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Anchorage Alaska Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driving: helping your brain make safe decisions

In a previous post, we discussed the rise in cell phone-related distracted driving accidents in recent years. Alaska has responded to the problem by passing firm legislation, which bans the use of electronic devices while driving and creates stiff penalties for violators.

Still, cell phones remain a major source of distraction for drivers. When you’re driving down the highway and hear the ping of your cell phone next to you—alerting you to a new message—it can be hard to resist. Your hand almost instinctively reaches over to check your phone. But why does this happen?

Recognizing and responding to a drunk driver

It’s becoming increasingly common to encounter careless drivers on the road. Aggressive driving and road rage are particularly common during rush hour. In addition, the smartphone era has led to a significant spike in distracted driving. Still, drunk driving remains one of the deadliest forms of negligent driving—causing more than one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities in the state of Alaska.

When you encounter a dangerous driver on the road, it can be extremely beneficial to be able to distinguish the cause of the driving behavior—in order to inform how you should safely respond. Avoiding a collision with an aggressive driver requires a different response than with a drunk driver, for example.

When a close family member suffers serious injury or death

In a previous post, we discussed the concept of loss of consortium—and how a spouse can recover for losses they experience if their spouse is seriously injured or killed. In many states, loss of consortium recovery is limited to an accident victim’s spouse or partner.

However, some states recognize the value of other types of close relationships—and that there are other types of relations who would seriously suffer if their loved one became incapacitated. Alaska is one such state.

Reduce the chances of a fall with these reminders

An uneven sidewalk or wet floor can be more hazardous than most people realize. A fall might be simply embarrassing for one person, but incredibly dangerous for another, resulting in life-threatening injuries. In fact, falls are the number one cause of injuries among older adults.

Slipping and experiencing a severe injury can be not only physically traumatizing, but emotionally as well. It can result in isolation for some people who take longer to recover physically and mentally. Worse yet, falling once will increase the chance of falling again. Someone recovering from a fall will experience mobility and balance issues or may be impaired by medication. There are ways to minimize the risk of tripping and falling.

Don't forget the financial demands of sudden spinal cord injury

If you suffer a catastrophic injury, expect life changes. Some issues, such as multiple appendage fractures, can sideline you for months. More serious trauma, like brain or spinal cord injuries, tend to result in more permanent function impairments. That means greater-than-average expenses. And that demands dedicated planning to ensure meeting financial needs.

If your condition is the result of an event outside of your control – a vehicle accident, slip and fall, or hazards stemming from another's negligence – blame for your situation can be assigned to that person or entity. And you have a right to seek to hold them accountable for your expenses. The process can be legally complicated. An experienced attorney can help.

Understand options for pursuing injury compensation

If you've been involved in an incident in or around Anchorage in which another's negligence caused you injury, your first focus needs to be on getting better. Another objective – one that can be harder to reach – is being confident that you don't get caught in a monetary quagmire that leaves you and your family financially disabled. Your body's natural healing power and medicine can help with the first goal. The second can be more difficult.

After an injury, the first inclination of most people is to think that full compensation of all tangible damage to body and property will happen through an insurance claim. The problem this raises is that most individuals don't have an appreciation of what all the costs can amount to. Getting a grip on that and on the various options available for pursuing optimal compensation is why it's useful to consult an attorney.

Notoriously dangerous: KGB Road safety concerns

The Knik Goose Bay Road is a popular scenic drive with a history rooted in the Knik trade center era, pre-Anchorage days. Unfortunately, the road is notoriously dangerous for regular commuters and tourists. Although over $9 million has already been dedicated to improving safety on the road, auto accidents are still four times more likely on the road than the national average. Improvements include added signals, signs and striping.

Fatalities have continued to rise on the KGB Road for the past three years. The community has made complaints about driver safety on the KGB Road and is pushing administration to make changes sooner rather than later. Fortunately, the state has two construction projects scheduled for the road in 2020 and 2021.

What's the risk of seizures after a brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can take several forms. Some are more severe than others. If you suffer a closed head injury there may be serious damage to the brain inside the skull, but no visible damage on the outside. Regardless, in addition to the injury itself there is the possibility that it can lead to secondary issues for some victims.

Lapses in memory – either short- or long-term – can occur. Other signs that might seem unrelated to TBI, but which can be significant markers include states of confusion, mood or personality changes and unexplainable lethargy. Another issue that might be less common but no less important to watch for are seizures.

What happens if my injury was partially my fault?

You’re driving home after a long day, and distractions fill your head. Thoughts of your day at work, your plans for tonight and the weekend to come all occupy your mind. Amidst these distractions, you forgot to put on your seatbelt before driving.

Suddenly, another driver runs a red light. The ensuing crash leaves you with catastrophic injuries. But you were the one who didn’t buckle up, so whose fault is it? Are you on the hook for whatever consequences come from your unsafe decision?

Why should I work with an attorney for a slip and fall injury?

When is the last time you nearly tripped and fell? What were the circumstances? If it happened in your own home, you might have only yourself to blame. But if it happened nearly anywhere else and because of some negligent action or inaction on the part of an Anchorage property owner, blame now shifts.

Under premises liability law, the presumption is that if you are invited onto another's property, the owner has met his or her duty to maintain the facilities in such a way that they are reasonably safe. So, if you happen to catch your toe on a rumpled mat at the front door of a building and suffer injury in the fall, you likely have a right to seek compensation for your care, pain and suffering.

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Anchorage, AK 99515-3323

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