On this page, we will look at the average settlement value of Alaska personal injury cases and some of the key points of personal injury law.
Alaska Injury Verdicts and Settlements
- 2023, Alaska: $1,200,000 Verdict. The plaintiff was helping install a crucifix at the defendant’s home when the wire they were using broke and the crucifix fell, along with the plaintiff. The plaintiff reportedly suffered brain injury symptoms and a rib injury, limiting the use of his left arm and preventing him from lifting, performing manual tasks and working normally. The plaintiff alleged the defendant negligently purchased and/or selected inadequate wire.
- 2022, Alaska: $244,951 Verdict. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered multiple finger fractures when, as she was entering a Home Depot store she was knocked down by a shoplifter that was allegedly being pursued by a Home Depot employee. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had a no-chase policy against pursuing customers for shoplifting at the time of the incident and was negligent through its employee who acted unreasonably in chasing down the shoplifter.
- 2021, Alaska: $1,635,094 Verdict. The plaintiff, a 60-year-old ob/gyn, reportedly suffered a diffuse hemorrhagic brain injury with marked damage to the white brain matter and decreased perfusion of blood flow to the frontal and temporal lobes of her brain leading to progressive brain volume loss and resulting in cognitive impairment. The injuries were caused by a truck accident with the defendant truck driver.
- 2020, Alaska: $510,838 Verdict. A construction flagger was struck by a bus. She suffered an incomplete rotator cuff tear and radiculopathy. The woman underwent shoulder surgery. She alleged negligence against the bus driver. The woman claimed he failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and stop after hitting her. She also made a vicarious liability claim the Municipality of Anchorage. The jury awarded $510,838.
- 2019, Alaska: $2,672,000 Verdict. A man and his two children visited his parents. The boiler unit made unusual noises. The man attempted to turn off the boiler, which exploded. He sustained severe burns and spinal injuries. The man alleged negligence against the housing authority that owned his parents’ home. He claimed it failed to inspect and repair the boiler and furnace. The jury awarded $2,672,000.
- 2019, Alaska: $80,341 Verdict. A tenant slipped and fell on an ice patch outside of the driveway. She fractured her left humerus. The woman alleged negligence against her landlord. She claimed he failed to maintain safe premises and control the ice around it. The jury awarded $80,341.
- 2018, Alaska: $108,200 Verdict. A woman was involved in two collisions. The first one was a rear-ender. She suffered a concussion and soft-tissue cervical, lumbar, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle injuries. The woman was T-boned in the second one. She suffered additional personal injuries. Both these collisions were consolidated into a single case. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver in each collision. Her verdict totaled $108,200.
- 2018, Alaska: $275,000 Settlement. A soccer ball hit a fourth grader’s face in gym class. The boy suffered a concussion and a vision injury. He was now blind in one eye. The boy’s parents alleged negligence against the Juneau school district. They claimed the gym teacher lacked ample training to prevent the boy’s injury. This case settled for $275,000.
- 2018, Alaska: $158,623 Verdict. A woman slipped and fell on an ice patch outside of an Alaska Airlines terminal. The woman suffered a left patella fracture, a wrist injury, and the exacerbation of her pre-existing degenerative spondylosis. She underwent knee surgery. The woman alleged negligence against Alaska Airlines. She claimed its employees failed to maintain safe premises and clear ice from the parking lot. The jury awarded $158,623.
- 2018, Alaska: $100,000 Settlement. A man was rear-ended. He suffered L5-S1 and T1 protrusions and paresthesia to his legs, feet, left hand and fingers, and groin. The man also sustained urge incontinence and urinary urgency. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed she excessively sped. This case settled for $100,000.
- 2018, Alaska: $18,768 Verdict. A man was rear-ended. He suffered whiplash, a lower back strain, a hip contusion, and headaches. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to timely brake and safely operate her vehicle. The jury awarded $18,768.
What Goes into Calculating Settlement Amounts in Alaska?
In Alaska, the assessment of compensation in personal injury and medical malpractice cases relies on diverse factors. These elements play a pivotal role in determining the extent of compensation awarded to the plaintiff for their injuries or damages. Key factors influencing the valuation of such cases in Alaska encompass:
- Strength of Evidence: Strong evidence supporting the plaintiff’s claims, such as expert testimony or documentation, can lead to a higher valuation. In contrast, weak or inconclusive evidence may lower the case’s potential value.
- Economic Damages: These are quantifiable financial losses that result from injury or malpractice. Economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and any other out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury.
- The Defendant’s Financial Resources: The defendant’s financial resources – or the size of the defendant’s insurance policy – can make a difference if there are limited assets or insurance coverage.
- Your Lawyer: Good lawyers with a history of success get better results. Period.
Alaska Personal Injury Law
Statute of Limitations
In Alaska, the statute of limitations (SOL) for personal injury cases is 2 years (Alaska Stat. § 9.10.070 (a) ) This means that individuals who have suffered a personal injury typically have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the civil court system.
This means that a plaintiff must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury or the date they discovered or should have discovered the injury. A claim may be permanently barred if not filed within this time frame. There are exceptions to this general rule, such as when the injured party is a minor or when the defendant is a government entity. But you do not want to assume this is your deadline.
Alaska does recognize the discovery rule for determining when the 2 year SOL clock starts to run. Under the discovery rule, the two-year clock begins to run on the date you discovered or should have discovered that you were injured.
Pure Comparative Fault
Alaska applies the pure comparative fault rule when determining liability in cases involving shared fault. When both parties in a case are partly responsible for an accident, Alaska law first decides how much each of you was to blame. Then the damages you’re entitled to collect are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Even if it turns out that you were mostly responsible for the accident, you can still collect some damages. (Alaska Stat. § 9.17.160 (2023).)
Alaska does have some maximum caps on the amount of “non-economic” (i.e., pain and suffering) damages that can be awarded in certain types of personal injury cases. Alaska’s cap on pain and suffering damages is different for medical malpractice cases compared to other personal injury cases.
Cap in General Personal Injury Cases
For personal injury cases NOT involving medical malpractice, Alaska has a 2 tiered cap on noneconomic damages. For cases NOT involving “severe permanent physical impairment” or “severe disfigurement,” Alaska caps pain and suffering damages at: $400,000 or “the injured person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $8,000… .” (Alaska Stat. § 9.17.010(b). For cases that DO involve severe disfigurement, the cap on pain and suffering increases to the greater of $1,000,000 or “the person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $25,000… .”
Cap in Medical Malpractice Cases
For medical malpractice cases, Alaska has a similar 2-tiered cap on pain and suffering damages. For less serious med mal cases that do not involve death or “severe disfigurement” or permanent injury, pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000. For more serious med mal cases in which death, permanent injury, or severe disfigurement are involved, the cap increases to $400,000.