What to Do When Hit by an Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist
Imagine yourself driving home from work, just like any other day. Suddenly, the unexpected happens: another vehicle collides with yours. The shock, the chaos, the immediate concern for your wellbeing, and that of others involved quickly give way to a more mundane but vital worry — the financial and physical consequences. It's then you discover the harsh truth — the driver responsible for the accident is underinsured or, even worse, has no insurance at all. As daunting as it may seem, you're not alone, and there are practical steps you can take to navigate through this difficult time.
As a seasoned attorney based in Anchorage, Alaska, I've come across numerous cases where a client was hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It's a tough situation to be in, and I understand the stress and confusion that often accompanies such incidents. When you work with me, you'll gain valuable insights about what to do when you find yourself in this predicament, helping you remember that you have rights and options in such situations.
If you are in the Anchorage, Alaska, area — including Bethel, Kotzebue, and Barrow (Utqiagvik) — reach out to me today. I am here for you.
Insurance Coverage in Alaska
In our beautiful state of Alaska, every vehicle owner is required to carry liability insurance. This coverage includes $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. Just as important to understand is that Alaska is a fault insurance (also called tort insurance) state. In other words, the driver who causes the accident is responsible for compensating any other party involved in the accident. This means that if you're hit by another driver, their insurance should cover your damages.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Provision
While liability insurance is mandatory in Alaska, underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage is not a legal requirement. However, it is highly recommended. UIM coverage provides protection when you're involved in an accident with a motorist who is not insured or whose insurance is insufficient to cover the costs of the accident. Many Alaskans choose to add UIM coverage to their policies for this additional security. Remember, the decision to add UIM coverage to your insurance plan should be made after carefully considering your unique circumstances and potential risks.
Options for Filing a Claim
In situations where the driver at fault is uninsured or underinsured, you still have several viable options to seek compensation for your damages. These are:
File a claim with your own insurance company: If you have opted for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in your insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. They will compensate you for the damages up to your coverage limit.
File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver: Another way is to take legal action against the driver at fault. By filing a lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your damages. It's important to remember that the success of this option largely depends on the driver's ability to pay.
These options can ensure you're not left struggling with the financial burden after an accident. Always consider your unique circumstances and seek legal advice before deciding on the best course of action.
Steps to Take if You Were Hit by an Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist
Ensure Safety: Firstly, ensure that everyone involved in the accident is safe and call 911 if there are any injuries. Move to a safe location if possible.
Notify the Police: Even in minor accidents, it's important to call the police. They will document the accident and provide you with a police report that you'll need when filing your claim.
Gather Information: Collect as much information as you can from the other driver including their name, contact details, and vehicle information. If there are any witnesses, get their information as well.
Document the Scene: Take pictures or videos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. This documentation can be useful when you file your claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and start the claim process. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, inform them at this point.
Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don't have visible injuries, it's recommended to get a medical check-up. Some injuries might not be apparent immediately after the accident.
Consult an Attorney: If the damages are significant and the process gets complicated, consult with an attorney who specializes in auto accidents and personal injury. They can guide you through this difficult process and help ensure you receive fair compensation.
Navigating the aftermath of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can be stressful and confusing. But remember, you're not alone in this journey.
Choose the Right Support for Your Situation
As your personal injury attorney, Jason Skala, I am prepared to stand by your side. With my extensive experience serving clients throughout Bethel, Kotzebue, and Barrow (Utqiagvik), I'm ready to provide the guidance and support you need during these challenging times. Don't hesitate to reach out. Give me a call today, and let's discuss your situation. Together, we can work towards the best possible outcome for your case.