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Alaska Car Accident Compensation Laws

Nobody wants to be in an auto accident. Despite Alaska's large size and sparse population, chances are you'll be involved in at least one car crash sooner or later.

In the aftermath of being an accident victim, it's normal to have questions. Who's at fault? Should you contact your insurance company? Who pays for my property damage? After a motor vehicle accident, understanding Alaska's car accident and compensation laws will be a great help.

This article will provide an overview of the laws and types of compensation involved in Alaska car accidents. We'll examine how the statutes dealing with fault and compensation relate to your car crash. You'll gain a better understanding of:

  • How car insurance works
  • How to file an insurance claim to recover damages
  • What to do after an accident

Read on to learn more about Alaska car accident compensation laws for accident victims.

Brief Overview of Alaska Motor Vehicle Laws

Motor vehicle laws in Alaska are much like those in any other state. You must have a valid driver's license to be a legal driver. A vehicle requires registration and proof of meeting insurance requirements, although exceptions exist. Drivers must display proof of insurance on demand.

Vehicles over 8 years old and in a municipality that permits it may be permanently registered. Drivers can handle all licensing, registration, and other official auto-related paperwork through Alaska's Division of Motor Vehicles.

The minimum requirements for an auto liability insurance policy in Alaska are:

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 for bodily injury liability or death per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability

You can find a deeper examination of Alaska's motor vehicle laws in FindLaw's Alaska Car Accident Report Basics article.

Fault, Liability, and Compensation in Alaska Car Accidents

Alaska is an at-fault state when it comes to auto accidents. This means that the insurance company of the person deemed responsible for the accident pays for the damage to other vehicles and property.

Comparative Negligence

The amount recoverable is affected by Alaska using pure comparative negligence. This system assigns a percentage of fault to each driver involved in the accident, which may limit the amount of damages they can recover.

For example, imagine your car was hit by another vehicle at an intersection. It's determined that you're 25% responsible for the accident because you didn't come to a full stop at the stop sign. If your damages amount to $5,000, you could claim 75%, which is $3,750. The other driver could claim 25% of their damages.

Filing Lawsuits

Living in an at-fault state allows you to file claims after a car accident. Types include:

FindLaw's Alaska Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline article provides a better idea of what happens in a settlement and how long it might take.

Medical Claims and Caps for Damages

There are two types of damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. The most common economic damages are medical bills, but there are several other types of damages as well. Using a damages estimate worksheet will ensure no other damages are overlooked in your case.

Damages caps are laws that limit the amount of damages you can recover. Damages caps often apply to noneconomic damages such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.

As an at-fault state, Alaska does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Medical Pay coverage, or MedPay, is optional insurance that covers the medical expenses of the policy owner, passengers in the car, or anyone who has permission to use the car and was involved in an accident.

No Pay, No Play - Uninsured Motorists in Alaska

Drivers who are either uninsured or underinsured can cause incredible difficulties for their accident victims. Alaska law specifies that someone driving without a valid automotive insurance policy can't recover any damages from an accident, even if the other driver was at fault.

This can be waived if the other driver:

  • Was driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, inhalant, or controlled substance
  • Acted intentionally, recklessly, or with gross negligence
  • Fled the scene of the accident
  • Was engaged in or fleeing from a felony offense

If you've been hit by an uninsured driver, have questions about your car accident claim, or have complications with your auto insurance coverage, consider speaking with an insurance law attorney.

Damages Caps in Alaska

Sometimes, trying to comprehend the laws as written can be confusing for non-lawyers. Below, find a plain-language summary of the Alaska Statutes for damages caps:


Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is two years for personal injuries.


Noneconomic Damages Cap

Under relevant law, the amount is $400,000 or the injured person's life expectancy in years multiplied by $8,000, whichever is greater.


Noneconomic Damages Cap for Severe Permanent Physical Impairment or Severe Disfigurement

The amount is set at $1 million or the person's life expectancy in years multiplied by $25,000, whichever is greater.


Punitive Damages Cap

Under relevant law, the amount may not exceed the greater of three times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff or $500,000.

The amount may be increased to four times the amount of compensatory damages and $7 million if the motives were for financial gain and the defendant was aware of the potential adverse consequences.

Note: State laws are revised regularly. You should contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to confirm these laws.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alaska Car Accident Compensation Laws

While every car accident is unique, there is often shared common ground. Following are some queries about accident compensation that might be helpful to you in your case.

Someone else was at fault when they hit me. How long will it take to get money from their insurance company after the accident?

Assuming nothing in your claim is disputed, you should expect payment within 30 days. If you appeal the amount offered or file a lawsuit, there will be delays as both sides try to reach an accord.

I was in an accident last year but didn't realize that my back was hurt until now. Do I still have time to file a personal injury suit?

In Alaska, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim in civil court. Make sure you can produce records of all medical treatments related to the injury. Consider meeting with a personal injury lawyer for legal advice.

The person who hit my car did it on purpose. How do I file for punitive damages?

You'll need to prove the defendant did so with intent or maliciousness. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Gather information, including the other driver's contact info, contacts and statements from any witnesses, and the police report.
  • File a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance carrier.
  • File a claim with your insurance company.

Seeking punitive damages is a difficult and tricky process. It's a good idea to reach out to a car accident attorney for an evaluation of how strong your case is.

Car Accident Issues? Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Even if you were at fault for your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation in a car accident case. Personal injury is a complicated field of law, and the legal process for car accident cases can be overwhelming. A car accident attorney might be what you need.

Consider contacting an Alaska personal injury lawyer to start your case. Their experience can give you peace of mind as you move toward recovering damages from your car accident lawsuit.

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