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 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.

  • Parties Eligible to Pursue a Wrongful Death Suit in Alaska

    According to Alaska’s wrongful death statute, claims must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate.

    Damages Paid to Family Members

    Damages in a wrongful death case are typically expressed as a single monetary amount, and are intended for the benefit of the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. These damages may compensate survivors for many different types of losses, including:

    • Loss of pecuniary benefits. Beneficiaries may be compensated for losing an expected inheritance.
    • Lost wages. The victim’s spouse and children may receive compensation for the wages the deceased would have likely earned had he survived.
    • Expenses associated with the victim’s injuries and death. Survivors may be compensated for medical bills, emergency care, funeral, and burial expenses.
    • Grief and anguish. Statutory beneficiaries may be compensated for their emotional suffering, due to the loss of their family member.
    • Loss of child and spousal support. If the victim would have provided financial assistance to his beneficiaries, they may be able to recover the funds they likely would have received had the deceased lived.
    • Loss of consortium. The victim’s spouse and children may be compensated for their loss of care, comfort, and guidance resulting from his death.
    • Pain and suffering prior to death. If the victim experienced pain and suffering before he died, his beneficiaries may receive compensation.
    • Punitive damages. If the party responsible for the victim’s death displayed a willful disregard for the safety of the deceased, his beneficiaries may be entitled to punitive damages.

    Damages Paid to the Estate

    If the deceased did not have any dependants, damages may be paid to the estate directly. However, the estate’s recovery will be limited to pecuniary losses. These losses are calculated by subtracting the estate’s actual value at the time of death from the estimated future value of the estate, had the deceased not died.

    You Need an Attorney To Help With Your Case

    If you’ve lost a loved one in a vehicle accident, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney to get the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

  • What happens if multiple people are injured while riding in the same vehicle?

    Passengers in a vehicle accident are entitled to compensation for any injuries they have sustained. If you’re hurt while riding in someone else’s car, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Regardless of who caused the accident, his insurance will cover your medical expenses, up to his policy limits. Depending on who is at fault for the accident, you may also be able to pursue a claim against the driver or owner of another vehicle involved in the accident.

    Multiple Claims

    When you’ve been injured as a passenger in a vehicle accident, you can typically file a claim against either the insurance policy of the driver of the car you were riding in, or the policy belonging to the driver of another car involved in the accident. If either driver was using someone else’s car, you may also file a claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance company. You may find that you need to make multiple claims. If one driver’s liability policy lacks adequate coverage to compensate you for your losses, you can also pursue a claim against another driver’s policy. However, the total amount you collect from all drivers and vehicle owners cannot exceed the total value of your claim.

    Driver’s Insurance Exemption

    While you can generally file a claim against the insurance policy belonging to the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, there is an important exception. If you’re related to and live with the driver, you likely will be unable to pursue a claim against his insurance. This is because you will probably be considered an insured under the policy, and insured individuals can’t pursue a liability claim against a policy that insures them.

    You Need an Attorney

    If you’ve sustained injuries as a passenger in a vehicle accident, you need representation by an experienced attorney in order to receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.

  • Who is liable for my truck accident?

    Commercial truck accidents can cause far more damage than those involving only personal vehicles. Due to the tremendous weight differential between commercial trucks and cars, many truck accidents result in serious injury or death. If the truck is carrying hazardous materials, such as fuel or industrial waste, the collision may be particularly devastating. There were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 individuals injured in crashes involving large trucks during 2013.

    Determining Liability In A Truck Accident

    If you’re involved in a car accident, determining which parties are responsible for your injuries is generally pretty straightforward. In the case of truck accidents, however, establishing liability can be much more difficult. Multiple parties may be liable in a commercial truck accident, including:

    • Truck driver. The driver of the truck may be held liable for the accident if he was speeding, intoxicated, driving while fatigued, or otherwise behaving irresponsibly.
    • Truck loader. If the truck was loaded improperly, the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo could be liable.
    • Trucking company. If the trucking company prompted or permitted its driver to take risks by continuing to drive when it was unsafe for him to do so, the company may be liable for the damage he causes.
    • Truck manufacturer. If any part of the truck is defective, and if that defect led to the collision, then the manufacturer may be held responsible in a vehicle accident case.
    • Maintenance workers. If the truck needed maintenance or repairs and the collision was caused by this neglect, the individual or company responsible for repairs and maintenance could be liable for damages in an accident.
    • Insurance company. Trucking companies are required by law to carry far more insurance than the coverage mandated for passenger vehicles. Unlike lawsuits stemming from other types of vehicle accidents, the trucking company’s insurer may be sued directly in the event of a serious accident.

    A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Further Explain Liability

    If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. You need an experienced attorney who can determine the cause of the accident, identify all of the parties responsible for your injuries, and help you to obtain a fair recovery. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.


  • 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.