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Ward Merdes
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Alaskan Samantha Bonnell Killed in California. Here's The Law…

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In a tragic story involving years of uncertainty and suffering for Palmer Alaska mother Mary Weir – 17 year old Samantha Bonnell’s body was finally identified. Just days before her 18th birthday, it appears that Samantha was killed on a California freeway. Details are unclear, but it appears that Samantha was hit by numerous vehicles. Here’s what Mary Weir needs to know about related claims:

1. Statute of Limitations: The Statute of Limitations for personal injury / death accidents in Alaska is two years for Adults. Children (under 18 years old) have only two years from their 18th birthday. AS 09.05.070 provides:

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, a person may not bring an action (1) for libel, slander, assault, battery, seduction, or false imprisonment, (2) for personal injury or death, or injury to the rights of another not arising on contract and not specifically provided otherwise; (3) for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property, including an action for its specific recovery; (4) upon a statute for a forfeiture or penalty to the state; or (5) upon a liability created by statute, other than a penalty or forfeiture; unless the action is commenced within two years of the accrual of the cause of action.

Mary Weir should immediately contact an attorney – in Alaska – who can help her with related Statute of Limitations issues that may arise under California law.

2. Wrongful Death Claims: Wrongful Death Claims are handled under AS 09.55.070 and AS 09.55.580 in Alaska. These statutes provide that claims for “pre-death” pain/suffering exist and benefit Samantha’s estate. Mary Weir has individual claims for emotional distress, loss of consortium and the death of her child. Again, Mary Weir should contact an Alaskan attorney who can evaluate this case and determine whether Alaska, or California law applies. This should be done ASAP.

3. Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claims: Mary Weir’s own auto insurance company should provide coverage for this tragedy. To the extent Samantha’s death was caused by another motorist’s negligence – and that might only be a fraction of the total loss as some may be attributable to Samantha’s conduct – then Mary’s own insurance company should compensate for that portion.

The Weir family remains in our prayers.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.