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Two-Car Accident in Fairbanks Takes Out Traffic Light: What Those Involved Need to Know

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Fairbanks, Alaska—The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that a two-car accident on November 25, 2008 took out a major traffic signal at the intersection of Ballaine and Farmer’s Loop roads near the University of Alaska campus. The accident involved four people. Two of those involved, a man and his 6-year old daughter, were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries they sustained in the accident. Our wishes for a speedy recovery go out to those injured and our sympathy to everyone involved in the accident. Being involved in an accident is a very stressful experience and there are several things that the parties involved should be aware of.

(1) The Statute of Limitations for personal injury and death claims in Alaska is normally two years (AS 09.10.070). This means that all adult parties have two years to file a claim, settle it with the responsible party or the claim goes away and you will never be able to file it. In the case of the minor(s) involved, in Alaska minors have until two years following their 18th Birthday to bring the claim under most circumstances.

(2) If you were a driver in either vehicle, your insurance policy may be available to cover any injuries you sustained in the crash. With respect to the father and daughter who were injured, you may be advised that the other driver’s insurance policy may have a medical bills provision which will cover your injuries and treatment up to a specified amount. However, this will require you to sign a release of claims. This means that you would be forced to give up any/and all claims for that accident against that insurance companies insured. For this reason, it’s critical that you see an attorney who handles these kinds of cases. Additionally, even if that driver is uninsured or not adequately insured, then your under/uninsured motorist coverage may cover any shortfall. If any of the drivers were driving a vehicle other than their own, the vehicle owner’s auto-insurance policy may cover you as a driver of the vehicle.

(3) Seek out the incident report from the Alaska State Troopers ASAP – and consider hiring your own investigator (Visit here for information on obtaining reports. 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.)

(4) Contact an attorney to help you ASAP. Depending on the circumstances you may or may not have a viable claim. However, it is critical that you speak with someone who can properly advise you of all of your rights.

(5) Please remember that any statements you make to the police or to your, or anyone else’s insurance company may be recorded and later used against you. For this reason, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney. Additionally, your attorney will be able to handle your discussions with your insurance company without exposing you to any unnecessary problems and can advise you of how to best obtain compensation for any injuries you sustained in the crash.

(6) Contact an attorney to help you ASAP. For more information on finding an attorney you can contact Ward Merdes for a referral at the number below or you can contact the Alaska Bar Association for a free lawyer referral at 1-800-770-9999, or visit the National Board of Trial Advocacy website at www.nbtanet.org.

We encourage everyone to drive safely in the area surrounding the damages traffic signal and to proceed with caution around the area until the City can install a permanent traffic signal. No matter what the circumstances surrounding the accident were, it’s critical that everyone drive safely and carefully, particularly at this dangerous time of year in Alaska. For more information about staying safe on Alaska’s icy roads and everywhere else, please visit www.slowdownalaska.org.

While you are certainly free to contact Mr. Merdes at 866-735-1102 Ext. 455, this is not a solicitation or legal advice. This is offered as information to the parties involved. No matter who you contact, just be sure to hire an attorney who has handled cases like this before.