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The Seattle times reports that two occupants of a pickup truck slammed into the back of a parked Carlyle Trucking rig about 20 miles north of Prudhoe Bay last week. Conditions were white-out and the pickup should not have been moving. Ironically, the men were working for the Discovery Channel – building a story on "Ice Road Truckers."

Badly injured were Rick Jumper of Arlington, WA and Ben Swinehart of North Holywood, CA. Less badly injured were Hugh Peterson of West Hollywood, and Scott Simper of Salt Lake City. Because it appears that Mr. Jumper was (likely) at fault for causing this wreck, Mr. Swinehart, Mr. Peterson and Mr. Simper should keep the following in mind:

1. Get better. Attend all of your medical visits. Do what your doctors say. Getting better is the best revenge;

2. Get a copy of all investigating reports – particularly the Trooper report;

3. Give NO recorded statements to ANY insurer until you are thinking straight again. Insurance adjusters are well trained to run you through the ringer;

4. Remember that the Statute of Limitations for personal injury in Alaska is two years. After two years, you will likely lose all rights. This is a very important deadline;

5. Alaska allows claims in situations like this for: (a) medical bills; (b) lost income; and (c) pain/suffering. These claims should be paid by Mr. Jumper’s insurer. If you were in a company vehicle at the time, the company probably has solid insurance on that pickup truck. The minimum insurance in Alaska is 50/100 or $50K per person, up to $100K per accident. It is highly likely that additional insurance is available to cover your claims. You probably also have worker’s comp. claims in addition to your traditional tort claims; and

6. Contact an attorney soon. If you don’t want to contact an attorney, at least visit for an explanation of your claims/rights. I don’t care if you contact me, or not, but please contact a qualified Alaskan injury attorney. Most will talk to you for free – at least pointing you in the right direction.

I am sorry this happened while you were visiting my state. We wish you all well.


Ward Merdes /s/

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