It is horrific to know that between 2003 and 2012, 222 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in the State of Alaska. And while that is a scary number, people admitting that they drive under the influence in Alaska is 1.2%. Although less than the 1.9% national average, it remains unacceptable.
Unbelievably, Alaska does not permit sobriety checkpoints, making it even more dangerous.
If you or a family member are hurt, or killed, by a drunk or any other driver, you should retain the Best Attorneys In Anchorage Alaska to protect your rights.Such attorneys are likely experienced in areas such as
- (a) aircraft accidents,
- (b) automobile accidents,
- (c) bicycle accidents,
- (d) boating accidents,
- (e) defective products,
- (f) dog bites,
- (g) firearm accidents,
- (h) life insurance denial,
- (i) medical malpractice,
- (j) motorcycle accidents,
- (k) nursing home negligence,
- (l) snow machine and ATV accidents,
- (m) pedestrian accidents,
- (n) toxic exposure,
- (o) train accidents,
- (p) truck accidents,
- (q) workers’ compensation and
- (r) wrongful death.
Properly practicing attorneys also
- (a) require the signing of a retainer agreement so that both attorney and client know each other’s rights and responsibilities,
- (b) explain what damages are and are not recoverable,
- (c) know and be able to explain when to settle and when to go to trial,
- (d) complete a full investigation so that every detail is known, and
- (e) discuss with you how property damages can also be recovered.
The Best Attorneys In Anchorage Alaska are also familiar with Alaska’s relevant laws, so that you learn about important factors such as the two-year time limitation to commence your lawsuit (known as the “statute of limitations”), how to best fill out the relevant forms to preserve your rights and the myriad other factors relevant to the post-accident procedures in Alaska.
Other important factors include
- (a) the Court will limit any award you receive based on any amount it deems you are responsible for (known as “comparative negligence”),
- (b) claims for property damage have certain different procedures than those for personal injury,
- (c) prosecuting claims for wrongful death is different from prosecuting a regular personal injury case.
A competent attorney will also inform you that, in most cases, awards for personal injuries may be had for
- (a) economic damages (such as lost wages, medical bills and the like),
- (b) non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering),
- (c) emotional distress,
- (d) wrongful death, and
- (e) loss of consortium (awarded to the injured person’s partner due to the inability of the injured party to perform as they did before).
While the first category is provable through documentary evidence, the latter categories are more subjective and must be presented in such a way where a judge or jury will believe that increased awards are warranted.
Next, if you are dealing with a medical malpractice claim, your attorney should make you aware that Alaska sets limits on the amount of monies awardable to injured persons. Indeed, damages for pain and suffering are capped at the greater of $400,000, or $8,000 for each year a person is expected to remain alive. There is also a $1,000,000 cap for cases of disfigurement or severe physical impairment in such cases.
No matter how angry you are or how egregious the negligence of the other party, punitive damages in personal injury cases are almost never permitted.
Even the steps you take immediately after your automobile accident may impact your award. Indeed, according to the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles, if you are involved in any automobile accident, you must
- (a) assess the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved,
- (b) exchange information with the other driver(s) including, the other driver’s name, phone number, address, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance company name,
- (c) submit a Certificate of Insurance within 15 days,
- (d) contact the local police department (or Alaska State Troopers, if appropriate) and
- (e) mail in an Alaska Motor Vehicle Crash Form to the Alaska DMV. Competent attorneys will help you through this process.
These few paragraphs set forth only a portion of what must be known and done in order to prevail on a claim for personal injury. Clearly, in any personal injury incident, whether caused by a drunk driver or someone else’s negligence, speaking with an experienced Anchorage lawyer even before you speak with any representative of an insurance company is vital. If you do not do so, your chances at a positive outcome, no matter how strong your case may be, is significantly reduced. And not only does retaining these attorneys ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, but it also serves to help build evidence to prosecute your case. If you are involved in any such a situation, it is vital that you reach out immediately.