Alaska Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
From Juneau to Anchorage, Alaska is a land of unrivaled beauty. As the last true frontier of America, it presents an unparalleled opportunity to explore untamed wilderness, hunt wild animals, or see what the few cities have to offer. Be forewarned: driving in Alaska can be a perilous trek across icy roads and, should the worst happen, you'll want to be prepared with the finer points of car accident settlements. This article explains the ins and outs of the Alaska car accident process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Alaska?
A driver must give immediate notice to the local law enforcement agency if they are within a municipality (otherwise, to the Department of Public Safety) if they are involved in a car accident that causes:
- Injury or death to a person
- At least $2,000 in damage to property
Further, unless the accident is investigated by a police officer (who is required to file his or her own report), one must file a written or electronic report within ten days to the Department of Administration.
Finally, a person involved in an accident must stay at the scene of the accident until they provide their license, insurance, and contact information and arrange for assistance to or transport of anyone injured in the accident.
Alaska Car Insurance Laws
Alaska's mandatory minimum insurance requirements include liability coverage of:
- $50,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
- $100,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Alaska?
Why is your case almost guaranteed to settle? Nearly all cases do, as trials are a big risk -- nobody wants to spend years arguing over a car accident claim and preparing a case, only to lose at trial. Instead, a party can get a guaranteed payout and not have to pay an attorney to fight a risky courtroom battle. The settlement wraps up of the case informally for a mutually agreeable remedy, at which time the parties drop the pending lawsuit.
Alaska does not require mandatory settlement conferences before going to trial. Even without the requirement, however, it is almost always the case that your attorney will discuss settlement options with you and the other party.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Alaska?
There is no average settlement -- cases vary widely in the amount of damages incurred. For example, a minor ding of a parked car will settle for less than a drunk driver who kills an entire family.
To determine a fair settlement amount in your case, the parties and their attorneys will likely consider:
- Insurance coverage (insurance companies won’t pay more than policy limits)
- Car repairs
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Alaska?
Like all states, Alaska has a time limit (two years) for filing a legal case: you have two years from the date of the crash to file your initial lawsuit. This limit applies even if you have a pending claim with an insurance company, so it is in your interest to speak to an attorney in order to ensure that you still have time to file a lawsuit if needed.
Let an Alaska Attorney Help You With the Car Accident Settlement Process
Settlements are almost always binding and final, so speak to an attorney before signing anything. If not, you could end up with an insufficient amount to cover your injuries or even waive claims altogether. An experienced Alaska car accident attorney can help you avoid these grave mistakes.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.