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Alaska Personal Injury Law Blog

You can stay out of crashes with these 3 tips

Over the last several decades, the overall trend has been for car accidents resulting in fatalities to reduce yearly. However, between 2015 and 2016, the number of deaths caused by crashes suddenly increased significantly from 22,741 in passenger vehicles to 23,793. Car occupants are the most likely to be involved in a fatal crash, making it extremely important for drivers to be cautious on the roadways.

While there is no obvious reason why the number of deaths increased, it's possible that changes in laws and the number of vehicles on the roads plays a role. Regardless of the reason, it's necessary to discuss ways to reduce your risk of being in a collision. Here are three tips to help:

Obtaining damages after a wrongful death

After a person dies due to another person's negligence or recklessness in an accident or other situation, there may be a case for a wrongful death lawsuit. In these lawsuits, family members generally have a right to pursue compensation to help them recover losses associated with the death.

There are a couple kinds of damages a family may receive including pecuniary losses and punitive damages. Pecuniary losses are those that include expected losses due to the decedents inability to continue working and earning. They also include losses based on the decedent's age, health and other factors.

Using your underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is a kind of coverage that helps you protect yourself in the case that you're involved in an accident with someone who does not have enough coverage to settle with you for damages or injuries. This coverage is something you have to purchase, but it gives you peace of mind, since you know that you have coverage no matter what kind of accident you get into.

Nationally, around 13 percent of drivers do not have insurance. That equates to around one in eight drivers, which is a relatively high risk. If you get into a crash with that individual, you'd have to sue him or her personally to obtain the compensation you need for damages and injuries.

Should you file a wrongful death or malpractice case?

Wrongful deaths and medical malpractice-related deaths aren't exactly the same, and the difference is important to your case. A wrongful death case is one that takes place because of a person's death as a result of another person's intentional act or negligence. Medical malpractice can result in a wrongful death lawsuit, but it doesn't have to. A wrongful death lawsuit can also be filed for deaths related to car crashes, intentional killings, police killings and other accidents.

Medical malpractice cases are more specifically focused on the conduct of a medical provider. For these cases, you'll want to show that the doctor or professional's care fell below an acceptable level in the profession. For example, misdiagnosing a disease by misreading a chart could be a sign of malpractice. Medical malpractice is separate from a wrongful death claim, which means that families that have lost a loved one might be able to file both a medical malpractice lawsuit along with a wrongful death case.

Alaska: Drinking a concern in Fairbanks, Anchorage

One of the most common causes of car accidents is drinking and driving. As someone who often travels in the area, you know that the risk of a drunk driver hitting you is there. You probably don't think it's going to happen to you, but it is a possibility.

Drinking is a popular activity around the country, but do you know where Alaska falls on the list of drunkest or driest areas? Fairbanks did make the list, getting named as the 18th drunkest city in America. It's followed closely by Anchorage.

Slip and slide: When water parks become a hazard

You would be hard-pressed to find a child who didn't enjoy going to a water park on a hot summer's day. Even in Alaska, water parks are an accessible form of entertainment. Both indoor and outdoor water parks give kids a chance to relax and cool down, but they can be a source of injury.

Water parks often have rides, wave pools and other attractions that could break, malfunction or otherwise lead to injuries. Water-borne pathogens are a real risk to patrons, and slick surfaces make it more likely for people to slip and fall.

2 passengers die on airlines due to medical emergencies

A woman who recently died during a flight is the center of the news after it's been claimed that American Airlines would not land for her medical emergency. The parents and husband of the woman have filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the 25-year-old woman might have survived if the medical equipment on board the flight had not been faulty and the plane had made an emergency landing.

The lawsuit states that the delay in diagnosing the woman's condition and the delay in obtaining medical help led to her death. She first fainted on the plane three hours after take off. Prior to that, she'd complained of feeling disoriented and dizzy. She was even slurring her speech.

What are some dangerous recreational vehicle mistakes?

When driving a recreational vehicle (RV), there are many things you need to avoid doing so that you don't cause an accident. For example, one mistake you could make in your RV is forgetting to disconnect an electrical cord or sewer hose. While that might not cause an accident right away, it could result in damage to your vehicle that potentially leads to an accident down the road.

Another potential problem is coming in overweight. When your vehicle is overweight, it gets poor gas mileage and isn't as easy to control. It makes your trip dangerous for you and others on the rode. Be reasonable and you won't have an issue with the weight of your RV; pack only what you need.

Playgrounds need to have appropriate layouts

You love it when your child says that he or she wants to play outside. With so many digital distractions, knowing that your child wants to connect with other children and nature is relieving. The problem is that you're not very happy with how the playground in your area is maintained. You've written to the city to ask for improvements, and you were informed that more maintenance would take place to make it safer.

One of the things put into place was a fence near the swing set. You felt oddly about it, because it seemed too close for comfort. Not less than a few weeks later, you found yourself dealing with a child who was cut on the fence after trying to jump off the swing toward it.

What kinds of compensation can you get for a wrongful death?

If someone you love is killed in Alaska, there is a chance to obtain compensation through an action for wrongful death. Taking action through the court gives you a chance to hold the person responsible for your loved one's death accountable, so you can move forward knowing that he or she has faced consequences.

You must file a wrongful death lawsuit quickly after a death of a family member. You have two years from the time of death, according to the state's statute of limitations. You can recover compensation for any losses that are a result of the negligent or wrongful act that cost your loved one his or her life.

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

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