Who Pays In A Multi-Vehicle Accident?

When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, it may be difficult to determine who is to pay the costs associated with injuries and damages.  In fact, there may be multiple people, insurance companies, employers, and even government agencies involved in the litigation that follows a multiple vehicle crash.  It is important to remember some basic facts to determine who is ultimately responsible for paying for damages in such a case.

Alaska’s Law Regarding Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Whether only two parties or more are involved in an accident, Alaska law remains clear:  the person or people responsible for the crash are also responsible for paying the damages.  Unlike no-fault insurance states, Alaska law provides for claimants to file for compensation against those who caused injury or damage, no matter how large or small the amount.

Alaska is what is known as a pure comparative fault state.  This means that anyone in Alaska can file for and receive compensation in a car accident case, even if he or she was partially at fault for causing the accident.  It is up to a judge or jury to determine how much, if any, the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the crash and how much should be deducted from any award as a result.

For example, in a multi-vehicle accident, one driver may have been speeding and failed to stop in time to avoid hitting another driver who ran a stop sign.  A third driver might have then rear-ended the first driver, causing damage to both vehicles!  In this scenario, all three drivers could have filed claims against each other, and it would be up to the judge or jury to sort out which driver was at fault and to what extent.  Assuming the jury found that all three were at fault, they could assign each driver a percentage of the blame and award them damages minus that amount.  In this scenario, the first driver might be awarded $10,000, the second $5,000, and the third $5,000.  Effectively, the first driver would collect $5,000 while the other two would collect nothing, since their awards basically canceled each other’s.

Alaska observes a two-year statute of limitations for most car injury accident lawsuits.  However, this statute of limitations can be affected by many things, including the type of injury and the type of negligence displayed by each driver, as well as the entities involved in the crash.  If a government agency or privately-owned business is involved, the circumstances may be different than if individuals are concerned.  Similarly, those without insurance coverage who are facing criminal charges as well as civil penalties may find that this impacts their chances to collect compensation.

If you are confused about your standing after a multi-vehicle accident, it is important to protect your rights by talking to an experienced personal injury attorney.  At Barber & Associates, we have spent many years helping clients recover compensation after all types of vehicle crashes.  Give us a call today to see how we can help you!

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