The Merdes Law Office helps people who have been hurt by other drivers’ negligence. Negligence is just doing something stupid behind the wheel … something a normal person would regret. For example, driving Too Fast For Conditions is negligence. Running Stop signs is negligence. Crossing the center-line is negligence. Rolling a car on Black Ice is negligence. Negligence doesn’t normally make a person “bad” – rather it just makes them responsible for doing something they wish they hadn’t done. Heck, I do 10 stupid things before lunch, every day. If I was to hurt somebody while I was doing something stupid – I’d be negligent.
If another driver is negligent, and hurts you, Alaska’s personal injury law serves two (2) equally important purposes: (1) helping you regain what was taken from you; and (2) ensuring the other driver is held fully accountable.
Regaining What Was Taken: When you are hurt by another person’s negligence, regaining what was taken is normally embraced by claims for past and future: (1) lost wages; (2) medical bills; and (3) pain, suffering and disability. Quantifying these claims is normally straight-forward accounting. The challenging part is figuring out how this particular negligence affected your specific life arc. For example, if I my knee was hurt in a car accident – and I lost a few seconds off my time while skiing – it would be no big deal. I’m a terrible skier. Yet, if the same injury happened to a 20 year old Olympic skiing hopeful, it would be HUGE. A knee injury could redefine his/her entire life story – for the worse.
Ensuring Driver Accountability: Ensuring the other driver’s accountability is more difficult, but equally important. To wrap your head around this, imagine this example:
Say your six year old child is running in the house. You tell him/her to Stop It. They keep running. You tell them again to Stop It. They keep running. Finally, he/she runs past you and you hear a crash in the living room.
You know what you have to do. Whether you want to or not, you have to hold your child fully accountable for the damages he/she caused. If you don’t, your child will grow up with skewed values. Society will be less safe. It is critical you hold your Child fully accountable. Personal Injury law works the same way. It holds negligent drivers fully accountable so they will drive more safely in the future.
Some people are hesitant to hold a negligent driver accountable. They tell me: “I don’t want to be the kind of person who sues somebody.” Some say: “it was only an accident” or “Jesus wouldn’t want me to judge” as justification for giving a speeding driver a pass. Rethink this position. Personal Injury law is not trying to punish a negligent driver. Rather, Personal Injury law is trying to hold the negligent driver accountable for his/her stupidity. We all understand what happens when people are not held fully accountable for their stupidity: They continue doing stupid things. Society suffers.
If we are to make society a better place – a safer place – we must hold people fully accountable for their stupid actions. It’s that simple. To think otherwise ignores a most basic component of human nature.