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When injured in an Alaskan automobile accident, keep you eye on who is responsible for your claims – and in what order. Normally, the person causing the accident (bad-guy) is primarily responsible. His/her insurer should be the first to belly-up to pay your claims. Unfortunately, the bad guy’s insurer is NOT obligated to take care of your: (1) medical bills; (2) lost wages; and (3) pain/suffering until you are ready to settle. That means you will be misguided to "resolve" your claims ASAP. Do NOT do it. Wait until you are "medically stable" – normally at least a year after the wreck – to even consider settling your claims with bad-guy’s insurer. This is HUGE. Do not hurry. You can only settle once. If you take money quickly – and then learn you face a lifetime of problems – you are out of luck. You can go to the well only once…

In the interim, I recommend that you approach your own insurer to help pay your medical bills. Because you are smart, and read, you bought a TON of "Medical Payments" insurance. Now is the time to use it. Trust me, it’s OK – your insurer will go get their money back from bad-guy.

When you are finally medically stable, get bad-guy’s insurer to pay your claim. But before you do – and this is VERY IMPORTANT – be sure to get your own insurer’s permission to take money from bad-guy’s insurer. If you fail to get permission from your own insurer, you will have crushed any chance you have to approach your own "Underinsured Motorist" carrier to make up the balance of your claim. I see the problem arise often when parents "help" their kids after a wreck. Dad resents "expensive attorneys" – so tries to handle the claim on his own… He normally fails to get permission from his own insurer before taking money from bad-guy’s insurer – and thus crushesd any chance of recovery from the family’s own insurer. Very sad.

Remember, the Statute of Limitations for injury to adults in Alaska is two years. That means you must settle your claims or file your lawsuit within two years of your wreck – or you will lose valuable legal rights, including the right to compensation.

Think. Talk to an attorney. Be careful out there. /s/ Ward Merdes

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