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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Mary L. White Injured in Bus Accident – What She Needs To Know

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On 02/25/09, Mary L. White was badly burned when the school bus she occupied was hit by a 1974 Ford Van that was Westbound at 10.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd. Bus driver Vick L. Glebavicius suffered a broken leg. It appears that the on-coming 1974 Ford Van lost control and spun, entering the School Bus’ lane. If that is the case, liability rests with the driver of the 1974 Ford Van, Clayton J. Spurling – and his insurer.

White and Glebavicius need to take the following action:

1. Get a good copy of the police report. Interview the police officer. Get the scene photos;

2. Hire an accident reconstruction expert to help sort out the crash details. Alaska has a number of qualified experts. They are a bit expensive. At the same time, they will help you determine who was at fault. Nobody want to assert claims against a person who is NOT at fault. Use the expert to help you avoid that mistake;

3. Review the Alaska Administrative Procedures Code at title 13 AAC 02.085(a) which provides that on a two-laned highway (like Chena Hot Springs Road) all drivers must stay in their own lane;

4. Keep an eye on the Statute of Limitations. In Alaska, AS 09.17.070 provides that folks injured in accidents like this have two years to either file their lawsuit or settle their claims. This is VERY IMPORTANT. Do not delay or you risk losing your rights;

5. Do not give any recorded statement to insurance companies. They are trained to trip you up. Wait until you have your feet back under you before you talk to them;

6. Hire an attorney. I’m not fishing for work here. Hire somebody else. Just HIRE SOMEBODY. Having lost a brother in an automobile fire, I know what a nightmare you face. It is critical that you get better – attend all of your doctor appointments. Ask your friends if they know of a good personal injury attorney. Or, check out the Alaska Bar Association’s Lower Referral service. It’s free: 800-990-7777; and

7. Go to www.SlowDownAlaska.org. It’s a site built by my wife and me. It’s really good – explaining about insurance, driving rules, how to file claims when you’re injured, etc. and other steps to take. Insurance companies have a ton of rules. You must follow them to be compensated for your losses;

BOTTOM LINE: Get better. Protect your rights. Go find a good personal injury attorney.

Be well.

Ward Merdes /s/