If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Alaska, it is imperative to know the state laws that may apply to your specific case. Whether you were involved in a serious car accident or a victim of medical malpractice, there are a variety of laws that pertain to each scenario.
Statute of Limitations
Alaska law provides the injured party two years after the accident to file a lawsuit in court. If you do not bring your case to court within the two-year time limit, you will not be allowed to file the claim at all. While the two-year time limit often begins on the date of the incident, the limit may start running upon the discovery of the injury instead.
Comparative Negligence Rule
A risk you encounter when attempting to hold another party accountable for your injuries is that they will accuse you of being entirely or partly at fault. If it is proven that you are partly responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, the compensation you can recover in Alaska may be reduced.
According to the “pure comparative fault” rule to injury cases, damages are reduced by a percentage equal to an injured party’s fault. For example, if you were driving a few miles per hour above the posted speed limit and were struck by another driver who ran a red light while crossing an intersection, the court case or insurance investigation could determine that you were 15% at fault for your injuries (while the other driver is assigned 85% of the fault). So, if the total damages in your case equal $10,000, the comparative fault rule will apply to award you $8,500 since $1,500 represents your 15% share of fault.
Auto Insurance Laws
Alaska is a “fault” state in regards to auto insurance, meaning that drivers who suffer accidents may file a claim either with their own insurer, with the other driver’s insurer, or in court to seek damages. No matter how severe the injuries or property damage involved, the state allows personal injury court litigation for car accident cases.
Caps on Damages
Damage caps are laws which limit the amount or type of monetary damages an injured party may recover. These laws tend to limit non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
In general personal injury actions the caps on damages 400K, and for severe disfigurement or impairment 1 million. In medical malpractice cases, the caps are $250K or 400K for severe impairment.