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Alaska Personal Injury Law Blog

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?

Driving the speed limit could save your life

There are many "seemingly good" reasons to speed in your vehicle and even more "horribly bad" reasons to speed in your vehicle. When you consider why speed limits exist, hopefully you will never want to speed in your car again. So let's take a quick look at the most important reasons why, when the speed limit sign says 30, you should never drive an additional five or 10 mph over the limit.

You could be held financially liable

What damages can I pursue in a wrongful death lawsuit?

If you lost your loved one in a fatal accident, no amount of money and no amount of litigation will approach making you whole again. Nevertheless, the Alaska civil court system does provide the avenue for individuals to pursue restitution when their loved one is killed due to the fault, negligence or wrongful behavior of another party. This restitution usually takes the form of financial compensation.

But how does a court place a monetary value on a human life in a wrongful death suit? Unfortunately, this is impossible. The best the court can do is try to estimate the financial value that an individual brought to his or her family -- and will likely bring in the future. In addition, courts will try to compensate family victims in some way for their loss of relationship and loss of care and affection.

Wrongful death suit against Petersburg borough gets a trial date

On Independence Day in 2016, two young Alaska women lost their lives in a fatal motor vehicle accident. The fatal van crash occurred on South Nordic Drive in the Petersburg borough when the automobile left the roadway and rolled over. The driver, a 23-year-old male, and another young woman survived the crash.

Just days ago in November, a trial date for the lawsuit was finally scheduled and is set to commence on Jan. 13, 2020. All four occupants of the van were working at the time for the Petersburg borough department of Parks and Recreation. This wrongful death case is especially complex because it targets several entities, including the driver of the van, the Petersburg borough and the state of Alaska.

Will driverless vehicles save lives?

When most people think of driverless vehicles, they think of how incredible it will be to read a book or take a nap during their morning commutes to work. What they don't always consider are the amazing benefits that will come with autonomous vehicles once this technology matures. In fact, autonomous cars could virtually make car crashes a thing of the past.

Let's look at the three most important benefits of driverless cars:

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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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