Monday, June 27, 2011

Death in Parade

During Saturday's Pridefest Parade, a man died because he was run over by a convertible carrying the Parade's Grand Marshall.  Other than the driver losing control of her vehicle, the details of the accident are not fully known.  Everyone agrees that the driver did not intend to cause an accident and feels terrible.

The tragic accident underscores that motor vehicle are a dangerous instrumentality and can kill.   Tragedies like this can happen with only a momentary lack of attention or small mistake.  No amount of money can compensate the family of the victim for their loss. It is because we recognize this fact that laws require that we all carry insurance so that the innocent victims are not forced to carry the burden of someone else's innocent mistake. 

I would expect a lawyer representing the family to assert a damage claim against both the driver and the parade in a statesmanlike but firm way.  See

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rights When One Suffers a Work Injury/Raven Electric

Last week's newspaper article had a sad story about a Raven Electric worker who suffered electrocution injuries.  Sometimes these accidents are caused by employer negligence and sometimes by the negligence of others which the law calls "third parties."

Under Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act, Raven Electric is required to provide insurance to pay for any medical treatment, a disability benefit during the time of recovery up to medical stability, and other benefits if there is a permanent injury and recovery is incomplete.  In return for doing this without requiring the injured worker to hire a lawyer, the law prohibits the injured worker from suing the employer for negligence causing the injury.

If the negligence or mistakes of someone other than the employer caused the accident, the injured worker has a right to sue this "third party" for his full losses.   In cases of significant injury, this is important because the worker does not receive full compensation for his injury.  Specifically, the injured worker's disability payment is less than his actual wages, worker's compensation benefits do not pay the injured worker for any loss of future wages if he is unable to return to work because of his injury, and there are no workers' compensation benefits for non-economic losses which most of us refer to as pain, suffering, and forced changes in life.

Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act may have other impacts on the injured worker that go beyond this comment but you have to play your hand smartly when you are the victim of a life-changing tragedy.  See www.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Health Care for Accident Victims

   Over the last week, I have had been contacted twice by current clients and one potential clients about difficulties in obtaining required health care.  If an accident victim does not obtain medical treatment, the defense argues that he has "failed to mitigate his damages" and, therefore, should receive less compensation.

   When presented with questions like this, my strongest advice to clients is that "their number one job is to get better"  which means making all medical appointments and seeking out doctors who can address their health complaints.  

   You have to play your hand smartly.  See