Articles Posted in Alaska

If you have talked to a personal injury lawyer who handles many car accident cases in the last six months, you will hear complaints that these cases are drying up. Yet, unfortunately, there is no indication we have fewer automobile accidents in this country. So why?

I think the main reason is that car insurance companies are getting better at reaching out to clients before they find a lawyer. Insurance companies may absolutely do this. Moreover, I think this works mostly with smaller auto accident cases. The reality—and this is something many car accident lawyers don’t want prospective clients to know—is that you can often handle small auto accident cases without a lawyer.

Our car accident lawyers handling your case will increase the value of your case. In fact, the mere involvement of our law firm, given our reputation, will increase the value of your case. But how much? If you have a big case, it will increase the value a great deal. Our car accident lawyers have been referred cases by other lawyers that already have an offer and we have gotten more than 35 times the offer given to the original lawyer. But our accident lawyers’ ability to add value to your case is directly proportional to the size of the case. If you have a case with an ER visit and a few physical therapy sessions, our car accident lawyers will increase the value of your case. And it will make your life easier because you have someone to process everything for you. But is it enough to make it worth hiring us? The answer to that varies from case to case. Our car accident lawyers used to take these kinds of cases because we thought it was a bad idea to deny anyone the right to a lawyer if they had a valid claim. Now, I’m telling at least a third of the people that call us with legitimate cases that they certainly can hire a lawyer, but they also have the option to proceed without a lawyer, and we tell them what they should do to continue bringing their car accident claim without a lawyer.

In Edenshaw v. Safeway, the Alaska Supreme Court addressed, by way of a certified question from the U.S. District Court of Alaska, the question of whether in a slip and fall case plaintiff must show actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.

Not much in the way of facts provided for this case. Plaintiff slipped and fell at a Carr’s store in 2003 (apparently Carr’s is owned by Safeway). Safeway’s lawyers moved for summary judgment, which was denied.

The court found that the Alaska test is a basic reasonableness test. Under this test, the owner’s notice of a dangerous condition was a factor to consider but not issue determinative. Accordingly, Alaska defense lawyer cannot argue in slip and fall cases that actual or constructive knowledge is required to defeat summary judgment, at least not in tightly controlled areas like a grocery store.

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