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Palmer, Alaska—The Anchorage Daily News reports that 29 year old Joshua A. Brown has passed away from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle, roll-over accident on April 25, 2009. New information has come to light regarding the cause of the accident. The ADN reports that alcohol or prescription drugs may have been a factor in causing the roll-over.

Specifically, this post is directed to the friends and loved ones of Mr. Brown. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of mourning. But as you move through the grieving process, it is important for you to remember your rights:

1.) As we mentioned in an earlier post, you have the right to bring claims against the driver’s insurance policy. Please 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.

2.) Under Alaskan law, any of Joshua’s dependents can bring what is known as a survivor action. A survivor action may allow Joshua’s dependents to recover damages for the pain and suffering he endured as a result of the crash prior to his death. It would also allow for full recovery of medical, burial and related expenses. Finally, his dependents would be entitled to his lost future earnings, lost companionship and, potentially, their own pain and suffering at his loss.

3.) The term “dependent” is not clearly defined under Alaskan law. It would certainly include a spouse or child, but it may also include a loved one who Joshua frequently assisted or a family member or close friend who lived with Joshua. If it is unclear to you whether Joshua has dependents, we strongly encourage you to seek out a lawyer who handles these types of cases.

4.) As we stressed before, it is critical that Joshua’s dependents get the advice of an attorney. Insurance companies are not your friends, particularly not the driver’s insurance company. Even if the driver was Joshua’s close friend, you have still suffered a devastating loss and you may be legally entitled to compensation for your expenses and suffering. This is why people insure themselves—to make sure that if they make a mistake, and someone is harmed, then the people they hurt will be compensated.

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 only as information and a whole-hearted encouragement for you to exercise your rights. 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 Just be sure to call an attorney who has handled cases like this before.

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