Alaska is a mandatory Automobile Liability Insurance state. This means that the owner or operator of every car must have a motor vehicle liability policy that complies with Alaska law. (The Alaska Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act.) The minimum liability insurance required under Alaska law is $50,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000.00 for property damage. (Alaska Statute 28.20.070) If you fail to have the required insurance you may receive a citation and you may lose your license. But if you are in an accident and get hurt and you do not have the required insurance you may lose your right to recover pain and suffering from the at fault driver.
If you are injured by another driver in motor vehicle accident and you knew or had reason to know that you were driving your vehicle without the minimum liability insurance required under Alaska law than you may be subject to financial insult on top of personal injury. In most instances Alaska Statute 09.65.320 bars recovery for damages for noneconomic losses (pain and suffering) resulting from operating a motor vehicle while uninsured.
What does that mean in plain English? If you are involved in a car crash that is not your fault that results in physical injuries, economic damages (e.g. medical expenses, lost wages, property damage), and non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, physical limitations, mental anguish) you cannot recover non-economic general damages from the at-fault driver or their liability insurance company. There are exceptions to this rule but they probably do not apply to the majority of car crashes in Alaska.
The prohibition against the recovery of noneconomic losses does not apply if the person who is liable for the personal injury or wrongful death:
- was driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, inhalant, or controlled substance;
- acted intentionally, recklessly, or with gross negligence;
- fled from the scene of the accident; or
- was acting in furtherance of an offense or in immediate flight from an offense that constitutes a felony as defined in AS 11.81.900 at the time of the accident.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by the other driver and knew or had reason to know that the vehicle you were operating was not insured call the personal injury attorneys at Pentlarge Law Group right away. Not only may the above exceptions apply, but you have a right to fight for and potentially recover all economic damages (e.g. past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, property damage) from the at-fault driver.