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  • What other insurance information should I know?

Insurance can be confusing to understand.  Most of us wonder how much insurance to have, and get confused by the different offerings on automobile insurance.

Here are some definitions of the main types of coverage.

  1. Bodily  Injury:  Medical expenses in case you are at fault in an accident
  2. Property Damage:  Cost to  repair or replace others property (usually a car)
  3. Collision: Damages incurred to your vehicle in an  auto accident
  4. Comprehensive:  Expenses due to theft, vandalism, glass breakage, or other non-accident related expenses.
  • I don't have UM/UIM coverage, and was hit by an uninsured driver.  What now?

As a general rule, you are out of luck.   Since you did not carry the coverage,  and the driver that hit you did not have coverage, you have few options.  You can still come for a free consultation to make sure nothing  has been overlooked, but  it is likely that you will not receive payments of any kind. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

‚ÄčAs a personal injury attorney in Fairbanks, accidents are the main source of cases, and require the most diligent legal representation.
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of personal injury in the United States.  Unfortunately, Alaska is no exception.  Our slippery roads and icy conditions can make the perfect setting for an accident.  A serious accident can cause years of suffering and medical care needs.  If you or a  loved one  has been injured because of another persons negligence then you may have a personal injury claim.


I understand the catastrophic injuries associated with car accidents. I am committed to providing exceptional representation to help make your recovery as stress-free as possible. Whether you were involved in a car, truck, motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile accident, my goal is to maximize insurance coverage to ensure you receive compensation to cover your needs.  When necessary, I consult with accident reconstruction experts and medical experts. These experts can review the facts of your case to help prove liability. They can also provide detailed testimony to illustrate the severity of your injuries and future financial outlook to the insurance company or jury.I understand insurance company tactics. They are in business to protect their profits, not to pay out large settlements. I am committed to protecting your best interests. I can negotiate a suitable settlement. If a settlement is not in your best interest, I will take your case to trial.

If You Are Injured

  • Get medical attention immediately
  • Keep good records and  documentation of all injuries: Take photos if possible, get the accident report, save all hospital bills, make a record of  work  missed or sick days taken as a  result of the accident
  • Document property damage with photos, dated notes, receipts and invoices, relevant estimates
  • Get information from witnesses including names, phone number, address
  • Open a claim with the other person's insurance company
  • Do not talk to anyone except the  police about your accident until you have spoken to an attorney
  • Do not sign any releases of liability or potential claims without consulting your attorney first
  • Hire a Personal injury attorney who will deal with the insurance companies and pursue your claim vigorously.

Accident Attorney

 


 As a dedicated Fairbanks personal injury lawyer, I understand the emotional and financial hardships you may be experiencing. In addition to extensive medical bills, you could also face lost wages and possibly a permanent physical impairment.  At the Law Office of Gary L. Stapp, I provide comprehensive personal injury, car accident and wrongful death representation. With more than 28 years of experience, I understand how insurance companies approach litigation and trial. I can anticipate insurance company tactics to help ensure you receive the best possible settlement or judgment for your case.


If you have been injured by another  person, your time to file a case is limited  This  is called a Statute of Limitations, and these laws have specific time periods governing them.  In Alaska the statute of limitations starts when the person becomes aware of the injury, or should have become aware of the injury.  Alaska Statute of limitations laws may differ from those of other states.  The  statute of limitations on a  car accident, or similar type of negligence is two years.  If you have been injured in the past two years you  may have a valid claim.

  • The driver that hit me does not have insurance...

Attorney's call this type  of case a UM or UIM claim.  UM stands for Uninsured Motorist and UIM stands for Underinsured Motorist.  This coverage protects you if you are injured by  a driver with no insurance, or inadequate insurance. 


This is a choice when you choose insurance.  Your insurance company will ask if you want UM/UIM coverage.  It is usually a very inexpensive add-on, and well worth the money.  As long as you added that to  you insurance, previous to the accident you are covered. 


If your accident was caused by someone who is uninsured, you will make a claim against your own insurance.

  • How  much insurance do I need?

The required State minimum is $50,000.  This is often inadequate.  If you have the minimum coverage, and you injure someone they might come after your personal assets.  You could lose your house, your kids' college fund, everything --if the injuries are severe enough.

My recommendation for insurance in Alaska is to carry a MINIMUM of $100,000 in Bodily Injury coverage, but more if you can afford it. 


UM/UIM protection is absolutely essential!  Match it to your liability insurance.


Property damage liability required by the State of Alaska is $25,000.  I recommend $100,000 as a minimum.


Many people feel that they are "fully insured" if they get the minimum required by the State.  BIG mistake.  The policy limits are the important consideration.  Make sure you and your loved ones are covered! 


The fact is, driving without car insurance is a  bad idea.  You should not do  that.  If  you can't afford insurance, you should not drive.

  • If I have a UM/UIM claim, do I still need an attorney?

Sometimes you  need an attorney more in these cases.  Let me explain.  When you make a UM/UIM claim, you are trying to utilize your own policy coverage.  But, your insurance has the right  to defend itself against your claim.   Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money.  They do not want to  pay for claims if they can get out of it.  An uninsured motorist claim essentially creates and  adversarial relationship between you and your own autombile insurance company. 


Many people are surprised at this change in relationship with their insurance carrier.  Those insurance people who were so nice and helpful while selling you the policy are now looking for a way  out of paying.  They will defend themselves against the claim as much as possible.  You may want to consult an attorney before making your UM/UIM claim.

Gary L. Stapp Law Office

Disclaimer: the material provided on this site is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice for particular circumstances. No one should rely on this site in lieu of legal advice provided by a licensed Alaska  attorney who is experienced in Alaska law. If you have a legal question involving Alaska law, you should contact an Alaska lawyer experienced in this area. Alaska state laws, statutes, guidelines, administrative rules, and case law are constantly changing, and the author makes no guarantee that the information is currently accurate, although efforts are made to keep the information up-to-date. Furthermore, visiting this site alone does not constitute attorney-client privilege.

(907)452-4452

 free personal injury consultation today.

Common questions


  • How do I pay for my medical expenses after a car accident?

This is one of the first questions a person needs to ask after an accident.  Even the shortest of hospital or doctor visits can result in thousands of dollars of bills.  There are two places to look .  First, look at your own auto insurance policy to see if it has medical payments coverage.  If you are covered then your insurance company will  pay your medical bills up to the limit in  the policy.  They will  then proceed to recover that expense from the at fault driver.


Second,  you can look into your health care insurance policy.  If you have coverage through your health care insurance they will pay your medical bills while you are being treated. At the time of settlement, your  attorney will recover your medical bills from the insurance company of the at fault driver.


  • Do I really need an attorney?

YES!

Insurance companies love to advertise how they are quick to respond and are 'your friend' in an accident.  However, do not be fooled by this. Insurance companies are in business to make money.  They try to settle claims quickly, so  that you will not hire an attorney.  They know  that attorney's are able to make them pay more.  Insurance agents are usually gifted "salesmen" and are  frequently able to convince the client that they are getting a "good deal".


A person trying to settle on their own with the insurance company can run into many problems.  Usually they are not familiar with personal injury law, have no experience negotiating the value of injuries, and are easily taken advantage of.  If you and your insurance company do not come to an agreement, you will most likely have to hire an attorney to resolve it.


If you  believe that you have a fair offer from your insurance, but   have not signed the documents, it may still  be worth your time to come for a free consultation.  At The Law Office of Gary L. Stapp, consultations on personal  injury cases are no charge!