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James Cool
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Female Driver Seriously Injured After Being Ejected From Vehicle

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Anchorage, Alaska—The Anchorage Daily News reports that a woman was seriously injured on April 27, 2009 after she was ejected from her seat following a collision with another vehicle. The accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. when two vehicles collided at the intersection of Boundary Ave. and Muldoon Rd. Immediately following impact, the female driver was ejected from her vehicle which then careened into a nearby pole before coming to rest. She was transported to the hospital for treatment, but police stated that she was able to talk when they arrived. Fortunately, her baby traveling in the passenger seat was unharmed and remained inside the vehicle. Police have not released the name of the drivers or details about their conditions. It is not clear who or what caused the accident.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those injured. We wish you a speedy recovery and hope that you have not suffered any lasting injury in the crash. However, once you are finished recovering you may find that you have sustained lasting injuries which deserve compensation and you will, at the very least, have medical bills that you must deal with. With that in mind, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

(1) Seek out the incident report from the Alaska State Troopers ASAP. (Visit http://www.dps.state.ak.us/PIO/ for information on obtaining reports.) The police determination of who is at fault is not always correct and is certainly not the only interpretation but figuring out what the officers at the scene saw and determined is the first step to figuring out who is at fault for the accident.

(2) You may want to hire an investigator to examine the scene of the accident. It may already be too late to determine the exact conditions of the road or other helpful information, but the sooner you can collect evidence from the scene where the accident happened, the more valuable it will be. It is possible that an accident investigator may discover a defect in the road/traffic light design or other maintenance problem which explains the cause of the accident. If you are not sure whether this is a good idea or not, you should contact an attorney who handles cases like this and seek their advice.

Once you have this information you should:

(3) Contact an attorney to help you ASAP. Depending on the circumstances you may or may not have a viable claim against the city/state. While you are certainly free to contact Mr. Merdes at 866-735-1102 Ext. 455, this is not a solicitation or legal advice. If you would like a referral, feel free to contact Ward Merdes or call the Alaska Bar Assn. for a free lawyer referral: 800-770-9999. You can also try the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) at www.nbtanet.org. Just be sure to call an attorney who has handled cases like this before.

(4) Remember that the Statute of Limitations for personal injury and death claims in Alaska is normally two years (AS 09.10.070). This means that you have two years to file your claim, settle it with the responsible party or your claim goes away and you may lose the ability to pursue it.

(5) BE VERY CAREFUL TALKING TO YOUR OR ANYONE ELSE’S INSURANCE COMPANY. No insurance company is your friend. They are only concerned with their bottom line. Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you later. Contact an attorney who talks to these people for a living to make sure that your interests and assets are protected.

(6) It is not clear who is at fault for the accident, but please be aware that it may be possible to obtain compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and medical expenses from your or the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver is uninsured or not insured enough, your own un/underinsured motorist coverage can make up the difference. Also, you will want to find out if you or the other driver have Med Pay. Med Pay is a provision in insurance policies which provides for coverage of medical expenses above and beyond the basic policy limits. Even if you don’t have auto insurance yourself, if anyone you live with and happen to be related to has med pay or under/uninsured motorist coverage on their policy, then you may be able to file a claim for coverage under your resident relative’s policy.

(7) Also, that a driver was thrown from the vehicle raises some concern. If the female driver was not wearing her seatbelt, please remember that seatbelts save lives. If she was and the seatbelt did not work, then she should definitely speak to an attorney about a possible products liability claim against the manufacturer of the seatbelt.

Always remember it’s critical that everyone drive safely and carefully as Alaskan roads can be very dangerous. For more information about staying safe on Alaska’s icy roads, please visit www.slowdownalaska.org.