Anchorage Car Accident Lawyers
Experienced Legal Help for Car Crash Victims in Alaska
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in an automobile collision, you do not have to suffer the consequences on your own. At Farnsworth & Vance, our Anchorage car accident attorneys can help you fight for justice and the fair compensation you are owed. We have helped many clients secure favorable settlements, allowing them the ability to pay for critical medical care, make up for lost wages, and move forward with their lives.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries & Other Damages?
Most car accidents are the result of negligent or wrongful actions. In fact, distracted driving and drunk driving are two of the leading causes of car accidents, including fatal car accidents, in the United States. When another driver causes an accident that leaves you injured, you have the right to pursue compensation from that driver’s auto insurance provider.
You may be able to seek compensation in a personal injury claim if you were injured in a car accident caused by any of the following:
- Another motorist driving while distracted or texting while driving
- A drunk and/or drugged driver
- A fatigued driver or a driver that fell asleep at the wheel
- Another motorist who was engaging in “road rage” or aggressive driving behaviors
- Someone who was speeding
- Another motorist who failed to follow the rules of the road
- A truck driver or motorcyclist who was acting careless or driving recklessly
In some instances, car accidents occur not as a result of another motorist but due to other factors, such as poor weather conditions, faulty vehicles, or defective road design. You may still be able to recover compensation in such cases, depending on whether a manufacturer, government entity, or another party is at fault. In this type of case, it is especially wise to enlist the help of an Anchorage car accident lawyer who has the skills you need to fight for a favorable outcome.
Common Injuries from Car Accidents in Anchorage
The force of a car accident can cause injury to nearly every part of the body, especially when high speeds are involved or there is a considerable weight difference between the involved vehicles. While some injuries such as bruises and soft tissue injuries can be mild, others can be catastrophic and potentially require a lifetime of medical care. These injuries can extend past the physical and can manifest themselves mentally, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which causes victims to constantly relive the collision in the aftermath. In any case, it is urgent you seek medical care as soon as possible after a collision to protect your health.
Some of the most common types of injuries suffered in car accidents in Anchorage include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken and fractured bones
- Broken ribs
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated discs
- Knee trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
What Is Comparative Negligence?
The state of Alaska follows what is known as the rule of “comparative negligence.” Under this law, you are able to recover compensation if you are injured in an accident even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, your recovery amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are determined to have.
For example, if you are hit by someone who sped through a red light, but you were reading a text message at the time of the collision, a jury might find you 20 percent at-fault for the accident, as texting and driving is illegal in Alaska. If the total cost of your damages (including the cost of your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering) amounts to $10,000, you will only be able to recover up to $8,000 (the total amount minus 20 percent, or $2,000).
The Alaska Car Accident Statute of Limitations
If you have been injured in any kind of auto accident in Anchorage, you need to act fast if you wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in pursuit of compensation for your damages. Under the statute of limitations established in Alaska Statutes section .09.10.070, drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are injured in a motor vehicle accident have two years from the date of the collision to file an injury lawsuit in the state's civil court system. This deadline also applies to wrongful death and property damage lawsuits related to car accidents. If you file a claim after this deadline expires, your case will likely be dismissed and you will effectively be barred from pursuing compensation.
It is important to note that this two-year deadline only applies to car accident lawsuits; insurance claims have a much tighter deadline and generally must be filed within a few days of the crash to be eligible for coverage. Since complying with these deadlines can ultimately make or break your case, it is important to consult with a skilled Anchorage auto accident lawyer as soon as possible to protect your interests.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Anchorage
A car accident can be a jarring experience that can make ordinarily calm and collected people lose their composure. If you are involved in a collision, it is important to keep focused and have a plan in place to protect both your health and rights.
Involved in a crash in Anchorage? Be sure to do the following:
- Stay at the scene and render aid: Never flee the scene of an accident. If anyone is seriously injured, call for an ambulance.
- Call the police: Alaska law requires you to report a crash to police if it results in injury, death, or more than $2,000 worth of property damage. The police will get the accident scene under control, help you with your immediate next steps, and establish a written report of the collision. Be sure to tell the police your version of what happened. Stick to the facts and avoid speculation.
- Take photographs: Take photographs of the damage to all involved vehicles, their positioning in relation to each other, skid marks on the roadway, weather conditions, traffic patterns, and any other details that paint a picture of the accident scene. If you can, get photographs of any injuries you may have suffered before they are treated.
- Exchange information: Get the contact information of all individuals involved as well as any witnesses to the crash for future reference. Be sure to get names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy information. Be respectful during this time and focus on the task at hand. Do not blame the other driver or discuss the collision.
- Seek medical help: Once the responding police officer clears you to leave the accident scene, get to a doctor as soon as possible for a full medical evaluation, even if you feel fine. Many car accident injuries have delayed symptoms which may take hours or even days to surface. Tell the doctor you were in a crash and tell them about any pain you may be feeling. Follow their after-care instructions closely and keep all documents related to your treatment.
- Seek legal advice: You'll need to inform your insurance company you were involved in a crash within a few days. Before you talk to an insurance adjuster, it is highly recommended you speak to an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases to determine the best way to proceed. A lawyer can help you understand your full legal options and handle all communication with the insurance company so you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
Along with knowing what to do after a car accident, it is important to avoid certain actions or statements that can potentially harm your subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Avoid saying “sorry”: It can sometimes feel instinctual to say, “I’m sorry” when you see someone hurting or not at their best. Avoid this phrase when talking with the insurance company or the other party in a car accident. Saying “sorry” can be interpreted as admitting fault, even if the accident was caused by the other party.
- Avoid speaking with the insurance company alone: Everything you say to the insurance company can be used against you in a court of law. You make yourself less vulnerable in your claim if you decline to make a recorded statement with the insurance company, or if you request that someone else speak on your behalf. Information provided from a third party, such as your lawyer or sibling, cannot be upheld to the same legal standards as information provided directly from you.
- Avoid posting conflicting photos on social media: Social media is a great tool to get information into the world and should be handled with great care, especially regarding legal matters. Anything you post on social media can be used against you in a court of law. To be safe, it is best to wait until your claim is closed before posting anything about your accident to social media. That way, nothing is misconstrued or taken out of context.
Reasons to Hire an Anchorage Car Accident Lawyer
The last thing you need after being seriously injured in an auto accident is to be stonewalled by an uncooperative insurance company. You can be sure that the opposing party's representation will be fighting to limit their financial liability, making it essential that you retain strong representation of your own to level the playing field. A skilled car accident attorney in Anchorage can take this burden off your shoulders and maximize your chances of securing the compensation you need.
A car accident attorney can bring several benefits to your case, including:
- An intimate understanding of Alaska's car accident laws and how they apply to your case
- Resources to investigate the cause of your crash and build a strong case on your behalf
- Assistance getting your vehicle repaired or replaced
- Assistance negotiating with insurance companies in pursuit of a fair settlement
- An objective approach to your case during this emotional time
- Assistance acquiring the medical care you need to recover from your injuries
- The resources to pursue litigation if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached
Contact an Experienced Anchorage Car Accident Attorney
Car accident cases tend to be complex, as there are numerous factors involved that make each case unique. Additionally, the liable party’s insurance provider will often deny culpability or offer a lowball settlement. At Farnsworth & Vance, we understand how these insurance companies work, and we know how to aggressively negotiate with adjusters in order to secure the maximum compensation you are owed. When a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to represent you in trial.
Anchorage Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long will it take to settle my claim?
The length of your case will vary depending on factors such as the extent of your injuries and the amount of treatment required for you to fully heal, the cooperation of the involved insurance companies, and whether or not your case goes to trial. Car accident cases can sometimes reach a settlement in as little as a few months after you finish treatment, while others can potentially take more than a year to reach a resolution. It is best to consult with an attorney to get a more accurate representation of the likely timeline of your case. For more information, read our blog answering this question in detail.
How much is my car accident case worth?
Every car accident case is different, therefore it is difficult to predict the financial value of your case without discussing the details of your situation with a skilled attorney. Generally speaking, however, the value of your car accident case will be heavily influenced by factors such as the type and severity of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatments, the extent of damage to your vehicle, the amount of available insurance coverage, the level of evidence proving the other driver's fault, and the quality of your legal representation. Car accident cases that involve more severe, life-changing injuries or wrongful death tend to yield higher settlements and jury verdicts than those involving comparatively minor injuries such as whiplash.
The driver that hit me does not have insurance. Can I still be compensated?
Possibly. If the driver that hit you does not have insurance, does not have enough coverage to cover your losses, or fled the scene of the accident, you will need to pursue a claim with your own insurance company under your policy's Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Unlike liability coverage which pays for any injuries or damage you may cause, UM coverage covers you for any damages that an uninsured driver should cause, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other property damage costs. UIM coverage is essentially the same, with the difference being that it provides an additional layer of coverage for any damages that exceed the at-fault driver's policy limits. Insurance companies in Alaska are required to offer UM/UIM coverage, though drivers are given the ability to opt out.
If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, there is a chance you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver in pursuit of compensation. With that being said, since many uninsured drivers have little in terms of money or personal assets, actually collecting on any judgment you may receive is unlikely. For this reason, we urge drivers to never leave themselves vulnerable and purchase at least the minimum amount of UM/UIM coverage.
I was driving without insurance and got in an accident. Can I still be compensated?
Possibly, but it will come at a cost. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Alaska without insurance. If you get in a collision while driving without insurance, you will likely face fines, a suspension of your driving privileges, and even possible jail time. Driving uninsured can make it difficult to be compensated for damages if you are not at fault and can have long-lasting and life-changing consequences if you are at fault.
If the accident is your fault, you will be responsible for paying for all damages out of your own pocket, which can easily total into the tens of thousands of dollars. Both the other driver and their insurance company can sue you and have your future wages and savings garnished to pay for the damages.
If the accident was not your fault, there is a chance you may be able to recover some for your medical bills and other damages under the at-fault driver's liability coverage. Under Alaska's pure comparative negligence laws, however, you will likely not be able to recover all of your losses. While driving uninsured does not absolve the other driver of any liability, you will almost certainly be penalized and unable to recover everything you would be entitled to if you had insurance.
My car insurance has medical payments coverage. Should I use it to pay for my treatment?
You should call us first because we can leverage your coverage and get a better outcome for you. This is a difficult question. It is often easier to have the doctor bill your medical payments coverage, but it can also reduce the amount of money you take home from your injury claim. It is always best to let our firm handle your medical payments coverage. We can negotiate your medical bills lower before applying for your medical payments coverage in order to get the most value out of your benefits.
Do I have to accept the settlement the insurance company offers me?
No. In fact, it is encouraged that you discuss your claim with an experienced attorney before accepting any settlement being offered by an insurance company. The last thing you want is to accept a settlement that is far lower than the full value of your losses associated with your injuries, thereby preventing you from being able to get the treatment or recovery options you deserve. Always review any settlement offer with a car accident attorney before making a decision.
Will I have to go to court for my car accident case?
Not necessarily. Most car accident cases are resolved through out-of-court negotiations between your attorney and the at-fault driver's insurance company. However, if our attorneys believe that you are being treated unfairly or that the insurance company is refusing to offer you an amount that fully compensates you for your losses, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial.
Are car accident injury settlements taxable?
The answer to this question may vary depending on the specific situation, but generally speaking, if you are awarded a settlement that compensates you for your out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident, you will not be taxed on this settlement. With that being said, it is always best to consult with a tax professional to determine the exact tax implications of your car accident settlement.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney?
The last thing you need after being injured in a car accident is to face the high cost of legal fees during your pursuit of compensation from the at-fault driver. Most car accident lawyers, including those at Farnsworth & Vance, accept cases on a "contingency fee basis," meaning that you will not be required to pay any out of pocket expenses if the firm agrees to take on your case. Instead, your attorneys will only be paid if they are successful in securing a financial award or settlement on your behalf.
What should I do if the insurance company contacts me?
After you report your accident to your or the at-fault party's insurance company, you can expect to be contacted by a representative soon after. It is important that you do not speak with them about the collision, as they may pressure you into accepting a settlement that is lower than you deserve. Instead instruct them to speak with your attorney and let them handle all negotiations on your behalf.
Do I really need to hire a car accident lawyer?
There is no exact science as to when you should and when you should not hire a lawyer to represent you in a car accident case. However, if at any time you do not feel comfortable handling your claim on your own, for any reason, you should at the very least consult with an attorney and discuss your legal options in full. Some car accident cases that result in only cosmetic damage or minor scrapes and bruises can usually be resolved on your own without the assistance of an attorney. If your case involves considerable damage to your vehicle, severe injuries, missed time at work due, or if the opposition is denying fault for the crash, it is in your best interests to hire an attorney.
How soon after a car accident should I contact an attorney?
An attorney may not be the first person that comes to mind to contact after a car crash. At the scene, it may be more important to call 911 and summon medical help or contact family members and let them know what happened. After you have taken care of all urgent and potentially life-threatening issues, contact an attorney. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner you can get advice on how to protect your rights, how to act quickly to preserve evidence, and how to put yourself in the best position possible to recover compensation for your injuries. The longer you wait to take action, the greater potential there is for costly errors or roadblocks to arise in your case.
I was given a ticket at the accident scene. Does this mean I am at fault?
Not necessarily. Traffic tickets are only a piece of the puzzle and are not always the deciding factor when assessing blame for a crash. While being issued a citation might mean you are partially at fault, it is entirely possible that an investigation may reveal the other driver played a greater role in causing the crash. Additionally, it is important to know that signing your ticket is not an admission of guilt, but rather an acknowledgement that you have received a notice to appear in court.
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- What Evidence is Needed After a Car Crash?
- The Truth About Insurance Company Tactics After a Car Accident
- What to Do Following a Car Crash
- Always Hire an Attorney for Your Car Accident Case
- How to Get Your Driving Record in Alaska
- Do I Have to Take the Auto Insurance Company's First Offer?
- These Are Alaska's Most Dangerous Roads
They fought for every dollar that was rightfully mine. I would 100% recommend Farnsworth and Vance.- Lateecia L.
I have never needed legal representation before and he was so patient, explaining everything in layman's terms for me so that we were on the same page every step of the way.- Francesca B.
I worked with Jeff Vance on my personal injury case. I was more than pleased with the way he handled the case.- Ernie G.
Concierge Level of Service
We believe in taking care of our clients. We'll stand by you & help you navigate the complicated legal process from start to finish, including meeting you at your home or hospital if you cannot travel.
Some of our clients are afraid that, if they hire a lawyer, it means they will have to go to court. Because of our insurance industry insight, we usually settle claims without needing to do so.
Our office handles cases of all sizes & types. Whether you were injured in an accident or a loved one passed away through the fault of another, our office has the experience to help you recover.
Insurance Industry Insight
Our team has insider knowledge of the insurance industry because many used to work for some of Alaska's largest insurance providers. Now, they use that knowledge to advocate for our clients.
Car Accident $800,000 Recovered, $80,000 Debt Forgiven.
Pedestrian in a Parking Lot $270,000 Recovered, $470,000 Debt Forgiven.
Car Accident $235,000 Recovered, $72,000 Debt Forgiven.
T-Boned by an Uninsured Driver $225,000 Recovered, $100,000 Forgiven
Motor Vehicle Accident $174,500 Recovered
Car Accident Worsens Preexisting Conditions $172,000 Recovered, $300,000 Forgiven
Client Hit By Driver Running a Red Light $165,000 Recovered, $70,000 Forgiven
Shoulder & Arm Surgery $160,000 Recovered, $70,000 Forgiven
Motor Vehicle Accident $138,000 Recovered
Motor Vehicle Accident $123,000 Recovered