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Alaska Personal Injury Law Blog

The emotional impact of a child's brain injury

When a child suffers from a brain injury, the immediate focus is on medical care and healing. However, that does not mean that the child will ever completely heal. They may have to live with the brain injury for the rest of their life.

This forces kids to grow up very quickly. Life changes in ways they can't control, and there's nothing their parents can do to make it better. This isn't like waiting for a broken arm to heal so they can get back on the basketball court or climb back on their bike. They may have to give things up forever.

'It won't happen to me' syndrome and car accidents

Have you ever seen someone doing something dangerous, warned them about it and then had them tell you that the negative outcome wouldn't happen to them? Maybe they like to dash across the road without going to a crosswalk, insisting they won't get hit. Maybe they like to go rock climbing without a rope, claiming they won't fall.

This syndrome is surprisingly common when it comes to risk and injuries. Despite the numbers, people think of these things as someone else's problem. Experts have called this the "it won't happen to me" syndrome.

Can passengers ride in the camper?

You're going on a trip across Alaska, with your camper and your family. Maybe you're bringing some friends along. (Either way, you're going to have a lot of passengers.) Are your passengers allowed to ride in the camper while you travel, or do they all have to be in the vehicle itself?

In Alaska, the answer is very simple: They cannot ride in the camper. That's true whether you have a truck camper, a 5th wheel or a travel trailer.

Head injury signs that children exhibit

If you're a parent, you know just how hard it can be to figure out what is going on with your child when they're not feeling well. They may lack the vocabulary to express it properly, and extremely young children may not yet be able to speak at all.

While this is a problem with simple things like the flu, it's really a serious issue when children suffer more drastic injuries, such as head and brain injuries. These can potentially be fatal, but children likely have no experience with these types of issues and may not be able to tell you just how bad it is. That's why it is so important to know exactly what signs and symptoms to watch out for.

What kinds of automotive defects result in safety recalls?

There's no way to know in advance that you're about to purchase a defective automobile – and you could find yourself in possession of a "lemon," even if you buy an expensive luxury vehicle. Fortunately, in cases where a specific make and model of a car has dangerous problems associated with it, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will mandate a recall that requires the manufacturer to carry out a free replacement or repair.

Here are some examples of dangerous automotive defects that could trigger a mandatory recall:

What is the top cause of death for children and young adults?

If you were to guess the leading cause of death in the world for children and young adults from 5 to 29, you'd probably be wrong. Most will think it's cancer, influenza or heart problems. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), car accidents are the top cause of death for this age group.

What's even stranger to consider is the fact that 200 years ago, cars didn't exist. If you were to tell someone from this era that, in the future, man would invent a transportation method that would be extremely convenient, but it would also kill more people than all known diseases, they probably wouldn't believe you. At the very least, they would recommend that we stop using this dangerous form of transportation.

What are the most common recreational vehicle injuries?

Unlike some parts of the country where all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used perhaps only during the summer, they're used by many across Alaska to traverse hard-to-navigate terrains during all times of the year. No matter what season that they're used in, they pose many risks for those who either operate or take a ride on them.

ATVs are particularly dangerous as they lack seat belts and a roll cage. The more rugged the terrain is that a rider tries to traverse, the more likely they are to get seriously hurt. Some of the most common injuries ATV riders suffer are concussions and broken bones, as well as injuries of the knee, leg, internal organs and spinal cord.

Pain and suffering compensation: What you should know

Getting seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident implies that you are suffering and in pain. For this reason, if another party caused the accident and injuries, you might be able to pursue compensation related to your pain and suffering. This is in addition to claims for restitution for the cost of your medical care, lost income and other calculable financial damages.

Pain and suffering compensation is not easy to quantify because it's subjective in nature. You can't simply give a receipt to the court that shows definitively that you've endured three "units" of pain and suffering and therefore you should receive "x" amount of dollars in compensation. Furthermore, everyone experiences different levels of pain depending on their body chemistries and nervous systems.

Drivers must be more cautious when children are at play

Drivers need to be careful not to hit pedestrians and bicyclists at all times. In fact, taking care to avoid accidents with pedestrians and cyclists is a matter of law for motor vehicle drivers, and this duty of care becomes higher when children are present.

Adult pedestrians and cyclists are responsible to follow the rules of the road, but children -- when they're out playing -- might not be mature enough to fully understand the law as it applies to them. Children also have a tendency to act in unpredictable and irrational ways. For this reason, drivers are expected to slow down and be extra careful around children in case of a dart-out incident, when a child unexpectedly enters the street in front of a moving motor vehicle.

Important answers to questions about wrongful death claims

Our law firm represents plaintiffs who were injured in serious accidents caused by the negligence of others. We also represent family members of people who died in such accidents. Since most people don't have any kind of experience with wrongful death litigation before coming to our Fairbanks office, they usually have a lot of questions. Here are two questions we encounter on a regular basis:

What if my loved one was not employed? Can I still pursue a wrongful death claim?

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Merdes Law Office, P.C.
455 3rd Avenue
#225/226
P.O. Box 71309
Fairbanks, AK 99707

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Fax: 907-452-8879
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