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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Civil Law Issues Related To the Garner Homicide Trial

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Kevin Garner is on trial for his involvement in Catherine Ahsoak’s death. It is alleged that Garner was intoxicated when he ran over Ahsoak on a Fairbanks street. At the same time, Ahsoak had blood levels of Alcohol and Benadryl. She was also deaf. Ahsoak was allegedly dragged for blocks under Garner’s vehicle. This is what Ahsoak’s family needs to know about related insurance claims:

First, Alaska allows claims for personal injury and death pursuant to AS 09.55.570 and AS 09.55.580. These are complicated statutes that require an attorney to help you understand them. If you are at all interested in seeking civil justice against Kevin Garner, please call an attorney ASAP.

Second, keep an eye on the State’s prosecution of Kevin Garner. If Mr. Garner is convicted of any form of assault and/or homicide, AS 09.60.070 kicks in – allowing the Ahsoak family to claim that her passing was, at least in part, the result of a “serious crime.” That entitles the Ahsoak family to have her attorney fees paid in full.

Third, watch out for the Statute of Limitations. It is only two years for victims of injury and those who are killed in Alaska. Be very sure that if you decide to pursue a legal claim against Garner, you do it well before two years from the date of Catherine’s passing.

Fourth, the fact that Catherine was also intoxicated and lying in the road at the time of this incident is not conclusive of who is at fault. Alaska law mandates that in situations where more than one person may be at fault (Christine for being in the street and Mr. Garner for being drunk behind the wheel) then liability must be split – or apportioned – between them. Hence, Mr. Garner’s insurance company will still be responsible for at least some portion of this loss.

Finally, if Catherine had a car that was insured, or if she was part of a household that had an insured car, there is a good chance that this car insurance will cover her death. Again, this is a complicated area of law that requires an involvement of a personal injury attorney who knows his/her job. It is an area that is worth investigating.

Don’t let Catherine’s death pass without at least trying to make some good of it. Many people who suffer a loss like this hire an attorney, collect the insurance, and set up a foundation to help others. It is a good way to remember that Catherine’s life had value.

The Ahsoak family is in our prayers.