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.