Summer in Alaska is beautiful. The frigid snow and ice give way to 23 hours of sunshine, relative warmth, and beautiful natural scenery. While native Alaskans spend all year earning their birthright—enjoyment of an Alaskan summer—others come to Alaska but once a year to enjoy its majestic beauty and to work a variety of seasonal jobs. If you’re a visitor to Alaska for vacation, work, or any other reason, this post is for you.
We hope that your time in Alaska is joyous, safe, and memorable. However, if you find that you’re hurt during your stay here (and remember, the roads are dangerous—even in the summer time), then you need to keep a few things in mind.
Statutes of Limitations:
For most personal injury claims in Alaska, the statute of limitations says that you have two years from the date you are hurt to pursue your claims. In other words, if you do not contact an attorney and file a lawsuit or resolve your claim with an insurance company within two years, you may forfeit your right to be compensated for any injuries you suffered here.
While different types of claims may have different time limitations (especially claims against the state or federal government) your best bet is to speak with an attorney who handles injury cases as soon as possible. If you were hurt by a government employee or agency or while on government property, be sure to see someone within six months of the date of your accident or you might lose your claim.
Because Alaskan roads can be treacherous, Alaska has uniquely strict auto insurance laws. Unlike many states which impose a 15/30 or 25/50 mandatory auto insurance coverage requirement, Alaska has mandatory 50/100k auto insurance policy requirements (25k in property damage coverage is also required). While this makes auto insurance a little more expensive for Alaskans, it ensures that most people have adequate coverage to take care of anyone they happen to injure.
Alaska also has unique laws regarding the stacking of underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. If you’re involved in an accident, you can recover damages from the insurance of the person responsible (the guy who hit you), underinsured benefits from policy covering the vehicle you were hit in if, and if both of those don’t compensate you fully, you can recover from any underinsured coverage on vehicles you have at home until you have exhausted all coverage. This is true even if the vehicles at home weren’t involved in the accident at all. Some insurance companies (State Farm for example) write policies for every single car. If that’s the case, there may be a phenomenal amount of insurance available to cover any injuries and damages you suffer.
As always, the best thing to do is to contact an Alaskan attorney who handles these kinds of cases in order to determine what coverage is available to compensate you.
Wrongful Death Cases
Sometimes accidents are truly catastrophic and result in deaths. If someone you love was killed in an accident in Alaska, you will need to jump through a minor hoop in order to recover for your and the deceased’s losses. Under Alaskan law, you will need to have an attorney create an estate for the deceased. Any good personal injury attorney who has handled out of state accidents before can help you do this and you needn’t worry about it apart from finding yourself an attorney who has handled cases like this before.
Alaska is God’s country. It is some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It is also home to amazing rivers, lakes, and mountains all of with play home to amazing outdoor activities. But all of this beauty comes with a price—Alaskan roads and the activities that Alaska provides such a perfect setting for can be truly dangerous. Always utilize caution and care when driving or adventuring around Alaska. Nonetheless, accidents happen. When they do, the best advice anyone can give you is to find yourself a qualified attorney who can tell you what your rights are.