Comparative Negligence in Alaska

Under Alaska’s contributory negligence law, you can collect damages from a car accident unless you’re 100% at fault.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that unless you were 100% at fault, you can claim damages from a car accident proportional to the fault you are assigned. 
The amount you can recover from an at-fault driver after an accident varies greatly depending on the state’s comparative negligence laws. It’s beneficial to know the law in any state you’ll be driving to so that you can properly handle your insurance claims. 
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What is comparative negligence?

Comparative negligence is a principle where plaintiffs can recover damages proportional to how much the other driver is at fault. 
In other words, if you and another driver get into an accident and you were assigned 40% of the blame, you or your insurance will have to pay for 40% of the damages of the other driver. Similarly, the other driver who is assigned 60% of the blame will be compensating you for 60% of your damages.
Comparative negligence is a principle used by personal injury lawsuits and to third-party insurance claims (i.e. a claim filed with the other driver’s insurance). In each case, a proportion of the blame is assigned to each person involved. This percentage is then used to determine how much compensation is due from which driver.
MORE: How to file a car insurance claim

Comparative negligence vs. contributory negligence

Comparative negligence can be broken down into three different categories. They are pure comparative negligence, partial or modified comparative negligence, and contributory negligence. Each state’s law is in accordance with one of these principles: 
  • Pure comparative negligence: The injured party may claim damages relative to the percentage they’re at fault. 
  • Partial/modified comparative negligence: The injured party may claim damages relative to their percentage of fault if it is below 50 or 51% (depending on the state). 
  • Contributory negligence: The injured party may not claim any damages if they share any percentage of fault (not even 1%!). 
12 states recognize pure comparative negligence and only 5 states recognize pure contributory negligence. 

What is Alaska’s comparative negligence law? 

Alaska is one of the pure comparative negligence states in the country. Under Alaska law, you can still make damage claims regardless of how much fault you are assigned—unless you are 100% at fault. 
If you are found to be 60% at fault, you’ll be responsible for covering 60% of the other driver’s damages. Similarly, since they are 40% at fault, their insurance will be covering up to 40% of your vehicle damages.  

What happens if there are more than two responsible parties? 

If more than two individuals involved in the accident are at fault, they will each be assigned fault. You can file a claim with either or both insurance companies, and you’ll be compensated in proportion to each driver’s percentage of fault. 

How is fault decided in a comparative negligence case?

Insurance companies consider the evidence submitted with the claim and police reports to assign fault in a car accident. 
When you’re at the scene of an accident, always document any evidence, including: 
  • The make and models of the cars involved
  • The time of the incident
  • The weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • Talk to witnesses
  • Take photographs of the damage
  • Call the police if necessary 
All the evidence listed above will help the insurance company accurately assign blame. 

How does car insurance work with comparative negligence? 

Alaska is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning even if you are partially at fault, you are still entitled to claim your damages with the other driver’s insurance company. Part of your damages can be recovered in accordance with the percentage of fault assigned to the other driver.
As an example, imagine driving in Alaska and another car is speeding through an intersection while you’re making a right turn on a red light. The other driver notices you but isn’t able to stop in time because he’s traveling so fast. He ends up rear-ending your car.
When the insurance companies review the case, they find that the other driver was speeding. Since the other driver was 20mph over the posted limit, the insurance company assigns 90% of the blame to them and 10% to you since you didn’t accelerate within a reasonable amount of time. 
Under Alaska’s comparative negligence law, you can claim 90% of your damages with the other driver’s insurance company. For a repair that costs $1,000, you will recover up to $900. However, your insurance will also cover 10% of the other driver’s damages since you’re 10% at fault.
MORE: How to negotiate a settlement with insurance claims adjusters

How to find affordable car insurance

Although Alaska is a pure comparative negligence state, you could still be responsible for expensive repairs and medical bills. Protect yourself by using the
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Yes. Insurance companies base premiums on the customer’s demographics, driving history, amount of fault, and other factors. That being said, you could find an increase of at least 20% to your premiums if you were found at fault.
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