In Part 2 of our ongoing Car Accident Guide in Fairbanks, Alaska, we covered the five most important steps drivers can take immediately following a car crash:
- Safety First! Take reasonable steps to ensure your own physical safety.
- Don’t Panic! Do not admit fault or tell bystanders that you aren’t hurt.
- Speak with involved parties and gather insurance and contact information.
- If possible, take photos of the damage to your vehicle and theirs.
- Document any and all expenses that result from the crash, especially medical bills.
The Alaska personal injury attorneys at Ringstad Law Office, P.C. in Fairbanks regularly help the victims of car accidents and even the families of people who died in fatal crashes. Often, these families are desperate to find the best personal injury attorney, and have little idea how to proceed on their own.
While the legal system can help car accident victims receive compensation for their injuries, filing a personal injury claim is a complicated legal process. If you have any questions about how to find a lawyer to file personal injury claims after a car accident, please don’t hesitate to contact the Fairbanks attorneys with Ringstad Law Office, P.C. today.
Most people never imagine that they will one day be searching the Internet for ‘lawyers near me’ following a painful car crash. For many Fairbanks residents, dealing with the aftermath of an accident feels like a waking nightmare that just won’t end.
Let us take it from here.
How do you Get Compensation from Personal Injury Claims? How Long do Personal Injury Cases Take?
Let’s take the second question first. According to statistics from the U.S. District Court system, the median time between filing a civil lawsuit and its conclusion is 8.5 months, up from 7.8 months since 2012. It is important to know that there are never any guarantees when filing lawsuits of any kind. But remember: the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court in a pre-trial settlement.
Often, when an insurance company believes the plaintiff is ready, willing, and able to take the case to a jury trial, they will offer the victim personal injury settlements instead. When an insurance company or another party will not offer personal injury settlements, the plaintiff’s Fairbanks attorneys can help them go to trial.
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Alaska
There are many reasons people seek legal representation for civil lawsuits following an injury. Bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and airplane crashes are all common sources of injury lawsuits both in Alaska and around the country.
For most people filing an injury lawsuit, the first step is finding an Alaska personal injury attorney. Just like you have the right to represent yourself in a criminal trial, you are also free to file injury claims and civil lawsuits without legal representation. However, because of the red tape and complicated legal requirements to bring personal injury claims forward, most people start by choosing an attorney.
Unlike in criminal defense cases, the best personal injury attorneys do not charge clients for representation. That is because most Alaska personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only collect payment when you receive a settlement or damages. If you have a legitimate injury claim after an accident, then you can likely find Fairbanks lawyers who will represent you at no upfront cost, like those at Ringstad Law Office, P.C.
In fact, these are the first questions to ask a personal injury lawyer. Many people don’t know what to ask an attorney in situations like this, which is why it is crucial to have as much information as possible before your first meeting.
If you or someone in your household was injured or killed in any kind of vehicle-involved accident, then you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties, and this doesn’t just include other drivers. For instance, trucking companies can be held responsible in some cases. Determining which person or entity can be held legally responsible for your accident is just one of the ways Fairbanks attorneys can help you start filing personal injury claims.
What Do You Need to Win Personal Injury Lawsuits?
In successful personal injury settlements, the victim—also called the plaintiff—generally has to prove three things:
- The other driver or party is directly responsible for the accident. For example, they were following too closely behind the plaintiff’s car vehicle.
- That the plaintiff suffered documented injuries and/or financial losses from the accident.
- The accident was the direct and primary cause of those injuries and losses.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects data on car accidents around the country, and the latest data shows that 21,132 passengers and drivers died in traffic crashes in 2013, while 2.05 million people were injured, many with lifelong injuries like paralysis, disfigurement, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is no wonder personal injury lawsuits are the most common type of civil lawsuits filed in the United States.
In some cases, car accidents are no one’s fault. Whenever you step into a car you take on a certain amount of risk. Even so, when a drunk driver hurts someone on the road, they could be held responsible for their victims’ medical bills, among other possible damages. Likewise, irresponsible drivers, texting drivers, or just downright reckless people cause fatal accidents everyday.
They should be held responsible. Just like you take on risk whenever you get on the road, drivers take on certain duties when they get behind the wheel.
In order for a personal injury claim to result in a settlement or damages, you must demonstrate that the other party was responsible for breaching those duties. Specifically, you must prove the driver is truly at fault for the accident. Not only that, but you must provide proof that you suffered serious injury and harm. Usually this requires testimony from doctors, medical records, medical bills, your physicians, and/or other witnesses. However, medical bills aren’t the only things personal injury lawyers seek to recover.
Many car accident victims must spend time away from work, and prior paychecks can be used to demonstrate that the plaintiff lost wages or earning capacity because of the accident. Once again, the actual process of documenting and proving this is highly complex. There is so much at stake on proving these claims, it is in your best interest to find lawyers near you for help moving forward.
The lawyers at Ringstad Law Office, P.C. in Fairbanks, Alaska know how much you have at stake after being injured in a car, truck, bicycle, pedestrian, or motorcycle accident. To set up an initial consultation, contact us today.