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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Alaska?

When a person suffers property damage, loss, or injury - whether physical, psychological, or emotional as a result of another person’s wrongful act, negligence, or carelessness, such a person may bring a tort claims case against the party whose actions caused the damage, loss, or injury. A tort case claims damages or monetary compensation that a claimant or plaintiff files against a defendant. A tort case is a civil and informal case. State laws do not provide for jury trials in tort cases. In Alaska, the District Courts hear tort cases. Persons who have a valid claim and 18 years or older may file tort cases in Alaska. Parents or guardians may file tort cases on behalf of minors.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Alaska Tort Law?

According to AS 09.17.900, a person may seek damages for wrongful acts that are another party’s fault. The law defines fault as including any intentional, negligent, or reckless acts and acts of omission. The Alaska Code of Civil Procedure provides guidelines on statutes of limitations for filing tort claims, fault apportionment, and other tort claims processes.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Alaska?

Alaska law covers cases that involve the following types of tort:

  • Intentional tort: These are deliberate acts that cause harm to another person. Examples of intentional tort include the battery, assault, false imprisonment, defamation, and conversion.
  • Negligence tort: if a person’s reckless or negligent acts cause injury, loss, or damage to another person or another person’s property, it is a negligence tort. Medical malpractice, bicycle accidents, and car accidents are examples of negligence torts.
  • Strict liability: in a strict liability tort, a person may be liable for damages for events that result in injury or loss to another person, even if the person is not directly at fault. Hazardous activities and animal attacks are examples of strict liability.

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Alaska?

Alaska Criminal law exists to regulate societal behavior by penalizing criminal offenses against the state. In a criminal court case, the state is the prosecutor; that is, the state brings a case against the offender. Alaska criminal law defines offenses against the state and applicable penalties. Alaska Code of Civil Procedure concerns itself with offenses between individuals or between individuals and entities, including corporations, state agencies, and the state. Tort law guides civil claims and damages.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Alaska?

Tort law offers a framework for injured parties or persons who have suffered injury, loss, or damages due to another party’s actions to seek compensation. Tort law provides guidelines for filing tort claims, including filing processes and statutes of limitations. By holding individuals, organizations, and government entities liable and accountable for wrongdoing, tort law discourages other society members from committing wrongful acts. It thus helps maintain law and order in society.

What is a Tort Claim in Alaska?

If a person suffers injury, loss, or damage due to another person’s wrongful act or negligence, the person may file a tort claim against the liable party. A tort claim is a civil claim for damages against a person responsible for damages. In Alaska, the statute of limitations for filing tort claims is two (2) years.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Alaska?

Interested parties may file a tort claim against a liable party in Alaska by filing a Complaint with the District Court Clerk in the county where the liable party lives, does business, or where the event occurred. The claimant is the plaintiff, while the liable party is the defendant. If the recovery amount does not exceed $10,000, the plaintiff may file the Small Claims Court claim. After filing a complaint, the plaintiff must serve the defendant a summons and copies of the complaint. The plaintiff may provide the copies through restricted delivery, return receipt, certified mail, or a process server. The defendant must then respond with an answer that may contain counterclaims. Upon the defendant’s response, the court will set a hearing date.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Alaska?

An Alaska tort claim contains the following:

  • The plaintiff’s name
  • The plaintiff’s address and contact details
  • The claim amount
  • The defendant’s name and contact details
  • The event that led to the injury
  • The location or venue of the injury
  • The date of the event
  • The plaintiff’s signature

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Alaska?

After a plaintiff files a tort claim, the plaintiff must serve the defendant a summons with copies of the complaint. The plaintiff may serve the defendant the complaint through various court-approved means, including certified mail, return receipt, restricted delivery, and a process server. After the defendant receives the summons and responds, the court sets a hearing date. Both parties must then begin to gather information necessary for the case, including evidence, and conduct witness examinations. Case parties may settle the claim through mediation or other such alternative dispute resolution methods. However, if the parties do not settle, the case may proceed to trial.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Even with small claim amounts, personal injury cases can get complicated, especially where state laws and statutes of limitations are concerned. Personal injury lawyers help case parties to interpret and apply tort laws in the case correctly. Additionally, personal injury lawyers help with the sometimes tedious process of information gathering in the discovery process. Personal injury lawyers can help case parties to ensure that the parties meet all the court requirements and fill the required documentation to file a valid claim. Although tort claims case parties can be self-represented, hiring a personal injury lawyer can also be beneficial.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

To find personal injury lawyers in Alaska, interested parties may contact the Alaska State Bar, which has a member directory and a lawyer referral service. Interested parties may also use third-party websites to find local personal injury lawyers. Additionally, interested parties may visit or contact local law firms for information on how to find personal injury lawyers.

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