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 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.
     

     

  • If I’m injured in Alaska, how much time do I have to pursue my claim for damages?

    If you’re injured in Alaska, you generally must file a claim within two years from the date of injury. Should you fail to bring your case to court within this timeframe, you’ll likely be barred from filing it at all. This time limit on your right to pursue compensation is a consequence of Alaska’s civil statute of limitations.

    Purpose of the Statute of Limitations

    The statute of limitations was created to ensure that meritorious lawsuits are either filed within a reasonable period of time, or not at all. This way, evidence will be presented while it is relatively fresh, witnesses are still alive, and memories haven’t been clouded by time.

    “Tolling” the Statute of Limitations

    Under certain circumstances, fairness dictates that the statute of limitations must be delayed, or tolled, for a period of time. If the plaintiff is aware that an injury has occurred, but he is currently unable to pursue his case, the statute of limitations may be tolled. This typically occurs when the plaintiff is:

    • Under the age of 18.
    • Filing for bankruptcy protection.
    • Mentally incompetent when the injury occurs.

    The Discovery Rule

    Accidents sometimes lead to injuries that aren’t obvious right away, and it isn’t fair or reasonable to expect a plaintiff to file a lawsuit when he doesn’t know he’s been injured. The discovery rule mandates that the statute of limitations won’t begin until the plaintiff discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) the injury.

    You Need a Lawyer

    If you’ve been hurt in Alaska, you should seek compensation for your injuries right away. Calculating the precise amount of time remaining to pursue your claim can be complicated, since the law considers numerous factors and exceptions. Your attorney can help you determine if your case may still be filed within the applicable statute of limitations. To discover how these laws impact your case, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.
     

     

  • If I’m involved in a car accident, how do I prove it was the other driver’s fault?

    There are many causes of vehicle accidents, including driver impairment, speeding, and distracted driving. Determining fault in any traffic accident begins with figuring out which party was negligent.

    “Duty” Has a Special Meaning in the Law

    Vehicle accident claims generally arise out of the negligent actions of one or more parties. The first element of a negligence claim is a duty, which is the legal responsibility of one party to act in a particular way toward another party. All drivers have the legal duty to obey the law and drive in a responsible manner.

    Furthermore, if the driver responsible for the accident was performing work duties on behalf of his employer at the time of the accident, his employer may also be held liable. The owner of the vehicle driven by the driver responsible for the accident may also share liability if he entrusted the vehicle to someone who was reckless, incompetent, or unlicensed. If multiple parties have liability for the accident, they may be responsible for paying damages equal to their proportionate share of the liability.

    Breach of Duty

    The plaintiff in a vehicle accident claim must demonstrate that the other party breached his duty by doing something wrong. A few examples of a breach of duty are:

    • Failing to control a vehicle properly.
    • Failing to obey stoplights or stop signs.
    • Speeding.
    • Driving while impaired.

    Causation

    The plaintiff must be able to link the defendant’s breach of duty with causing the accident. In legal terms, this is known as a “but-for clause.” For instance, but for the defendant’s speeding, the accident would not have happened.

    Damages

    Damages must be linked to the breach of duty. Damages are losses that the plaintiff suffered because of the accident. In a trial, the judge or jury will decide the amount of money the plaintiff should receive for his damages.

    Some of the most common vehicle accident damages include:

    • Property damage.
    • Past and future medical expenses.
    • Pain and suffering.
    • Lost wages.
    • Loss of future earnings.

    Legal Assistance

    If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you need legal representation to prove your claim. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

     

  • How does insurance protect me after an automobile collision in Alaska?

    Magnifying lens examines car insurance documentsWhen Alaskan drivers are involved in automobile accidents, the insurance claims process can be complex, confusing, and overwhelming. Insurance companies carefully evaluate the details of each claim, in an effort to pay out as little as possible.

    Alaska Is an “At-Fault” State

    Alaska is an at-fault state for insurance purposes. This means that the driver who caused the accident is generally responsible for any property damage, medical bills, and other losses stemming from the collision. Insured drivers have several options for receiving compensation for an accident, including:

    • Filing a claim with their own insurance companies.
    • Filing a third-party claim (a claim filed with the other driver’s insurance company).
    • Filing a personal injury lawsuit.

    Types of Insurance

    Alaska residents can purchase a wide variety of insurance products. Each of these may provide a financial cushion in case of misfortune. The events that trigger an insurance payout will be limited by the provisions of the policy, so a policyholder should review his insurance coverage often to make sure it covers all important risks.

    Among the types of insurance you may wish to consider are the following:

    • Collision. This type of insurance pays for damage to your car resulting from a traffic accident.
    • Comprehensive insurance pays for non-collision damage to your car, such as theft, fire, or vandalism.
    • Bodily injury insurance pays the medical bills and related costs if you’re at fault in an accident that injures or kills someone.
    • Property damage liability. This coverage pays for any property damage if you’re at fault in an accident.
    • Personal injury protection insurance pays your medical bills regardless of who is at fault.
    • Uninsured motorist insurance compensates you if an uninsured driver is at fault.
    • Underinsured motorist insurance compensates you if another driver with insufficient insurance coverage is at fault.

    Complications frequently arise when you’re dealing with insurance companies. Alaska law requires all drivers to carry automobile insurance, but not all of them do. Furthermore, damages can quickly rise above policy limits, or the insurer may simply deny the claim altogether.

    If you dispute the amount an insurance company is willing to pay, many insurers will require you to file suit within two years of the accident. Having an auto accident lawyer is key to getting the compensation you deserve. If you have unanswered questions about your Alaska auto accident case, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.

  • Should I contact an automobile accident attorney after a car accident?

    In many cases, you will benefit by retaining the services of a qualified car accident lawyer after being involved in an auto accident.

    Some insurance companies are advertising how quickly they respond to claims, suggesting that they are motivated by their goal of prompt customer service. This is not necessarily true. Insurance companies are in business to make money. They benefit by paying claims quickly so that the claimant will not hire an attorney and make the insurance company pay more in the long run. The unrepresented person is generally not familiar with personal injury law, has no experience negotiating the value of injuries, and therefore does not know what his car accident claim is worth. This all benefits insurance companies.

    In the event you and the insurance company cannot reach an agreement, the insurance company generally is not concerned unless a lawyer becomes involved. It is almost always a good idea to consult a lawyer—at least—before settling your car accident claim with the insurance company.

    Do you still have unanswered questions regarding your auto accident case in Alaska? Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Ben Crittenden for a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options. Contact us!

  • Can I recover damages in an automobile accident case if the other driver didn’t have car insurance?

    Assuming the car you are driving in is insured, your auto insurance policy will most likely have an uninsured motorist provision, which means you may have a claim for uninsured motorist benefits under your own policy. Lawyers refer to this as a UM claim.

    If you make an uninsured motorist claim, your own insurance carrier has the right to use all defenses that the other at-fault driver may have had against you. An uninsured motorist claim therefore essentially creates an adversarial relationship between you and your own insurance carrier. This adversarial relationship with your own insurance company surprises many people and often creates the need for an attorney to become involved. Consequently, it may be wise to talk to a personal injury lawyer before making an uninsured motorist claim.

    Do you still have unanswered questions regarding your auto accident case in Alaska? Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Ben Crittenden for a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options. Contact us!