police officer’s actions, but the police officer genuinely believed there was a physical threat to their safety or the safety of the public, this may not be police brutality. But if the person hadn’t posed a physical threat to others and the police officer’s actions caused unnecessary harm, this could be a case of police brutality.

    Examples of Police Brutality

    Police brutality doesn’t always involve a weapon. Depending on the circumstances, the following could be considered police brutality:

    • Violence or a physical attack by the police officer on a civilian
    • A strip search
    • Restraints
    • Botched raids

    If an officer used excessive force on you, humiliated you, or otherwise acted inappropriately, and you suffered an injury because of it, you might have a police brutality case.

    Why You Need an Experienced Attorney

    Although police brutality and other types of police misconduct are against the law, you can expect that any police department against which you bring a case is going to fight it. An experienced police brutality attorney can advise you of your rights and conduct a full investigation to prove that you were a victim of excessive force. Call attorney Ben Crittenden at 907-885-6032 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • Can nursing home neglect cause an elderly resident’s fall injury?

    elderly woman fall down

    Thousands of nursing home residents are injured in accidental falls every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than half of all nursing home residents fall each year. If the fall happens because of neglectful nursing home staff, that person or the facility could be held liable.

    Ways Nursing Home Negligence Can Lead to Falls

    When older adults fall, the consequences can be serious. Falls often cause hip fractures, and the complications that can arise as a result can be life-threatening.

    There are many potential ways that the negligence of a nursing home facility or its staff could cause a resident to fall. Nursing homes are designed to meet the medical needs of residents, many of whom may have poor balance or cognitive difficulties. When minimum standards are not followed, there can be disastrous consequences for residents.

    Some of the most common issues include:

    • Understaffing. If there are not enough staff members to take care of residents, this can lead to residents taking matters into their own hands—such as trying to move when it isn’t safe to do so, leading to a fall.
    • Undertraining. When nursing home staff are not trained properly, they may neglect patients. Poor supervision of patients can lead to an increased risk of falls.
    • Failing to properly assess fall risk. Patients—especially those who have fallen in the past—should be screened regularly to assess their chances of increased falls.
    • Unsafe facility. This can include items such as a lack of handrails, slippery floors, exposed electrical cords, and inadequate lighting.
    • Medication errors. From providing patients with the wrong kind or amount of medication to failing to take into account the physical side effects of a medication change, nursing homes must be responsible for administering medication properly.

    Contact a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney

    When your elderly loved one suffers a fall at a nursing home, an experienced attorney can help you conduct an investigation to find out what happened. If nursing home neglect is discovered to have caused the fall, your loved one could be entitled to damages. Protect their fair recovery by contacting Ben Crittenden today.

  • How do I report a dog bite injury in Anchorage?

    aggressive dog ready to bite

    Even the sweetest dog is capable of biting under certain circumstances, as reflected in the millions of people who are bitten by dogs every year. Dog bite injuries can be bad enough to have significant medical and legal ramifications, so it’s crucial to take the proper steps if it happens to you.

    Reporting a Dog Bite

    You are required by law to report the dog bite to Anchorage Animal Care and Control by going online or calling 343-8119 to make a report. The animal responsible for the bite will need to be quarantined to be observed for signs of rabies. Filing a report can also help prevent future dog bites. Animal Control's investigation into the incident may provide useful details for your case.

    What to Do After a Dog Bite

    Notify the dog owner about the bite, but do not engage in conversation about your injuries or what happened prior to the injury. Exchange information, much as you would do after a traffic accident. Get their name and contact information. If there are any witnesses to the bite, get their contact information as well. If there is a lawsuit or insurance claim, this information will be crucial. Try to remember as many details of the incident as possible and write them down before you forget. This should include the type of dog, where the incident happened, what you were doing when it happened, and where the dog came from.

    If possible, take photographs of your injuries. As soon as you are able, stop the bleeding with a clean cloth and wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. Use an antibacterial cream if you have it, then apply a sterile dressing. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor. Ask the physician about a tetanus booster and/or rabies vaccination.

    Contacting an Attorney

    Depending on the severity of the dog bite, you may need to contact an attorney regarding your injury. Insurance companies will do their best to pay out the least amount possible, and an experienced attorney can help with negotiations to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.

  • How does a drunk driving criminal case differ from a civil lawsuit?

    civil case vs criminal case keyboardIf you are injured in an accident with a drunk driver, the drunk driver will likely face criminal charges for driving while under the influence. This could result in fines, license suspension, and jail time. But these do nothing to compensate you for your injury. After the accident, you might have expensive medical bills and be unable to work. If you want to hold the drunk driver responsible, you will have to file a civil case to sue for damages.

    The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases

    Under criminal law, the district attorney—on behalf of the government—is usually the one who prosecutes the accused. Prosecution does not usually include any financial compensation for the victim unless the court decides to award punitive damages. The court may award punitive damages in cases where the behavior of the at-fault party was deemed to be especially reckless

    The victim must sue in civil court to recover damages as a result of the drunk driver’s actions. If the drunk driver is found to be responsible for the victim’s injuries, they will need to pay damages to help victims recover financially. Hiring an attorney can help ensure the appropriate steps are taken so you get the money you deserve.

    Potential Damages You Could Recover in a Civil Case

    The amount of compensation to which you may be entitled is usually calculated by adding together your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include your medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning potential, as well as property damage to your vehicle. Non-economic damages could include physical and emotional trauma you have suffered after being injured by a drunk driver.

    Call an Alaska Vehicle Accident Attorney

    If you were injured by a drunk driver, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to get started on your civil case. Attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many car accident victims understand their rights and get the compensation they deserve. Make an appointment for a free consultation.

  • What damages can I recover after an accident with a drunk driver?

    traffic yield sign with DUI and storm clouds behind itRecovering damages after an accident with a drunk driver is not very different from recovering damages after any type of crash. The main difference, however, is that after a collision caused by a drunk driver, you might also be eligible to recover punitive damages

    It is vital to seek compensation after a crash. The best way to do this is to hire a lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement or pursue compensation through a lawsuit.

    Damages After a Drunk Driving Crash

    As with any car crash where another driver is at fault, you might be able to pursue a lawsuit for economic damages, including:

    You might also be eligible for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and emotional distress.

    In a drunk driving case, victims might also get punitive damages. These are not based on any tangible loss but are designed to punish the at-fault party who exhibited reckless behavior by making the decision to drive drunk. The amount of punitive damages awarded is often left up to a jury or a judge. According to Alaska law, there is a cap on the amount that can be awarded: three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. Alaska's split-recovery law requires that half of the punitive damages award goes to the state of Alaska for the general fund, which pays for government operations, basic services, and capital improvements.

    It's important to note that punitive damages will be taxed by the federal government. This money must be claimed on your income tax form as “other income.”

    Contact an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured after being in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you need to have an attorney on your side to help you recover damages. Even if it is obvious that the drunk driver caused the accident, you will still need to gather evidence to help with your case, and a vehicle accident attorney can help. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.

  • What are workers’ comp reemployment benefits?

    disabled worker in computer retraining classInjured workers in the Alaska workers’ compensation system who are unable to return to the job they were doing before their injury might be eligible to participate in a retraining program that provides them with the skills necessary to return to work at a wage level equal to at least 60% of their wages at the time of injury. Eligibility is determined based in part on the following criteria:

    • A medical provider predicts that you will be unable to return to the job you had at the time of the injury or to any job you performed ten years prior to your injury. This is usually because of a permanent disability.
    • Your employer does not have an alternative position for you.

    Benefits You Might Qualify for Under the Alaska Worker Retraining Program

    Reemployment benefits include costs for an evaluation of your abilities as well as tuition, study materials, a computer, and other items that might be necessary for training.

    Employees can waive their right to retraining and opt to receive a lump-sum dislocation benefit instead. The amount of the dislocation benefit is determined by the Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) rating.

    Why You Should Call a Lawyer About Your Workers’ Compensation Reemployment Benefits

    There are strict timelines when it comes to filing the paperwork for workers’ compensation Reemployment Benefits, and having an experienced attorney on your side can ensure you don’t miss deadlines and can move forward most effectively.

    At the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, we have helped many injured workers through the complex workers’ compensation process. Don’t risk being short-changed on benefits or missing out on Reemployment Benefits that can help you move on to the next stage of your life. Ben is a knowledgeable, effective advocate for injured workers, and he can help you figure out the best way to proceed. Call his Anchorage office today or fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch directly with Ben.

  • What is my car accident claim worth?

    negotiating a car accident settlementThere is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because every situation is different. However, an experienced car accident attorney will know how to put a value on your damages and can help you negotiate compensation with the insurance company.

    Factors That Matter With Your Car Accident Claim

    If you have been injured in a car accident, you may take legal action to get the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. This usually includes both economic and noneconomic damages. The factors that will influence the amount of your claim include the following:

    • The severity of your injuries and the treatment required. If you are permanently disabled, this will impact the damages to which you are entitled.
    • The wages you lost. This will include the work you’ve missed because of your injuries as well as potential wages you may not earn if you cannot return to work in the future. 
    • The at-fault driver’s insurance limits. It can be difficult to collect more than the policy limits unless the driver has significant personal assets.
    • Whether you are partially at fault for the accident. Alaska uses the comparative negligence rule, which means that whatever your percentage of responsibility was for the accident, your damages will be reduced to reflect that.

    In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. This can happen in cases where the at-fault driver behaved recklessly or outrageously. If punitive damages are deemed to be appropriate in your case, there will be a separate court proceeding where they will weigh several factors. These include whether or not the defendant was aware their actions could cause serious harm and their attitude or behavior following the accident.

    You Need an Alaska Car Accident Attorney

    If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need legal representation to help you get the maximum damages. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. For more information on protecting your rights and navigating the complexities of your claim, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.

  • Can I develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident?

    patient talking to therapist for PTSDThe trauma of a serious car accident can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that require treatment. If you are diagnosed with this condition, the person who caused your accident should be held liable for your treatment.

    What Is PTSD?

    PTSD is a psychological condition that affects people after they have been through a harrowing situation. It was initially referred to as "shell shock" in reference to the psychological struggle soldiers had upon returning home from World War I. Since then, it has become an official psychiatric diagnosis and is considered a form of mental illness.

    Any traumatic, frightening, or stressful experience can cause PTSD—and that includes car accidents, which can be disturbingly violent and gruesome. In fact, traffic accidents have become the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder since the Vietnam War. PTSD manifests differently in different people, making it a challenge to identify and treat.

    Symptoms of PTSD

    Car accident victims who suffer from this disorder might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Avoidance. Victims don’t want to think about or talk about the traumatic event. They might not be able to drive or even ride in a car without having a panic attack.
    • Flashbacks. Car accident victims who develop PTSD often experience flashbacks to the crash, making it difficult to move on.
    • Behavior changes. People with PTSD might experience more intense emotions than they had prior to the event. This can also cause the person to have trouble sleeping.
    • Mood swings. Sufferers might suddenly feel depressed or even suicidal, even if they are not having flashbacks to the specific event. They might stop enjoying activities and avoid friends and family.

    Treatment for PTSD

    There are several treatment options for people diagnosed with PTSD after a car accident. These include different kinds of therapies, including cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, as well as medication for depression and anxiety.

    Why You Need a Lawyer If You Have PTSD After a Car Accident

    Although your injuries might not be physical, you may still deserve compensation after a car accident. Calling an attorney after an accident can seem daunting, but an experienced lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected, and you are able to obtain appropriate compensation to get the PTSD treatment you need to live your best life.

  • How will a spoliation letter help my truck accident case?

    closeup of hand signing legal document or letter A spoliation letter is a notice that is sent to an opposing party in the aftermath of an accident that orders them to preserve all evidence that is relevant to the accident. The word “spoliation” refers to anything that jeopardizes evidence, including destruction, loss, alteration, or concealment.

    Details Included in a Spoliation Letter

    After an accident that involves a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, a spoliation letter should be sent to the driver’s employer as soon as possible to put the company on notice that specific types of evidence must be preserved. After a trucking company receives a spoliation letter, the courts can be very harsh if the company is found to have destroyed or tampered with evidence. 

    Following are some of the pieces of evidence the spoliation letter should include:

    • Service logs kept by the driver to determine whether he was taking the number of rest periods required by law to help prevent fatigue
    • Data from on-board recording devices, which can identify the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash and other driver actions
    • Records of inspections on the tractor and trailer
    • The truck driver’s personnel file, which will show his or her qualifications and whether he or she was fit to drive
    • Alcohol and drug testing results from the driver
    • The truck and trailer that were involved in the crash
    • Information involving the commercial vehicle and the freight it was carrying
    • Photographs and videos taken at the scene of the crash

    Contact an Experienced Vehicle Accident Attorney

    Don’t go it alone if you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or commercial vehicle. In Alaska, attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many accident victims and their families tell their stories, and he can help you tell yours. Call his Anchorage office to set up a free, no-obligation consultation, or request his free newsletter, which will provide a variety of information to help you make the best decisions about your accident and injury claim.