Anchorage Alaska Vehicle Accidents Frequent 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 is able to file a personal injury lawsuit in Alaska?
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.
What should I do if I have been hurt in a t-bone accident?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), there were nearly 1.2 million collisions causing injury across the U.S. in 2015. That’s more than 3,000 injury crashes a day. While some may regard a side impact crash as less dangerous than others, these accidents pose unique dangers to drivers, passengers, and all those who share the roadway.
What Is a Side Impact, or T-Bone, Crash?
A side impact crash is often referred to as a t-bone crash because of the nature of the accident. It occurs when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, effectively looking like the letter “t.” While a t-bone crash can occur in a variety of situations, they most often result when:
- A driver runs a red light
- A driver runs a stop sign
- A driver fails to yield to a another making a left turn
How T-Bone Crashes Pose Unique Risks
Today’s vehicles seem safer than ever, with increasing technology to notify and safeguard drivers and passengers from dangers. While side impact protection provides a fairly effective defense, the side of the car is simply not as strong as the front and rear, and side windows can shatter. Side impact car accident victims can experience:
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a T-Bone Crash in Alaska
As with any other type of crash, it’s important to assess injuries right away and take action if you or someone else requires immediate medical care. If you are well enough to remain at the scene, try to preserve as much evidence as possible by:
- Calling the police, who will file an official report
- Taking a photo of the accident scene before the cars are moved
- Taking a photo of the intersection or roadway of the accident
- Noting the exact time of the accident
- Noting names and phone numbers of witnesses to the accident
Finally, calling an experienced injury lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. While you may think that the blame for the crash is clear, opposing lawyers and insurance companies will try to undermine your claim. An attorney can help investigate your accident and retain all the evidence that will support a legal case.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a t-bone accident, you may need medical care and time away from work. Anchorage-based attorney Ben Crittenden understands your situation and has helped many accident victims just like you obtain the compensation they need so they could get back to their lives. Call Ben today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to reach Ben directly. Set up a free, no-obligation consultation and learn more about how he can help.
How are pain and suffering measured after a car accident?
After a car accident, some of the losses to the injury victim are clear. Property damage, medical bills, and lost income can easily be demonstrated and added up. Insurance companies and the courts can clearly see what the victim has lost. There are often other damages, though, that are not so tangible. These non-economic damages include what is known as pain and suffering. The courts recognize that accident victims can experience damages that may not be visible, and the law allows for compensation for these important and serious matters.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering refers to the mental and physical distress that a person experiences during and after an accident. It includes physical pain, as well as mental and emotional injury—responses such as insomnia, fear, grief, worry, and loss of enjoyment.
Factors That Affect Pain and Suffering Compensation
Car accident victims may experience their injuries and navigate their recoveries differently, but some common factors are considered when determining compensation. These include:
- The severity of the injury
- The amount of pain typically associated with the injuries
- The impact of the injuries on your daily life (including both work and hobbies)
- Expectations for recovery
- The type of medical treatment required
Proving Pain and Suffering After an Accident in Alaska
Because these types of injuries are not easily quantifiable, it can be difficult to prove the toll the accident has taken on a victim’s life. To prove pain and suffering, it is often necessary to provide:
- Medical records
- Statements from treating care providers
- Testimony from family and friends
- Statements from mental health professionals
- Personal journals detailing recovery journey
Is Your Pain and Suffering Compensation Fair?
A car accident can take a serious toll on many aspects of your life, not just your physical health. Accident victims deserve compensation for the pain and suffering they endure when a careless driver causes an accident, and an experienced attorney can help ensure that victims obtain what they need. In Anchorage, attorney Ben Crittenden understands that an accident victim’s journey is only beginning at the moment of the crash, and he is here to help you and your family address all your physical, emotional, and financial needs through the law. Even if you are unsure of your rights, reach out to Ben today to learn more. Subscribe to his free newsletter to receive helpful information and insight into accident claims, or call his office to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who can file a wrongful death claim when someone dies in an accident?
On average, six people are killed in car crashes in Alaska every month. In 2017, the state saw 79 vehicle accident-related deaths. For the families of those killed, life is forever changed. Not only do they have to navigate the grief and sadness of losing their loved one, but many families are faced with new and stressful financial burdens. Whether the deceased family member was the main breadwinner or the one to provide childcare, their contributions to the family’s way of life were important. What are surviving family members to do? How can they successfully face this challenge so they can focus on what really matters? For many families, the answer is a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim brought by the surviving family members of a person who is killed by another person’s negligence. When an irresponsible driver causes an accident that results in the death of another person, they can be held accountable. Surviving family members may be able to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company for:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Lost wages that would have been earned by deceased
- Loss of spousal or child support
- Lost companionship or consortium
- The victim’s pain and suffering
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Alaska?
A wrongful death claim can be filed by any personal representative of the deceased. Though it is most often filed on behalf of the spouse and/or children of the deceased, state law does not limit these claims to only those relations. Compensation can be awarded to:
- Other dependents
- The estate of the deceased
A dependent is a person who is supported by the deceased, and it may include parents or other family members. Non-dependent family members or the estate itself may pursue a claim, but the award is limited to monetary loss—there is no compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
An Experienced Injury Alaska Attorney Can Answer Your Questions
Not only is the loss of a loved one devastating, family relationships can be complicated. If your loved one has died in a car accident, it may be difficult to know just what your rights may be. At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, this Anchorage-based attorney has helped many loved ones understand their legal options and obtain all the compensation they deserve. Even if you aren’t sure if you are able to file a claim, reach out to Ben today. Call his office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll get in touch with Ben directly, and he’ll help you determine the most effective way forward.
Can I recover compensation if winter weather caused another driver to hit me?
Winter weather can be tricky for drivers across the country, but especially here in Alaska. While it’s understandable that accidents can happen in these slippery and treacherous conditions, it doesn’t necessarily excuse drivers from their responsibility to act in a safe and responsible manner. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another driver during bad weather, it still may be possible to obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more.
Drivers Have a Duty to Travel Safely Behind the Wheel
In Alaska and across the U.S., drivers have a responsibility to act in manner that promotes the safety of all those on the road. This can mean following posted speed limits, not texting and driving, remaining sober, and much more. These duties also include responding to road and weather conditions. During the winter especially, drivers should be extra careful. Often, winter weather accidents are caused not by the weather itself, but by drivers who fail to acknowledge the conditions and do the following:
- Drive too fast
- Follow too closely
- Fail to use headlights
- Fail to maintain the vehicle (bald tires, weak brakes, etc.)
- Make sharp or improperly timed turns
In some cases, drivers should not be on the road at all. At times, law enforcement will ask that only certain people take to the road—those who work for emergency or other human service industries, or those with some specific need.
Obtaining Compensation After a Winter Weather Accident in AK
In these situations, it is often necessary for the accident victim to prove that the at-fault driver wasn’t simply a victim of bad weather, but he did in fact make a choice that put others at risk. Insurance companies and the legal system may take into consideration the weather conditions, but they cannot deny when a driver was negligent behind the wheel. If you have been involved in a crash during bad weather, make sure to retain as much evidence as possible. It is helpful to:
- Take photos of the scene
- Write down names and contact information for witnesses
- File a police report
- Seek medical care for any injuries and maintain all records
At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, solo practitioner Ben Crittenden has helped many Alaska car accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve after a crash. Ben has experience investigating these accidents and offering a compelling case for his clients. While wintry weather is a fact of life in Alaska, it doesn’t excuse drivers from their responsibilities. Contact Ben in his Anchorage office today to learn more about your rights, or request a free copy of his book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska.
Can I be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses associated with my accident?
While medical bills and property damage are often the most costly expenses associated with a car accident, out-of-pocket costs can add up quickly and cause a significant hardship for victims. These fees are often overlooked, but it is possible to be reimbursed through a personal injury claim.
What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
An out-of-pocket expense is simply what the name implies—a cost that accident victims are forced to pay directly. These miscellaneous costs aren’t covered by insurance and need to be paid right away. They can include:
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
- Parking fees
- Medical insurance co-pays
- Car insurance deductible
- Cleaning help
- Personal assistance at home
Recovering Out-of-Pocket Costs After an Accident
While these costs may be minimal individually, together they can add up quickly and create more financial pressure during an already difficult time. A personal injury claim allows injured Alaskans to recover economic damages they incur as a result of an accident caused by another driver’s carelessness. Out-of-pocket costs can be included in these economic damages. (Victims may also be eligible for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering). To successfully seek these damages, however, victims must prove that they were paid. To aid your claim, victims should:
- Keep all receipts for any expense related to the accident.
- Provide information for witnesses who can testify to the expenses.
- Share medical records to demonstrate the need for support services.
An Experienced Alaska Attorney Can Help Obtain Compensation
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims determine what costs can be recovered and prepare a thorough legal claim. Victims should not have to bear the financial burden caused another driver. Anchorage attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many accident victims secure compensation for out-of-pocket costs, as well as medical care, property damage, and much more. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an accident, contact Ben today to learn more about your rights and how he may be able to help. Call his office to speak directly with Ben or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. Ben offers free, no-obligation consultations to help you decide the best way to reach as full a recovery as possible.
Can I recover compensation if I’m partially at fault for my car accident?
The short answer is yes, it is possible to recover compensation even if you share some of the responsibility for an accident. The amount of compensation, however, can be affected by the amount of blame you share. Here, learn more about Alaska’s rules regarding fault and what that may mean for your accident claim.
Understanding Alaska’s Rules About Fault
The state of Alaska follows what is known as pure comparative fault. This means that in every accident case, the details will be reviewed, and it will be determined how much responsibility each involved party shares. It may be the case that one driver is completely to blame for the accident, but it is also often true that both drivers played some role in causing the crash. In those cases, each driver will be assigned a percentage of the fault.
For example, it could be that another driver runs a stop sign and crashes into your car while you pass through an intersection. However, at the time, you were traveling five miles over the speed limit. It may then be determined that the other driver was 90 percent at fault, and you were 10 percent at fault for speeding. Each driver is able to recover compensation equal to the other party’s fault, so in this case, you would be awarded 90 percent of the determined damages. If the damages were $100,000 for example, you would receive $90,000.
Under Alaska law, it’s important to note that each party is held accountable for their amount fault. This means that in the previous example, you would be liable for 10 percent of the damages, or $10,000. Of course, this amount would be eclipsed by that of the more at-fault driver.
What This Might Mean for Your Accident Claim
So, where does that leave your claim? You may think you are not at fault at all, or you might be worried that the other party will try to blame you for the accident. In either case, an experienced attorney can help you understand your situation more fully. For Alaska accident victims, attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many victims investigate, examine, and understand their legal rights. He can help you determine the best way forward for your unique case. With his experience as a personal injury lawyer, he can offer a better idea of what your case might be worth and what you can expect from the legal system.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, even if you are worried that you are partly to blame for the crash, call Ben in his Anchorage office today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Or sign up for his free newsletter to receive helpful, relevant information about personal injury law and claims in your area.
What do I have to prove to win a car accident personal injury claim?
Filing a personal injury claim after a car accident is a daunting process to many crash victims. Often, victims have little experience with the law, and the thought of a lawsuit is overwhelming. Maybe you know the other driver involved is responsible for your property damage and injuries, but you worry about how to prove that through the legal system. Here, we take a look at the requirements for filing an Alaska personal injury claim.
Three Main Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
In general, an accident victim must provide clear reasons as to how the other driver is at fault and why he should be held responsible for the accident. In Alaska, victims need to show that:
- The other driver was negligent. This means that the other driver was not reasonably careful and caused harm to another person. Negligence can take difference forms—both taking improper actions (speeding, running a red light, etc.) or failing to take proper action (not stopping at a crosswalk, driving with no lights on at night, etc).
- That negligence caused your injuries. Accident victims must show that their injuries were a direct result of the car accident and not caused by some other event. Physical evidence from the crash, as well as medical records, can help demonstrate this point.
- You suffered damages due to those injuries. Finally, the injuries must be severe enough that they caused the victim to incur some type of damage. These damages can be physical, emotional, or financial. Doctors’ bills, lost wages from missed work due to injury, repairs/replacement, loss of use, and pain/suffering of a vehicle are all common forms of damages.
Comparative Negligence in Alaska Car Accidents
While all these elements must exist in every case, there are degrees of negligence, and it is possible to file a successful claim in many different situations. The other driver does not have to be 100% responsible for the accident in order for a victim to recover compensation. The state of Alaska follows the rules of pure comparative fault, which means that each driver is responsible for his portion of blame. For example, it may be the case that another driver ignores a stop sign and crashes into you while you are proceeding through an intersection, speeding 5 miles over the limit. If it is determined that the other driver is 80 percent to blame and you are 20 percent to blame for a crash, it is still possible to recover damages. In that case, the victim would simply receive 80 percent of the award. It’s important to consult an experienced attorney to better understand just what your rights may be in each unique situation.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident in Alaska, Anchorage attorney Ben Crittenden may be able to help. Call his office today or take a moment to fill out the form on this page to get in touch directly with Ben. He can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to help you learn more about your rights and legal options.
Will I have to appear in court for my car accident case?
There are plenty of stressors after a car accident. The physical pain from injury, the emotional turmoil of the accident itself, the financial pressure from missed work and medical bills, and more take up enough of your time. Many accident victims are understandably hesitant to add the uncertainty and stress of a legal case to their lives, especially if it means having to testify in court. So, will you have to appear before a judge and jury if you file a car accident claim?
Most Accident Victims Do Not Appear in Court
While every accident scenario is unique, most accident victims do not have to appear in court. Many accident claims are settled before the case reaches the trial phase of the legal system. This means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver will negotiate with the victim or the victim’s lawyer. They may make an offer for compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, future medical bills, and much more. Often, the sides are able to reach an agreement without the courts intervening. While this is a legal process and the decisions made are legally binding, it is not necessary for the accident victim to appear in court.
When You Do Have to Testify, an Experienced Attorney Can Help
There are times, however, when it is necessary for a victim to testify in court. If the case goes to trial, it can be important for the judge and/or jury to hear directly from the victim, so they can better understand:
- The circumstances of the accident. The defense will certainly provide their version of events to the court, and it’s important for the victim’s story to be told as well. There is no one better suited to do so than you.
- The nature of the victim’s injuries. While medical records and care provider testimony is valuable, only you can fully explain how the car accident injuries have impacted your life and the lives of those you love. Personal testimony can help others understand the true consequences of the accident.
When the time comes to appear in court, however, an experienced attorney can help accident victims feel confident. Attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many Alaska clients understand the legal system and prepare for questions that may be asked. Ben is there to appear alongside his clients to make sure their rights are protected. He has stood up for his clients many times, and he can help provide the knowledge and confidence you need to be as successful as possible.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a car accident, you may be eligible to file a claim. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case or you are worried about navigating the legal system, contact Ben today to learn more about your options. Call his Anchorage office or take a moment to fill out the form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I obtain compensation even if I don’t remember my car accident?
A car accident can be a traumatic event, and it’s not uncommon for victims to have a difficult time remembering exactly what happened. In these cases, victims may worry about pursuing a legal case. If you can’t recall the details, will you have enough credence to make a successful legal claim? The answer is likely yes, though every accident situation is unique.
Why Can’t I Remember the Accident?
When an accident victim cannot remember a crash, they often also have no memory of the time immediately after or before the accident. This is fairly common, and it happens often for two reasons:
- Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a violent jolt or blow to the head and includes concussion, edema, skull fracture, and diffuse axonal injury. While not every brain injury victim will experience a loss of memory, it is a common symptom. Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- Survival response. At the moment of the accident or just before, the body senses the danger and responds. Even in seemingly minor accidents, victims can experience the “fight or flight” response—a most basic body process focused only on protection. In this state, the brain may not form memories as all its focus is on responding to the immediate danger.
Additionally, the chaos of the accident may make it difficult to remember exact details. If possible, write down as much as you can remember about your crash to keep the details as fresh in your mind as possible.
A Legal Claim When You Can’t Recall the Crash
At times, victims simply can’t remember the accident. Despite this, they have suffered very real and potentially lasting consequences. Like any other car accident victim, they both need and deserve medical care and compensation to help them recover as fully as possible, and this is possible. With the help of an experienced attorney, victims can rely on other evidence to prove the negligence of the other driver, including:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical reports
An Experienced Attorney Can Help Protect You After an Alaska Crash
Depending on the specifics of your accident, these claims can be more challenging. Attorney Ben Crittenden knows, though, that every crash victim has a story to tell and deserves the chance at a successful recovery. He has helped other Alaska victims protect their rights, and he can help you understand your legal options. Call Ben at his Anchorage office today or request a free copy of his book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more.