Fairbanks, Alaska


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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
Attorney • (866) 452-3741

Rights Against Cousin’s (Family Member’s) Auto Insurance Company

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The Juneau Empire reports that a young man was badly injured when the 2013 Chevy Camero he occupied rolled near the Egan Drive and Glacier Highway intersection. The Camero was apparently driven by his cousin, who lost control while speeding.

The first key here is that The passenger needs to understand that inter-family claims, such as he the law provides against his cousin, may be asserted DIRECTLY against the cousin/driver’s insurance company. They may also be limited to insurance procedes. DO NOT LET THE INSURANCE COMPANY TELL YOU THAT YOU MUST “SUE YOUR COUSIN.” IT IS JUST NOT TRUE. Insurance companies just say that to stop injured family members from making legitimate insurance claims. They want to keep their money.

Also keep in mind that because the young man in Juneau occupied his cousin's car, he may assert BOTH liability and Underinsured Motorist claims against his cousin’s insurer. The young man should get it all to help pay his medical bills.

The young man/passenger also has claims against HIS OWN Underinsured Motorist insurance – and possibly others.

The second key is to be sure to get permission from these insurers before settling with any of them. This is very important. Failing to get permission from insurers before settling claims could strip a passenger of valuable legal rights, including the right to compensation. Get that permission in writing.

BOTTOM LINE: Passengers who are also family members need to have wrecks like this investigated by a capable accident reconstruction firm. Remember, the Statute of Limitations for injury to adults in Alaska is 2 years. I strongly recommend that An injured family member immediately contact a qualified Alaskan personal injury attorney ASAP – and have this case researched.

Finally, surf www.SlowDownAlaska.org for more details on what to do after an Alaskan car wreck. Drive safely out there.

/s/ Ward Merdes