Alaska Hit-and-Run

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in Alaska, report the crash to the police and your insurance company.
Written by Amy Bobinger
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
A hit-and-run in Alaska could lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge, as well as up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in Alaska, stay calm and don’t leave the scene. Call the police to report the collision, and file a claim with your insurance company within 24 hours. You may be covered if the driver is found or if you have collision or uninsured motorist protection.
In every state, it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident before identifying yourself and providing your insurance information. Although the penalties vary from state to state, this is a serious charge.
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What is a hit-and-run? 

A hit-and-run is a collision where one of the drivers leaves afterward. Legally, you have to stop and provide your identification and insurance information if you hit any person, property, or vehicle. That way, the other person can file a claim with their insurance.
It may not matter if the other driver was at fault. If you’re in an accident—especially if someone is injured or killed—you could be charged with a hit-and-run if you leave.

What happens if you commit a hit-and-run in Alaska?

If you’re in a car accident in Alaska, do your best to stay calm. Don’t leave the scene, and do not move your vehicle if anyone was injured or killed. Also, if anyone on the scene is injured, you have a legal responsibility to give them assistance. 

Is a hit-and-run a felony in Alaska? 

In Alaska, a hit-and-run can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. If you hit a vehicle that’s unattended or if the occupants aren’t injured, it’s considered a misdemeanor. If someone is hurt or killed, it’s a Class 3 felony.

What is the punishment for a hit-and-run in Alaska? 

The penalties for committing a hit-and-run in Alaska depend on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony:
  • If you hit an unoccupied vehicle or if no one was injured, you could be fined up to $500 and face up to one year in prison. It may be charged as a Class 3 or Class 2, depending on the circumstances.
  • If you’re in an accident where someone is hurt or killed, you could be charged with a Class 3 felony if you leave the scene. The penalty could be up to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine. You could also lose your license for up to 10 years, not counting the time you’re in prison. Prosecutors can add additional charges as well, like driving under the influence or reckless driving.

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

According to
Alaska Statutes 28.35.050 and 28.35.060
, if you’re in an accident, you must stop at the scene or as close as you safely can. If the other vehicle was occupied, you are legally required to give the other occupants your name, address, and vehicle license number. If you don’t, you could be charged with a hit-and-run. 
If anyone at the scene was injured, you must offer them “reasonable assistance,” which may include transporting or arranging transportation to get them to a doctor or hospital. Be aware that aiding anyone who was injured in the accident is in no way considered an admission of guilt on your part.

What should I do if I experience a hit-and-run in Alaska? 

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in Alaska, try to write down or photograph as much information about the other vehicle as possible. Also, call the police to report the crime immediately.

At the scene

Do not try to chase the other driver—that could be really unsafe, and there’s a chance that you could also be charged with a hit-and-run. Call 911 immediately to report the accident and to get medical help for anyone who needs it. 
Document as much information about the incident as you can while you’re still on the scene, including: 
  • The details of the crash
  • The other car’s make, model, color, body style, and license plate
  • A description of the other driver
  • The direction the car was traveling
  • Any details that could help identify the other car, like damage, decals, or mods
Talk to any witnesses on the scene to find out whether they noticed anything helpful. Also, look around for any helpful information. For example, you might notice a dent on your car with a paint scrape from the other vehicle. 
Also, take pictures of the scene—just remember to be cautious, especially if you’re in an area with a lot of traffic.

After you leave the scene

Verify that the responding officer has filed a report. When you file a claim, your insurance will ask for corroborating evidence, and the police report will be a key part of that. The culprit is more likely to be caught if there’s a police report on file, as well.
Within 24 hours of the accident, file a claim with your insurance company.
If the police can find the other driver or their vehicle, the other person’s liability insurance should cover your damages, and your insurance company will process the claim the same as they would any other accident.
Unfortunately, if you can’t locate the driver, it’s more difficult to file a claim. That said, you could still be covered if you have
collision coverage
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
medical payments (MedPay) coverage
, or
personal injury protection (PIP)

What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

Insurance type
Will it cover a hit-and-run?
Collision coverage
You may need to pay your deductible first.
Uninsured motorist coverage
Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers hit-and-runs.
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
This only covers what health insurance doesn’t; you may need to pay a deductible.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP may also cover lost wages and other expenses related to an accident.

How to find affordable insurance for collisions and more 

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Even if you file a claim with your insurance, your rates usually won’t be affected if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run. Some insurance companies won’t even require you to pay your deductible. However, if you commit a hit-and-run, you’ll face charges, and that will almost certainly raise your premiums.
Yes, a hit-and-run is a very serious charge, so it’s a good idea to seek counsel from an experienced attorney.
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