Being involved in a car accident is always upsetting, but it can be even more so when you discover that the person who hit you is uninsured. Alaska has an unusually high number of uninsured drivers: as many as 17 percent of people on the road may be behind the wheel without proper coverage, a higher number than the one in seven drivers who are uninsured on average nationally. This means that there is a good chance you could be involved in a crash at some point with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. What do you do when this happens? How can you protect yourself and your family and collect the compensation you deserve in such cases?
Alaska’s Required Car Insurance Coverage Laws
Theoretically, any driver on Alaska’s roads must be covered by insurance at the minimum levels required by state law. These levels include:
- Property damage of $25,000. Each driver must carry a minimum of $25,000 worth of coverage to pay for property damage caused to other driver’s vehicles and property damaged by the crash itself. Of course, many drivers carry more than this as this amount does not fully pay to replace most vehicles at today’s costs if they are totaled in an accident.
- Bodily injury of $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident. Bodily injury refers specifically to injuries caused to human beings involved in the accident. This would include medical bills for the initial injury as well as follow-up medical treatment, medications, and other costs associated with the crash.
While these may seem like large amounts, it is very easy to exceed them in a serious crash. A spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury for one victim alone will quickly deplete these limits, leaving the victim without coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In cases in which the at-fault driver has no insurance at all, the driver is said to be uninsured; in cases in which their insurance coverage is minimal and does not cover all the costs related to the accident, the driver is said to be underinsured.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do?
Many drivers elect to take out uninsured motorist coverage on their own insurance policies. This is a form of protection that requires your own insurance company to pay for your medical bills and property damage if the at-fault driver has no insurance. Of course, it costs you more money, but it protects you from the possibility of being left without coverage if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
What About A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to recover the compensation to pay for your injuries in an accident. While an uninsured driver may not have insurance, he or she may have other assets that can pay your damages. Even if the driver does not have these assets, an employer or other agent involved may be responsible for the driver and may have the money to pay. It is important for an experienced personal injury attorney to examine your case to see if there are avenues to pursue to find compensation for your medical bills and other costs.
At Barber & Associates, we have been working with victims of all types of accidents for many years. We want to help you recover the money you need to pay for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other costs associated with your accident. Give us a call today to see how we can help!