Overcoming The Defenses to Car Accident Liability in Alaska

The common defense to legal issues.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Alaska, recovering compensation for your economic and non-economic losses requires a showing of negligence. In other words, you must establish that someone else should be held liable for the accident due to their careless or reckless actions. There are many ways you can demonstrate car accident liability — distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and inattentiveness are just a few examples. However, it’s important to understand that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will work hard to deny their insured’s liability by any means possible.

There are a number of common defenses a negligent driver may assert in an attempt to avoid liability. But depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, there are also many ways these defenses can be overcome. The following are some of the most common defenses to car accident liability and how they might be disputed:

1. You Were at Fault for the Car Accident

One of the most common tactics an insurance company will use to avoid paying out on your injury claim is blaming you for the accident. However, even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you wouldn’t necessarily be barred from recovering your damages. Under Alaska’s comparative fault doctrine, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries the defendant caused you to suffer, as long as you were not 100% at fault for the accident. While a court would reduce the amount of the compensation to which you would be entitled, based on your share of fault, your attorney can work to maximize your recovery.

2. You Failed to Adequately Maintain Your Vehicle

Another way an insurance company might try to place blame on you for the accident is by arguing you did not adequately maintain your vehicle. For instance, they might assert that you should incur car accident liability because your brakes or tires were too worn to function safely on the road. To overcome this common defense, your personal injury attorney may be able to prove that your vehicle was in a reasonably safe condition — or the accident would have occurred regardless of your vehicle’s condition.

3. Someone Besides the Defendant Was at Fault

Not only might an insurance company blame the victim for the accident — they might also try to blame someone else. If they can show that another party was at fault for the collision, they might be able to avoid car accident liability. Your attorney can investigate your claim, determine whether the insurance company’s position is legitimate, and pursue all potential claims against other responsible parties on your behalf.

4. You Lied About the Accident or Your Injuries

Submitting false information about the accident or your injuries is a form of insurance fraud and a common justification for denying coverage. If the defendant’s insurance company is claiming that you misrepresented the facts regarding your injuries or lied about the circumstances surrounding the crash, your attorney can work to refute these allegations as a common defense. In some cases, your attorney might even be able to seek additional compensation from the insurance company on the grounds of insurance “bad faith.”

5. Your Injuries Were Not the Result of the Accident

Regardless of whether you had a pre-existing condition, you would still be entitled to compensation if the car accident aggravated it. Nevertheless, a defendant’s insurance company might attempt to deny a victim coverage on the basis that their injuries were not caused by the collision. If you are denied coverage because you had a pre-existing injury, your attorney can work to show how the defendant’s conduct caused your former injuries to worsen.

6. You Had a Gap in Medical Treatment

In the event you stopped treating or did not follow your doctor’s orders, the insurance company might argue that you were not as injured as you claimed to be — or your injuries were not caused by the accident. A gap in treatment or failure to continue treatment can result in the insurance company devaluing your claim or denying coverage altogether. But there are many justifications for a delay in seeking medical care. If you have an acceptable reason for not treating, your personal injury attorney can argue your position on your behalf.

7. You Did Not Submit Sufficient Evidence of Liability

When you assert an insurance claim or bring a personal injury action, you are responsible for submitting sufficient evidence that the other party is liable for your damages. Even though an insurance company has an obligation to investigate the car crash, they will not build your claim for you. If your claim was denied because you did not provide sufficient evidence of car accident liability, your attorney can evaluate your claim and uncover the evidence necessary to prove as the common defense the other driver’s carelessness or recklessness.

8. You Did Not Provide Evidence of Your Losses

By filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you may be entitled to recover both your economic and non-economic damages sustained as a result of the crash. However, in order to receive compensation for your losses, you need to provide sufficient evidence of them. A personal injury attorney can assist you with collecting the documentation you need to establish the monetary losses you incurred, as well as the pain and suffering you experienced.

9. You Failed to Pay Your Insurance Premiums

Sometimes, a car accident victim might seek compensation through their own insurance policy, such as in cases involving an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. If you failed to pay the insurance premium, your claim could be denied. Although this can be a valid defense in certain situations, there may be circumstances in which non-payment of a premium does not justify denying coverage.

10. You Waited Too Long to File a Claim

Under Alaska law, a car accident victim has two years to file a lawsuit to recover their damages from the negligent party. Failure to meet the statute of limitations can bar you from forever bringing a claim. If your claim was denied because you waited too long to commence an action, your attorney can determine whether there is an applicable tolling provision that would extend the time to file in your case.

Contact an Experienced Alaska Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries. Attorney Eric Derleth, known as The Trial Guy, provides high-quality representation to car accident victims in Alaska and works relentlessly to obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible in every case. Proudly serving Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Palmer, Wasilla, and other areas of Alaska, our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 907-262-9164 to schedule a free consultation at our Anchorage or Soldotna office, or contact us online for the common defense you need.

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