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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  • How will my attorney determine the value of my car accident case?

    When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, an experienced attorney can determine how much your car or motorcycle claim is worth.

    Types of Compensation

    When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to replace money you’ve lost due to the accident, while punitive damages are awarded to punish those responsible for your injuries. You may recover damages for:

    • Medical bills. You can be compensated for the treatment you’ve already received, and for anticipated future medical expenses. This may include hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, medications, and physical therapy.
    • Property damage. The negligent driver is responsible for your vehicle repair or replacement costs, replacement costs for any other property that is damaged, towing expenses, and car rental fees.
    • Income loss. If you’ve missed work due to injuries sustained during your vehicle accident, or if you anticipate a loss of income in the future, you can recover compensation for your lost wages. You’re also entitled to reimbursement for any vacation and sick time you used while recovering from your injuries.
    • Pain and suffering. The injuries you’ve suffered in a vehicle accident may interfere with your ability to maintain a normal daily routine and engage in the activities you most enjoy. You may receive compensation for the physical and emotional pain you’ve already experienced, and might experience in the future.

    The Importance of Evidence

    After your vehicle accident, you’ll need to gather together as much evidence as possible. The more documentation you have of your injuries, the more likely you are to receive the compensation you deserve. Some of the evidence you may need to prove your case includes:

    • Police reports
    • Vehicle repair records
    • Medical bills and records
    • Proof of lost wages
    • Witness statements
    • Photographs of damage to your person and property

    You Need an Attorney

    Since your settlement range generally relies upon your medical condition, an experienced attorney will likely consider the extent and permanency of your injuries, the impact of those injuries on your life, and the amount and duration of any medical treatments that are required. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
     

  • Who is responsible for an accident caused by improperly maintained roads?

    Improperly designed, constructed, or maintained roads can lead to serious driving accidents and injuries. There are numerous defects that can make a road unsafe, including:

    • Improperly designed or maintained roads.
    • Inadequate lighting of the roadway.
    • Improperly graded curves and lack of a proper shoulder.
    • Potholes and harsh seams, ruts, or grooves in pavement.
    • Signage blocked by overgrown vegetation.
    • Insufficient guardrails or median barriers.
    • Lack of roadside warnings regarding known hazards.
    • Missing, poorly placed, or malfunctioning traffic signals.
    • Missing or broken guardrails.
    • Inadequate drainage that leads to water buildup on roads, creating a hydroplaning risk.

    Sovereign Immunity

    Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, state and local governments are generally immune from civil lawsuits. There are exceptions, however. According to Alaska statute 09.50.250, if a governmental agency or employee has taken a lawful action that results in your being injured, that governmental agency may be held liable for your injuries. Damages resulting from a single injury or death are capped at $400,000, and punitive damages against the state are not allowed. However, if the action that ultimately results in your injury is unlawful, the governmental agency cannot be held liable. Only those individuals responsible for your injuries may be sued.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve had an accident caused by poor road design or maintenance, you should report the accident to your own insurance company immediately. You can also pursue a claim against the government entity responsible for designing, building, or maintaining the road.

    Since claims against the government are frequently different from those asserted against private parties, victims of motor vehicle accidents caused by road defects need an attorney familiar with these types of claims. Other drivers, the local government, or the state government could be responsible for your injuries, and an experienced attorney can identify the proper parties to litigate against. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.
     

     

  • How long will it take to resolve my vehicle accident claim?

    When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, resolving your case can be a lengthy process, and getting a good settlement takes time. You have to determine the extent of your injuries, whether there are any ongoing health problems caused by those injuries, and any medical treatments that may be necessary in the future.

    There are three primary factors that may increase the length of time it takes for your case to settle:

    • The case involves substantial damages. The larger the potential settlement, the more thoroughly an insurance company is likely to wish to investigate. The insurer is unlikely to settle until it has established that your injuries truly are severe, and that its lawyers cannot raise a good defense against your case. Furthermore, insurance companies sometimes choose to delay settlement in hopes of convincing a plaintiff to give up and accept a much lower payment.
       
    • You have yet to reach maximum medical improvement. It is generally necessary for you to reach maximum medical improvement, which means that you have recovered from your injuries as much as possible, and you have been discharged from your physician’s care. Therefore, the length of time it takes to settle your personal injury case depends in part on the amount of time required to treat your injuries. As long as you are still being treated for your injuries, you can’t be sure whether you will fully recover or not. No one can predict how long you’ll be in treatment for your injuries, and there is always the possibility that additional medical complications will surface that weren’t immediately apparent. If you fully recover, your case will likely be worth less than it would be if you never did.
       
    • Liability or damages are difficult to prove. In cases where liability is difficult to establish, the insurance company isn’t likely to make a reasonable settlement offer until liability experts can show that the defendant was at fault. Even if the defendant’s liability can be easily established, the burden is still on you to prove that the defendant’s negligence led to your injuries. It takes time to gather together all of your medical records and bills, and medical providers are often slow to respond to requests for information.

    You only have one opportunity to get a fair resolution to your case, so it’s important that you have an experienced attorney by your side. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
     

  • Will I have to testify in my personal injury case?

    If the defendant in your personal injury case denies liability, you may need to testify in order to establish the defendant’s negligence. You won’t necessarily have to testify in court, however. Most personal injury lawsuits that are filed are settled prior to trial.

    Depositions

    Provided that your case is resolved prior to going to trial, you will likely need to provide a deposition. This means that you will testify under oath, with a lawyer asking you a series of questions. Depositions are typically held at a law firm office with the attorneys, all parties to the lawsuit, and a court reporter in attendance. As with a courtroom trial, attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to conduct an examination, and object to any improper questioning. Since there is no judge present to rule on these objections, the objection is simply noted on the record.

    Depositions are used to gather information, including:

    • Learning about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
    • Obtaining critical information about your case.
    • Assessing how an individual will testify at trial.

    Testifying at Trial

    Of course, some lawsuits don’t get settled. If there is a disagreement over who caused the accident or a dispute regarding the amount of compensation that is appropriate, there may be a jury trial.

    If you proceed to a jury trial, you may need to explain the injuries you have sustained to a jury. This is important, because if you fail to testify the jury will only hear the defendant’s side of the story. If there is insufficient evidence of the defendant’s negligence, the jury is unlikely to find in your favor. Thus, your testimony may be crucial to securing a favorable outcome for your case. No one can explain the pain and suffering you’ve experienced better than you can, so the jury needs to hear from you.

    You Need a Lawyer

    If you’ve been injured, you need the skilled representation of an experienced attorney. Whether you give a deposition or testify in court, your attorney can guide you through the process. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.

  • What are contingency fees?

    Attorneys typically use several different methods to charge clients for their services. Sometimes lawyers charge a flat fee, a set price the client is required to pay. This is typical in the case of will preparation, for example. Other times, attorneys may charge an hourly rate, billing clients for each hour of work. Most personal injury lawyers use a third type of arrangement, known as the contingency fee.

    What Contingency Fees Are

    Attorneys and clients use a contingency fee arrangement in cases where the client has been injured, such as an automobile accident. The lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the client’s award, in lieu of being paid up front. This ensures that clients who otherwise could not afford access to the justice system can still receive representation.

    How Contingency Fees Work

    A contingency fee agreement will specify the conditions of payment, and spell out how much the attorney is owed. If you win your case, your lawyer’s fee is deducted from the money awarded to you. If you lose, you won’t have to pay your attorney for the work he has done on your case. A contingency fee agreement can motivate a lawyer to obtain the best possible settlement for his client, since his compensation is tied directly to the outcome of the case.

    Additional Expenses

    You may have extra legal expenses in addition to the fee you pay to your attorney. Some of these costs may include filing fees, hiring expert witnesses, service of papers, and paying for copies of medical records or police reports. These expenses typically aren’t high, but you’ll owe them regardless of the outcome of your case. Your attorney may cover these expenses upfront, in which case you’ll have to reimburse him.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t let concern over legal fees prevent you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

  • What should I do if I have just been involved in a car accident?

    Young man talks on a cell phone after an auto collisionIf you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, there are important steps you should take to protect both your health and your rights. Following the collision, you should:

    • Turn on your emergency flashers, and exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so.
       
    • If the collision is anything more serious than a fender-bender, call for help. If no one needs medical attention, call your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number and report the accident.
       
    • If anyone has been injured, call 911 to get help from emergency medical professionals. Law enforcement will generally visit the accident scene, as well.
       
    • If you’re physically able and it’s safe to do so, photograph any injuries you’ve sustained, the accident scene, vehicle damage, and debris on the road. Also photograph the location and condition of traffic signals, stop signs, and any other signage.
       
    • Exchange driver’s license information, insurance details, and contact information with the other driver. If there are any witnesses, ask them for their contact information.
       
    • Contact your car insurance company and inform it of the accident. Your insurance carrier may send an adjuster to the scene or help you arrange a tow to a local repair shop.
       
    • Don’t admit fault, and don’t sign anything unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent.
       
    • Frequently, injury symptoms resulting from vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. Seek medical assistance should symptoms develop. Pay particularly close attention to your neck and back, and get help right away if you experience any stiffness or pain.
       
    • Keep documentation of any vehicle repair expenses or medical bills you’ve sustained due to the accident.
       
    • Keep a personal journal, and record your memories of the accident and your injuries (including the impact they have on your daily activities and your emotional health).

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and loss of income. A personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of proving your claim. For more information, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.
     

  • Is it legal to ride in the back of a pickup truck in Alaska?

    Teenagers riding in the back of a pickup truckRiding in the back of a pickup truck is legal in Alaska, as well as in 19 other states. Unsurprisingly, most of these states contain large swaths of rural land, where driving a truck is a way of life.

    Riding in a Truck Bed Is Dangerous

    Riding in the back of a pickup truck may be legal in Alaska, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Unfortunately, many people have died in vehicle accidents while riding in a truck bed. The back of a pickup is intended to transport cargo, not people, and the risk of being thrown from the bed of a truck is very high. Since there are no seat belts, there’s nothing to prevent passengers from being ejected from the back, or crushed if the truck rolls over. Rounding a curve or traveling over a bump at high speed can result in serious injuries, and the risk is even greater if you’re involved in an accident while riding in a truck bed.

    Truck Bed Safety

    Of course, the safest approach is to never ride in an open truck bed. If riding in the back of a truck is unavoidable, safety advocates advise driving slowly and staying off busy highways. Drivers should never speed, and must take care to avoid sudden movements, speed bumps, and potholes. Never stand up while riding in a truck bed.

    You Deserve Compensation

    If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident on your way to a job site, your employer may be liable for your medical expenses. If you were required to sit in the back of a pickup truck due to a lack of seats, you probably have a case against your company. Employers are obligated to provide adequate safety equipment for all of their employees, including seat belts in company vehicles. To receive the compensation you deserve, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.

     

  • If I have a car accident, should I call the police?

    call the police after a car crashIf you’re involved in a vehicle accident, calling the police is generally a good idea. Here are seven reasons why you should make that call:

    1. The police officer will document the presence of the other driver by recording information about his tag, insurance, and identity. This prevents the other driver from later denying his involvement in the accident.
    2. The police officer will interview the other driver when he fills out a police report. This gives you the opportunity to obtain a statement from the other driver admitting fault for the accident.
    3. A police report isn’t admissible as evidence during a civil trial, but it has a big influence on the other driver’s insurance adjuster. If his insured driver admitted fault to the police, the other driver’s insurance company will probably accept financial responsibility.
    4. The severity of an injury resulting from a vehicle accident may not be obvious immediately. Many injuries get progressively worse in the hours and days following a crash.
    5. Officers are trained to identify drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The officer’s evaluation of the driver’s state is helpful to your case, since violations of the law are proof of negligence. Criminal charges filed against the other driver will further prove his responsibility.
    6. Since vehicle accidents happen so quickly, no one person can notice every detail and explain all of the causes of the collision. When police are called to the scene, they record contact information for—and statements from—any witnesses to the crash. Access to these eyewitness accounts may be extremely beneficial to you in the future.
    7. If an accident results in very serious injuries or death, the police may assess the scene for evidence. These investigators are experts, and their expert opinion regarding the cause of the accident may be considered in court. This is particularly helpful if the other driver's memory is fuzzy, or if he is outright lying and denying fault.

    If you’re the victim of a vehicle collision, you need police on the scene to document what happened, and why. For more information on protecting your rights, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.

  • How is my attorney paid to represent me in my vehicle accident case?

    Many automobile accident injury victims have never needed legal representation before, and frequently have questions about paying their attorney for the services he provides. In vehicle accident cases, attorneys typically receive contingency fees. This means that your attorney agrees to accept a fixed percentage of either the settlement amount, or the amount awarded at trial. You’ll only pay this contingency fee if your attorney succeeds in winning your case. Contingency fee arrangements are generally used in cases involving physical harm to the plaintiff, such as personal injury or workers’ compensation cases. They are commonly associated with:

    • Medical malpractice claims
    • Automobile accident claims
    • Other personal injury cases

    How Contingency Fees Are Paid

    In a contingency fee arrangement, attorney’s fees are deducted from the final settlement, or from the amount awarded at trial. Your attorney will also typically deduct any expenses incurred while representing you, including the costs associated with:

    • Obtaining medical records
    • Hiring investigators
    • Obtaining expert witnesses
    • Filing court documents
    • Obtaining police reports
    • Holding depositions
    • Obtaining trial exhibits
    • Disbursement of your settlement or trial award

    The proceeds from your settlement or trial award are typically sent to your attorney, and he will deduct his legal fees from the total amount. Your attorney is also legally obligated to withhold the funds needed to pay off any medical liens prior to disbursing any money to you. If you need help paying for the medical care resulting from your injuries, your attorney may offer your treatment provider a letter of protection. This is a binding contract between your attorney and your hospital or doctor, guaranteeing payment out of your settlement funds or trial award. Once all of these obligations have been satisfied, you will receive the balance of the proceeds.

    You Need an Attorney

    Contingency fee arrangements were created to ensure that injury victims receive the legal representation they need, regardless of their financial status. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.

  • If I’m injured in a car accident, which types of compensation are available?

    Bronze statue of justice holding scales and a swordWhen you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to both compensatory and punitive damages. Between property damage and medical bills, expenses resulting from an accident can add up quickly. You can seek compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained from anyone who caused or contributed to your losses. The legal term for this type of compensation is “damages,” and damages awarded in personal injury claims are either compensatory or punitive.

    Compensatory Damages

    Compensatory damages are awarded to injured parties to make them whole, and these types of damages are available in nearly all personal injury cases. There are two categories of compensatory damages: general damages and special damages.

    General damages compensate injured individuals for non-monetary harm. These damages may be serious, but they don’t involve any monetary costs. The most common types of general damages are:

    • Emotional distress
    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of companionship

    Special damages compensate the injured for expenses incurred or income lost as a result of the accident. These damages frequently include:

    • Medical bills
    • Future medical care expenses
    • Lost wages
    • Loss of future earnings
    • Property damage

    Punitive Damages

    Punitive damages are awarded to the injured party when the behavior of the person responsible for their injuries is considered reprehensible. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer for being extremely careless, or for completely disregarding the impact of his actions on others. In vehicle accidents, punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the party responsible for the injuries is guilty of reckless driving. This means that he displayed a wanton disregard for the rules of the road, and created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to the accident victim.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve been injured by another driver, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. If the at-fault driver was particularly reckless, you may also receive punitive damages. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.