How to Protect Your Legal Rights After a Truck Accident in Alaska

Truck accident occurring on a highway road.

Large commercial trucks are commonly seen on Alaska’s highways — and unfortunately, accidents involving them happen all too often. If you’ve been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, a tractor-trailer, a tanker, or another commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you suffered. However, if you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it’s important to understand that there are a number of steps you should take to protect your legal rights in order to obtain the monetary recovery you deserve.

Contact the Police

The first thing you should do to protect your legal rights after a truck accident is call 911. Not only is this important to get the medical help you may need, but also to document the crash. The police will arrive at the scene and take a report that includes many important details concerning the accident. While the report cannot be used as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit, it can be a vital document when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

Obtaining prompt medical attention is crucial to safeguard your legal rights after an Alaska truck accident. Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt, some injuries do not appear until weeks later. By going to the emergency room directly from the scene of the accident, you begin to document your case. Documenting your injuries immediately after the crash can also be useful when it comes to proving causation — and establishing that your injuries were the result of the truck accident and not another incident.

Take Photos or Video of the Scene of the Accident

If possible, try to take photos or video at the scene of the truck accident to document skid marks in the road, the position of the vehicles, debris, damage, and other evidence. You should also obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident occur. These pieces of evidence can be useful to demonstrate liability in your case.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Once you have obtained the initial medical care you need, you must continue to follow your doctor’s treatment plan. For instance, if your doctor has recommended physical therapy several times a week, it’s essential to attend the appointments. Delaying or stopping treatment before you have reached maximum medical improvement can adversely impact your claim. Specifically, a gap in treatment can result in the other side arguing you are not as injured as you claim to be — and an insurance adjuster will use this against you in an attempt to devalue your injuries.

Keep a List of Your Damages

After a truck accident, you may be eligible to obtain compensation for things like unreimbursed medical bills, prescriptions paid out-of-pocket, the costs of hiring replacement services, and your lost wages. Keep an itemized list of your economic losses, along with any receipts, invoices, and bills. These documents will be crucial evidence to prove your monetary losses. You should also keep a journal that details the physical pain, limitations, and challenges you experienced each day due to your injuries to help establish your non-economic losses.

Know that Various Companies Can Be Held Liable for Your Damages

Depending upon the specific facts and circumstances surrounding a commercial truck accident, various companies can potentially face liability for your injuries. These may include the trucking company, the shipping company, the truck manufacturer, a maintenance shop or dealership, and the municipality responsible for maintaining the road. Significantly, Alaska follows the rule of “pure several liability” when the conduct of multiple parties may have contributed to an accident. This means that you are only permitted to recover from each defendant their portion of liability.

Don’t Miss the Statute of Limitations

Following a truck accident in Alaska, you have two years to bring a personal injury lawsuit for your injuries from the date the accident occurred. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait that long to consult with an attorney or commence a legal action — evidence must be properly preserved, and the accident should be investigated as soon as possible. By waiting until the statute of limitation is nearly expired, you run the risk of evidence being lost or destroyed in your case, including evidence from the accident scene, the truck’s black box, or dash cam footage.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

Once you’ve obtained the medical assistance you need, the next thing you should do is consult with legal counsel. In addition to advising you regarding the steps to take to safeguard your rights, an attorney who has experience handling truck wrecks will know how to maximize your compensation and have the necessary skills to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount, a personal injury attorney will know how to prepare your case for trial.

Contact an Experienced Alaska Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in an Alaska truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your economic damages and pain and suffering. The Trial Guy, Attorney Eric Derleth, offers high-quality legal services and aggressive advocacy to those who have been injured due to the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. Proudly serving Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Palmer, Wasilla, and other areas of Alaska, The Trial Guy is dedicated to securing the best possible outcome for each client. Call 907-262-9164 to schedule a free consultation at our Anchorage or Soldotna office, or contact us online. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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