Hazel Mary Hopson’s death is a tragedy. All that can b e done is to ensure that all available insurance is taken for her family. This entry explains Alaska law about car accidents and how insurance claims should be filed when a person is killed in a wreck.
Hazel Mary Hopson, 37, was killed in a car crash on Sunday night near North Pole, Alaska. She was a restrained passenger in a motor vehicle driven by Guy Pluard, 26, of Fairbanks. Troopers suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash. It is unclear which driver blew past a Stop sign, causing the wreck.
By all accounts, Ms. Hopson was a decent and good woman. Her passing emphasizes the tragedy that accompanies mixing alcohol and motor vehicles. It’s a waste of human life.
Here is what Ms. Hopson’s family should be doing right now, before the insurance companies swoop in and start covering tracks…
1. Find out who insured the vehicle that Ms. Hopson was occupying. Immediately send them a claim letter – for both liability and Underinsured motorist coverage policy limits. Remember, in Alaska the minimum policy limits for each is $50,000, plus interest, costs and statutory attorney fees.
2. Find out who insured the other vehicle. Immediately send them a claim letter for liability coverage policy limits.
3. Immediately send a claim letter to Ms. Hopson’s own automobile insurance company. Again, demand policy limits.
4. Immediately send an insurance claim letter to EVERY automobile insurance company for EVERY person living in Ms. Hopson’s home when this wreck occurred. Again, demand policy limits.
5. Find out if Pluard was working for anybody when the wreck occurred. If that is the case, the employer’s insurance may also be available.
6. Unless your insurance policies require it, seriously consider NOT giving recorded statements to insurance companies. It is important to cooperate with insurance companies that insure you, but you never need to give any statements to the other side’s insurance company (liability portion, only).
Make sure that your claim letters reference AS 09.60.070 – the statute that increases claims when the other side is driving while intoxicated. This is very important.
Finally, start looking for an attorney. When a person is killed because of another person’s negligence (or alcohol use as in this case) there are many steps that need to be taken. Look for an attorney with strong experience in personal injury work. Some people prefer to hire an attorney to handle all of the above steps. Remember, a good attorney will not charge you for an initial consultation. It should always be free to talk to a qualified attorney about your claim.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.