What Does it Take to Prove a Negligence Claim in Alaska?

Alaskans are hurt in accidents every day. Sometimes, the injuries happen through the fault of another party even though no one wanted anyone to get hurt. This idea is at the heart of negligence.


Negligence in Alaska

Most personal injury claims involve actions that fall into the category of negligence. Simply put, negligence occurs when someone is owed a duty of care, that duty is breached, and injuries occur as a result of that breach of care. While this sounds simple, there is a great deal of detail involved in proving negligence in a personal injury case in court.


Proving Negligence

To prove a negligence case in Alaska, an injured party must prove five elements. These elements are listed below with a quick example of each:

  • The injured party (plaintiff) was owed a duty by another (defendant) to either commit an act or not commit an act. For example, a shop owner is expected to maintain the premises so that they are reasonably safe.
  • The defendant did not carry out this duty (which is also known as a breach of the duty). For example, the shop owner failed to secure a displayed product that was readily accessible to a small child.
  • The breach of the duty caused injury to the plaintiff. To continue the example above, the displayed product fell over and broke the child’s leg.
  • The defendant’s inaction (or action) was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury. To continue, the product fell, striking the plaintiff’s right leg, causing a non-displaced fracture of the child’s tibia.
  • The plaintiff suffered actual damages. Finally, from above, the child incurred medical bills of $10,000 along with pain and suffering.


Comparative Negligence

Alaskan law specifies that the state uses what is known as comparative negligence. This means that when someone is injured by another’s negligence, the injured party’s own amount of fault will proportionately decrease any damages that are awarded.


How Does Comparative Negligence Apply?

In the example above, let us assume that the plaintiff is able to prove all of the elements of negligence and can prove pain and suffering damages of another $90,000 for a total of $100,000. However, the defendant argues that the child (or the child’s guardian) is also at fault because the child was allowed to climb on the displayed merchandise and therefore the award for damages should be reduced proportionately. If the defendant argues that 50% of the fault is on the plaintiff successfully, then the award would be reduced to $50,000, which is a huge difference.


Contact an Experienced Anchorage Personal Injury Attorney Today

In all cases, facts that can be proven are crucial. In the example above, the ability of the plaintiff to recover proper damages for injuries could hinge on the smallest details. If you find yourself or a loved one in a situation in which there are injuries caused by another party, you need an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney to make sure those small details are resolved in your favor. You can count on the skilled legal professionals at Power & Power Law in Alaska to help you get the results you deserve. Please contact us at 907-222-9990 or toll free at 833-669-9990, by email at admin@akpowerlaw.com or by clicking here.