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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What is a structured settlement?
When it comes to car accident injury claims, it is very common for the case to be settled before going to court. This means that the crash victim and the at-fault driver (or usually his insurance company) agree on a sum of money that will be paid to the victim. This compensation can cover a wide range of accident-related expenses, including medical care, lost wages, property damage, and more. In most cases, the compensation is awarded in one lump sum payment. This is not the only option, however. Injury victims may find their interests are better served through a structured settlement agreement.
What Is a Structured Settlement?
A structured settlement is an arrangement in which the injury compensation is provided to the victim in regular payments over time. Every structured settlement is unique, and it can be tailored to the specific needs of each situation. The payments can be made weekly, monthly, or in whatever timeframe is most beneficial. The timeframe for the structured settlement is agreed upon by both parties at the time it is accepted.
When a Structured Settlement Is Best for Alaska Injury Victims
While lump sum payments are more common in injury claims, a structured settlement can offer specific benefits for victim and their families. Victims may want to consider this type of arrangement if:
- You don’t need a large sum of money right away. Injury victims may need money from the settlement offer to buy a new car or cover high medical costs, but this is not the case for everyone. If you don’t need to use that money right away, it may be more effective to receive the money over time.
- You worry about the temptations associated with a lump sum. Temptation lurks for everyone when a large sum of money suddenly appears. It may be difficult to resist the urge to spend on unnecessary or lavish items. This is especially important for those who may have serious or long-term injuries that may require future medical bills that will need to paid.
- You worry about the demands of others. When a person comes into a large amount of money, it may be the case that family members or friends will take this opportunity to ask for a handout. While it’s natural to want to help those you love, the compensation from a settlement is awarded because it is necessary for victims to obtain medical care and remain financially stable. If it will be difficult to turn down these requests, a structured settlement can help.
Deciding What Type of Settlement Is Most Beneficial
There are advantages and disadvantages of both lump sum payments and structured settlements. Before an injury victim decides which path is best, it’s important to consult with an attorney and a financial advisor. Typically, once any type of settlement agreement is made, it is very difficult to go back and make changes to the terms of the agreement. Victims and their families need all the information about their rights and how any type of settlement will affect them going forward.
At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many accident victims understand their rights and explore all options to find the most beneficial arrangement. The compensation awarded to victims can have a significant effect on the success of recovery, and it’s important to have all the information you need to make the best possible decisions. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, contact Ben today to learn more about how he may be able to help. Call his Anchorage office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch directly with Ben.
How do I know if an attorney is right for my injury case?
You’ve suffered injuries in an accident, and you’ve made the important decision to find an attorney to protect your rights. But now what? How can you and your family know a lawyer is the right one for your case? Here, find some helpful tips and key questions to ask so you can feel confident that you’ve found the best legal advocate for you.
Finding an Alaska Injury Attorney for Your Claim
The first step is to simply find names of attorneys who might be able to provide the help you need. To do so, victims and their families can:
- Ask friends and family. You may be surprised at how many friends, family members, or acquaintances have needed the help of an attorney. Ask around and get the opinions of people you know and trust.
- Use the Bar Association. The Alaska Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service that can help you find lawyers near you who practice injury law. While they don’t provide reviews of their services, it’s a start.
- Visit the local library. Many libraries will have a local law directory, which will contain information about local lawyers and their work.
- Look online. A simple Google search can turn up attorneys in your area who can be contacted.
Determining If a Lawyer Is Right for You
Even when you find the name of an attorney, how can you know that he or she will be right for you? The easiest answer is to simply meet them and find out. Many injury attorneys offer a free, no-obligation consultation. At that time, you can obtain information that can help you make a decision about moving forward with your claim. Important questions to ask during this meeting include:
- Can you develop rapport? The relationship between a victim and an attorney is important. Establishing trust and chemistry from the start will make the situation easier to manage as your claim moves forward.
- Is the lawyer experienced in the area of your claim? There are a wide range of legal specialties. While an attorney may be able to take on an injury claim, it’s important that they have actually worked your type of case for other clients.
- How easy was it to get in touch with them? And what is their communication policy going forward? Make sure this works for you.
- What type of fee arrangement do they typically use? Most injury attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis, which helps accident victims access the representation they need with very little upfront costs. Make sure to find out what to expect regarding the finances.
While there is no magic formula for finding the perfect attorney, some simple, specific inquiries can be immensely helpful. When you get a sense that the attorney is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and truly interested in helping you recover as fully as possible, he or she is likely the right lawyer for you.
In Anchorage, attorney Ben Crittenden knows that the legal process can be daunting and the uncertainties from start to finish may feel overwhelming. He is dedicated to protecting the rights of Alaska accident victims and making sure their voices are heard. He has helped many other victims obtain the care and compensation they needed to move forward from their accidents. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries, contact Ben today. Call his Anchorage office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll reach Ben directly to have your questions answered.
What can I do if the police report about my accident is wrong?
When the police are called to the scene of an accident, the responding officer will submit an official report to his department detailing the crash. This police report can be a very valuable tool during a car accident-related personal injury claim. It can also be damaging to the victim if the information is incorrect or, in your opinion, misrepresented. So, what options do accident victims have if they disagree with a police report?
Addressing Factual Errors in a Police Report
In some cases, the error in the police report may be a simple, factual error. Police officers are human, and they make mistakes. Perhaps the time of the accident was inaccurately reported, or a witness’s phone number was entered incorrectly. These small mistakes can matter to a case, and they can be changed fairly easily by contacting the officer. The officer can revise the report or include an addendum that notes the correct information.
When the Police Report Error Is More Complicated
In other cases, the misinformation may not be as straightforward. Perhaps the officer lists you as the at-fault party, which you dispute. Or a witness may have provided a statement you feel is inaccurate or incomplete. This is a gray area, and it can be more difficult to address. Contacting the officer may provide resolution, but if it does not, your options may be limited. You may write up your own version of events and submit it to law enforcement, asking them to attach your version with the police report. However, it is up to their discretion, and they may choose to ignore your document.
Overcoming a Police Report Error
In either case, the error may not be as devastating as you fear. Typically, a police report is not admissible as evidence in an accident claim. It is considered hearsay because the police officer did not actually witness the accident and is reporting only what was told to him by others.
The report is, however, often cited by insurance companies when negotiating a settlement. At those times, it is important to gather and cite evidence that supports your claim of an incorrect police report. At those times, an experienced injury attorney can help provide strength and substance to your story to ensure that your voice is heard.
At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, Anchorage-based attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many accident victims investigate, prepare, and navigate a successful injury claim. He understands how overwhelming the process can be, and he is here to help Alaskans obtain the justice and compensation they need to move forward after a crash. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an accident, call Ben’s office or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll get in touch directly with Ben, who can answer your questions and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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.
Filing A Personal Injury Claim Is Easier With An Experienced Attorney
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.