Alaska Auto Accident Laws

Auto accidents are the last things people want to happen. But if you get in a car crash in Alaska, it’s important to know relevant laws and regulations in this state. When you have a better understanding of these critical matters, you’ll be better able to manage an auto accident claim or lawsuit in Alaska. 

This article describes the most critical Alaska auto accident laws. These laws could affect your claim or lawsuit.

Auto Insurance Laws In Alaska

Alaska law requires every driver to have a minimum amount of personal liability insurance. The minimums are:
  • $50,000 in bodily injury for each person in the accident
  • $100,000 for total bodily personal injuries per accident. This is regardless of the number of injured parties
  • $20,000 for property damage per accident
Alaska does not require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist protection. However, it’s usually a good idea to pay for at least the minimum amount of protection. If you are ever hit by someone with little or no insurance, there may not be enough money available to pay for your injuries.
 
In that case, you can tap your own insurance coverage to pay for your injuries and damages.
 
Also, remember that Alaska is a fault state. This means that drivers in accidents can file a claim with their insurance company or with that of the other driver. You also can file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain damages.
 
State law also lets you file a lawsuit no matter how severe the damages and injuries are. As these laws are flexible, your attorney has more latitude to negotiate a fair insurance settlement for you.
 
If you are in a car accident without insurance in Alaska, expect a citation by law enforcement. This is regardless of who is at fault for the crash. Note that driving without insurance can make it challenging to receive compensation for car accident damages if you’re not at fault. So, it’s always a smart idea to carry at least the minimum level of insurance.
 
If the car accident is your fault, you will need to pay for all auto accident damages out of pocket. Additionally, you’ll need to cover the legal aspects of not having insurance.
 
Even if the crash is not your fault, having no insurance can expose you to costly hospital and repair bills.

Common Defenses In Alaska Auto Accidents

In Alaska, the other driver and their insurance company will use several arguments to try to reduce their level of fault, as we highlight below. That’s why you should hire a personal injury attorney in Alaska to represent you: 

  • The injured driver is at fault. It’s common for at-fault drivers and their attorneys to claim that the victim caused the crash or is partially responsible. They could claim that you were speeding or chatting on the phone when the car accident happened. If they can convince the insurance company or jury that you caused the accident, it can reduce the damages you receive. 
  • Another party is at fault: The other driver also can try to blame someone else. For example, the other driver could say that another driver caused the accident. Maybe that person veered into their lane and the other driver swerved to avoid them. Also, they could claim that poor road conditions or a defective car part caused the accident. If other factors were present in the accident, you should hire an attorney to represent you. 
  • No injuries: To file a personal injury claim, you need to have injuries from the accident. The other side could claim you have no injuries, or that your injuries were from something else. 
  • You made the injuries worse: This is failure to mitigate damages. It means that you have a duty to try to recover as best you can. If you don’t follow your treatment plan or don’t go to the doctor as you’re supposed to, it could make your condition worse. That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor right after the accident and follow all doctors’ orders.

What To Do If You Are In An Auto Accident In Alaska

When you are in a car accident in Alaska, you must report the incident to law enforcement. This is especially true if the accident involves a death or injury, or if the damages are at least $2000 to property. 

You need to exchange personal information with the other driver in the accident. Include your name, driver license number, license plate number, and auto insurance information. Note that you need to stay at the scene until you provide this information to the other driver(s). 

Liability In Alaska Auto Accidents

Alaska uses a comparative fault standard in car accidents. This means that your potential recoverable damages may reduce based upon your level of fault for the crash. 

For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you were 50% at fault for the accident, you only will receive $50,000. 

Also, this standard applies even if you were mostly at fault for the accident. For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you were 80% responsible, you would only receive $20,000. However, remember that the other driver can sue you as well. 

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have a skilled car accident attorney working for you. Your attorney can fight for your interests with the insurance company.  Or, they will assist you in a lawsuit to ensure assignment for as much fault for the accident as possible to the other party. 

You can find an experienced car accident lawyer with the Attorney Search Tool at Lawsuit Info Center. 

Dram Shop Laws in Alaska

The dram shop law of Alaska appears in Statutes section 04.21.020. Under this law, a liquor licensee can be held liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if it sells alcohol to a minor less than 21-year-old who then injures himself or someone else. However, this law does not allow a person who is himself intoxicated to sue for damages due to their own intoxication.

Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit In Alaska

You can pursue legal action against the person who is responsible for an auto accident if you had injuries or property damage. The state requires you to drive like a ‘reasonable person’ would behind the wheel. 

This means that you should drive in a safe and responsible way. Also, take the same actions that any reasonable person would if they were in the same situation. 

Also, the state has laid out several elements that you must have to have a successful claim: 

  • The other driver should have acted or not acted in a way that led to the accident and your injuries. 
  • The defendant failed to act or not in that manner. 
  • The failure caused your injuries and damages. 
  • The other driver should have known that the actions could cause damages to others. 
  • You suffered damages, such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. 

Damage Caps In Alaska Personal Injury Cases

The only caps on non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) in Alaska are for medical malpractice cases. There are no caps on these damages for car accident and wrongful death lawsuits. 

Alaska Car Accident Statute Of Limitations

Most insurance companies expect you to file a claim within a few days of the accident. The statute of limitations provides the deadline for filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in Alaska. If you don’t settle your claim before that deadline, you cannot recover damages. 

In Alaska, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. Accordingly, the same is in effect for wrongful death claims. 

Note that this is a short statute of limitations. So, it’s important to talk to your personal injury attorney as soon as you can about your case. You don’t want to run out of time to file a lawsuit by waiting until the last minute. 

Distracted Driving and Drunk Driving Laws in Alaska

It is illegal in Alaska to text and drive. But, the legislature in the state hasn’t outlawed other types of distracted driving yet. However, distracted driving is always dangerous. You can be liable in civil and criminal court even though handheld use while driving isn’t banned by law. 

Drunk driving is illegal in Alaska, with .08 BAC being the legal limit for drivers. Note that you can win a personal injury lawsuit or claim against a drunk driver. This is regardless of whether or not the driver faces conviction in criminal court. 

Alaska Car Accident Resources

If you have suffered a car accident in Alaska, this is a stressful and uncertain time. Below are some helpful resources to help you determine the next steps.

  • Were you injured in your Alaska car accident? Was another driver at fault? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering and medical bills. Check out Lawsuit Info Center today to learn what your case could be worth. It is common for laymen to allow the auto insurance companies to pressure them into a low-ball settlement. Don’t let it happen to you!
  • If you were in an Alaska car accident, you need to report the accident to the police. Use this 12209 Form to report it if the police did not respond to the crash. If the police did respond, you should fill out this Certificate of Insurance.
  • If you need any information about a court date or trial in your personal injury lawsuit, you can find information at the Alaska Court System website.
  • For more information about accident reports filed with the Alaska State Troopers, you should visit their website.

Get Legal Help For Your Alaska Auto Accident Case

Any auto accident is an upsetting experience, but it helps if you’re prepared. Now that you know more about the car accident and personal injury laws in Alaska, you will know what to do if an accident happens. 

But most importantly, if you’re hurt in an auto accident in Alaska, make sure that you call law enforcement and receive medical assistance if you need it. Afterwards, a lawyer can help you better understand Alaska auto accident laws. 

Lawsuit Info Center can assist you in finding a skilled personal injury attorney in your region. You may be due compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Use our site to find an Alaska auto accident lawyer today.