A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim that can be made after one person’s careless behavior causes harm to another person. Accident and injury victims are legally able to hold the person responsible for their injuries accountable for their actions. Personal injury claims are common after car accidents, when one driver fails to uphold his duty to operate his vehicle safely. Injury victims and their families may wonder, however, are they eligible to make a claim?
Filing a Legal Claim After You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident
Victims may pursue legal action against the person responsible for a car accident in which they sustained injuries or property damage. The state of Alaska expects drivers to behave like a “reasonable person” behind the wheel. This means that drivers are expected to behave in a safe and responsible manner and to take the same actions a reasonable person would given the same specific set of circumstances.
In addition, the state has set forth a number of elements that must exist to mount a successful injury claim, including:
- The defendant should have acted or refrained from acting (such as stopping at a stop sign or refraining from driving while under the influence).
- The defendant failed in that duty.
- That failure resulted in injury to the victim.
- The defendant should have known that these actions could cause injury to another.
- The victim suffered actual damages (property damage, medical bills, physical and emotional pain, etc.).
Simply put, if you are involved in an accident as a driver, vehicle passenger, pedestrian, or a bicyclist that is another driver’s fault, and you have suffered some actual physical or financial injury, you are likely eligible to pursue a claim for damages.
Filing a Claim on Behalf of Another Person After a Car Crash
In some cases, it may be possible to file an injury claim on behalf of another person, even if you were not directly involved in the accident. This is possible when:
- You are the parent or guardian of a minor injured in a crash. As the parent or guardian of a young person under the age of 18, you may be able to file a claim to secure the medical care and compensation the child may need to move forward from their injuries.
- Your loved one died as the result of a crash. This is known as a wrongful death suit, and it is essentially a personal injury claim that the deceased could have filed had they lived. Any compensation from this type of claim would be awarded to the victim’s estate and handed down to the appropriate family members from there. Most typically, spouses and children are able to file this lawsuit.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help You Decide How to Proceed
Even if you aren’t sure if you are eligible to file a claim, it can be helpful to discuss your accident with an experienced attorney. An injury lawyer can help you understand your rights in your unique situation and offer guidance on how to move forward most effectively. At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, attorney Ben Crittenden understands how difficult and confusing this time can be. That’s why he offers free, no-obligation consultations. Call Ben in his Anchorage office today, or request a free copy of his book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more about your legal options.