Your Anchorage Car Accident: The Basics

You heard about the traffic jam on the radio this morning, but you were already on the way in. A jackknifed big rig in Midtown's bustling U-Med district. You really didn't want to get caught up in a commuter snarl, but you haven't got a better choice. As you are driving up Elmore Road you finally see the collision. It looks pretty intense.

But, something even worse is about to happen to you -- the gawking motorist next to you is mesmerized by the collision debris and runs right into you. What's next? Do you have to stop? Should someone call the Anchorage police? Here's some information to help guide you through an Anchorage car accident.

Stay Put

Do not leave the scene of the accident. It's the law. If you leave, you could be charged with hit-and-run and face severe penalties. In Alaska, hit and run offenses can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Call 911. The police and/or an ambulance will arrive. The police will take everyone's statements and write a report. The paramedics will tend to any medical issues.

Medical Attention

Alright, so what's next? If you haven't already, seek immediate medical attention for yourself and any passengers, drivers or pedestrians who may be injured. Sometimes, you might not feel any injuries right away. It's often a good idea to contact a doctor after an accident to make sure everything is okay.

Exchange Information with All Drivers

You are required to exchange information with the other driver -- your name and driver's license number, the vehicle identification number of the car you are driving, the name and address of the car's owner, the name and address of your insurance company, and your insurance policy number.

Is There Anything I Can Do at the Scene?

If you have a phone with a camera or video recorder, take photos or video of the aftermath of the accident, including injuries, damages to your vehicle and other evidence such as road conditions, signs or signals or skid marks. Photos, video and even diagrams are valuable evidence when dealing with insurance companies, or in extreme circumstances, during a trial to recover compensation for your injuries.

Do Not Admit Fault

It's important not to volunteer any information about who you think was to blame for an accident. Generally, you should not agree to pay for damages or sign any documents except a traffic ticket. It's a good idea to cooperate with the police officer investigating the case.

Car crashes can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver negligence, defective vehicle components, poorly maintained roads, or badly installed parts.

What Role Does Negligence Play In Anchorage Car Accident Claims?

If you decide to sue the other driver, you'll have to go to file a lawsuit in an Anchorage courthouse.

To win your car accident case, you will need to show the other driver was negligent. Alaska uses a pure comparative negligence standard.

What's with all that legal jargon? Let's break it down. If you are partly responsible for the accident that injured you, the amount of damages you can recover in Alaska may be reduced. Basically, the amount of money you can recover from an at-fault driver is affected by whether or not you were also partially at fault for the accident.

For example, imagine you were driving at night without your headlights. Now, let's say the other driver decided to run a red light and hit you. Technically, you both could be considered "at fault" for the accident. However, if a jury decides that you were 60 percent negligent and the red light runner was only 40 percent, then you would only be able to recover 60 percent of the award.

Make a Crash Report with DMV

Alaska requires you to file a crash report in the following scenarios:

  • There was an injury; or
  • $2000 or more in of damages.

But if a police officer took a report at the scene, you won't have to file this.

Report the Crash to Your Insurance Provider

As soon as you can, report the crash to your insurance company. Your carrier will open an investigation and a claims adjuster will contact you and do any or all of the following:

  • Request a copy of the police report;
  • Request for you to get estimates on vehicle damage;
  • Take photographs of your car;
  • Contact the other driver(s);
  • Talk to any witnesses;
  • Contact your doctor.

Alaska Car Insurance Minimums

As an Anchorage driver, you have to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. This is called "liability coverage."

Here's the breakdown:

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

A Final Word on Anchorage Car Accidents

If you aren't sure what to do, an Anchorage car accident lawyer may be able to help. Many attorneys take auto accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Basically, you do not pay the lawyer his or her attorney fees if you lose the case. If you win, you pay the lawyer a percentage of the money you get. A settlement is considered a "win" and the attorney typically gets paid their fees from that amount.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.