What is Required to Bring a Lawsuit for Personal Injury in Alaska?

There are any number of accidents or actions that can create what is termed a “personal injury.” It can be a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall or even an assault and battery. The question, then, is what is necessary to bring a lawsuit against someone if you find yourself the victim?


Stating a Claim

First and foremost, to bring a lawsuit, you must be able to state a claim that is actionable. This means that you must allege actions (or inaction) that create a valid claim. For example, you can allege that someone’s negligence or intentional behavior while driving caused injuries to you and thus, you state a claim in negligence or as the intentional tort of battery (if they meant to run into you).



The second question that a successful lawsuit must answer is whether a victim has standing to sue. Simply put, this means that a victim must have the legal ability to sue. To illustrate this, it is easier to show what standing does not mean. As an example, assume that you have a friend who is injured in a car wreck. You were not involved in the wreck in any way. Absent special circumstances, you would therefore not be able to sue on your friend’s behalf because you would lack the standing to sue. In other words, you have to have a legally recognized interest in the case to bring suit.



In order to sue, you must show that the court in which you are bringing the case has jurisdiction. This is usually a fairly simple analysis, but there are circumstances that can require a case to be brought in a specific court rather than in another. An example of this is if a case must be brought in federal court rather than in a state court, such as a maritime law case when the injury was suffered aboard a cruise ship or other vessel at sea.


Injury or Damages

While it seems self-explanatory, to bring a lawsuit, a victim usually must suffer injury or damages. The damages must usually be real and not speculative. You ordinarily cannot sue someone for almost hitting you as you crossed the street; the person must actually hit you. Even this, though, is not written in stone. For example, if a person triesto hit another person crossing the street, there may not be any actual damages, but the aggressor may be liable for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress wherein damages may be of a more nebulous nature.

Alaska law allows for the recovery of noneconomic damages for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and other non-pecuniary damages. There is also, in certain cases, the possibility of punitive damages.  Punitive damages are imposed by a court to deter future behavior and do not necessarily represent actual damages that have been caused by a defendant’s behavior.

These are some of the basics that must be present before a lawsuit can be brought. Within each of these there are elements that must be alleged and proven to be successful. In each case, though, specific circumstances control if and how the case may proceed. Personal injury attorneys understand the potential complexities involved. The attorneys at Power & Power law have been representing Alaskans in and around the Anchorage area for decades. We have the skill and experience to sort through the competing facts and the law to determine the right path to take. If you have been injured, you owe it to yourself to give us a call today at 907-222-9990 or toll free at 833-669-9990 or to click here to set up your initial consultation.