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Fairbanks, Alaska

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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Alaska Rollover Kills 3, injures 2. Alcohol Involved. Here's the Tort Law…

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An Alaska single-vehicle automobile wreck killed three young men and badly injured two more on Friday. The roll-over occurred at mile 131 of the Parks Highway, about 2 miles South of Denali National Park. Killed were: (1) William Bradley, 21, of Whittier, CA; (2) Nathan Pollard, 21, of La Mirada, CA; and (3) Jerry Luzzi, 21, of La Habra, CA. Injured were: (1) Matthew Holmes, 20, of Hudsonville, MI; and (2) Christopher Niles, 19, of Hudsonville, MI. Alaska State Troopers report that alcohol was a factor. Furthermore, it appears that none of the occupants were wearing seat belts.

Bradley was apparently driving the 2003 Infiniti – that rolled “several times.”

Healing up is most important in situations like this – both emotionally and physically. Get proper care. Do what your doctors say. After a suitable time, consider the legal ramifications of this wreck. To help you, the families of Bradley, Pollard and Luzzi, along with Holmes and Niles, need to know the following information about automobile wrecks in Alaska:

1. The Statute of Limitations is governed by Alaska Statute 09.15.070. It’s two years from the date of this wreck. That means you must normally either settle your claims, or file a lawsuit, within two years of this wreck, or all of your rights will likely be stripped from you. This is VERY important. Keep you eye on the calendar.

2. Claims may be focused on many sources. First, if Bradley was driving negligently, or was intoxicated, his own insurance will cover the others’ losses. Check on the Infinit’s insurance. Also, be sure to look at BOTH the Infiniti’s liaiblity insurance, and its Underinsured Motorist Insurance. In Alaska, occupants are entitled to make claims under BOTH insurance coverages. Remember also that the minimum insurance for automobiles on Alaskan roads is $50K per person, up to $100K per incident. Most folks have more coverage than these minimums. Find out how much insurance covered the Infiniti. Next, look to your own Underinsured Motorist Insurance – on whatever car that you (or your family) drives. It too should help cover losses. Most folks forget about that claim…

3. Get the police report. The Alaska State Troopers do a very good job investigating fatality auto wrecks like this. There are undoubtedly scene photos. Get the police report and all photos. Get all statements from all witnesses.

4. Talk to an accident reconstruction expert. Get the roadway examined. I’ve litigated this area of the Parks Highway before. It’s a mess. The State knows its a mess. Furthermore, the State rarely places appropriate signs to warn motorists that the roadway is a mess. Under Alaskan law, the occupants, including Mr. Bradley’s family, might have a claim against the State of Alaska for bad roadway design/maintenance.

5. Call a good Alaskan Personal Injury Attorney. We have a number of attorneys who are qualified to help these families. It is important to contact one of them soon.

JUST DON’T CALL ME. This information is not advertisement. I do this as a courtesy, to help folks who have taken a beating on Alaskan roads. Please don’t flame me, suggesting that I’m an ambulance chaser. I’m not. Please have a little compassion of the uphill battle these families face. They are free to call any attorney they want – and somebody has to tell them to make that call. I only encourage them to call a real personal injury attorney, not a divorce lawyer to “handles” personal injury claims. Make sure that the attorney you call had worked on these types of cases before – and knows what he/she is doing.

You are all in our prayers.