Where and When Are You Most Likely To Get in Car Accident in Fairbanks, Alaska?
In Part 1 of our Fairbanks Car Accident Guide, we explained the unique dangers Alaskans face behind the wheel, as well as many of the common risks we all share on the road. The Alaska Department of Transportation’s most recent crash data comes from 2011, but it is still very helpful in understanding car crash trends in Fairbanks.
Statewide, 78.4% of car crashes happened in cities, most often in Anchorage. However, 62.9% of fatal car crashes occurred on rural roadways. Despite uniquely Alaskan hazards like moose, icy rural roads, and snowmobiles, more than half of all car accidents in Alaska occurred in intersections. Remember this information the next time you’re considering racing for that yellow light!
Even pedestrians face dangers on our roads. In fact, pedestrians and bicyclists are incredibly vulnerable compared to motorists, who have steel car frames and airbags to protect them. In 2011, nine pedestrians and two cyclists were killed in car accidents in Alaska. If you look closely at Alaska DOT crash data, you’ll see that serious car accidents are spread throughout all 12 months of the year, with one exception: the holidays.
According to the DOT, “Four of the six holiday traffic fatalities in 2011 were alcohol and/or drug related. The percentage of injuries due to impaired driving events was greatest during the Memorial Day weekend (44.1% of Memorial Day injuries plus fatalities), and least during the Thanksgiving holiday (1.8%).”
What to do After You’re Hit by a Drink Driver? What Should I Do After I’m Injured in a Car Accident?
- Safety First!
First, it is important to remember that your first priority after an accident should be the safety of yourself and those around you. Before you do anything else, before you call your insurance company, your spouse, or even curse out the other driver, always take the appropriate steps to ensure your own physical safety. If possible, move your car to a safe area, then call the authorities if you’re in need of medical attention. If you have flares or traffic cones, use them.2. Don’t Panic! Do not Admit Fault.
If you are safe, avoid the temptation to “walk it off”. Alaska is famous for a particular kind of pioneer spirit—for determination and bravado. Many of us take pride in this tough, I-Can-Handle-Anything mindset. Unfortunately, this impulse can get you into trouble after an accident. Not all injuries are immediately apparent; it can take days or weeks for certain injuries to appear.
This means it is crucial not to tell the police, witnesses, or even yourself that everything is fine. If you’ve been in a serious accident, it is possible that you’re in shock and need time for the adrenaline to wear off. If you tell a bystander that you’re okay, it can then be hard to later pursue a personal injury claim for your injuries. In some cases, out of an abundance of politeness, some Alaskans have even accidentally admitted fault to an accident!
Do not repeat their mistake.
3. Speak with the Other Drivers
In a hit and run accident, immediately call the police and inform them of the situation. Even when the other driver does stop, if you have any reason to believe he or she is drunk or intoxicated (check for alcohol on the breath, red eyes, slurred speech, or drug paraphernalia), do not hesitate to tell the police. Ask for the other drivers’ insurance, license plate numbers, and contact information.
4. Take Photos of the Damage
In many countries where car insurance fraud is endemic, motorists have taken to using dashcam video cameras whenever they start their car. While you don’t need to install a 24/7 dashboard camera, it is wise to use your smartphone to take pictures and record notes of the accident scene. Of course, if you’re injured, you should wait for paramedics and then do exactly as they say. Otherwise, it can be extraordinarily helpful to take pictures of any damage to your car, as well as any damage—or lack thereof—to the other cars involved in the accident. Once you are in a safe place, contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident.
5. Document Any and All Expenses That Result from the Crash
If you have suffered injuries or your car has experienced serious damage, then it is absolutely critical that you keep all receipts, photographs, and medical bills documented. Not only will this be important information for your car insurance company, but it may be helpful if another driver was at fault or disputes the facts. And if a drunk, drugged, texting, reckless, negligent, or any other kind of errant driver caused the crash, then you may be entitled to compensation for the crash.
There are many circumstances that warrant a personal injury claim. For example, in accidents involving commercial trucks, it’s often possible to file a claim against the trucking company involved in the accident. If you’ve been victimized by any of the following circumstances, then you could be eligible for free legal representation from experienced car accident attorneys in Fairbanks:
- Were you in an accident with an uninsured driver?
- Were you in an accident with a drunk, drugged, or otherwise reckless driver?
- Were you in a truck accident with a commercial truck driver?
- Was someone in your family killed or injured by another driver?
- Were you struck by a car while on a bicycle, motorcycle, or as a pedestrian?
Even if you were fortunate enough to escape injury in a car or truck accident, it may still be possible to receive a settlement for damages to your car or personal property. Likewise, car accident attorneys can help with auto insurance disputes following an accident.
And if you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, then you may be able to receive a settlement not just for medical bills, but also things like lost wages or emotional trauma. The best way to know for certain whether you have a personal injury claim following a car accident is to contact car accident attorneys in Alaska for an initial consultation.
So if you’re dealing with the painful, traumatic aftermath of a serious car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, then contact personal injury attorneys who specialize in these kinds of cases.
You don’t have to go through this alone.
In Part 3 of our Fairbanks Car Accident Guide, we discuss the personal injury claim process.