Arizona Car Accident LawyersLast updated on: March 10, 2016
Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with an Arizona Car Accident Lawyer for Free
A car accident – no matter how minor it may seem – can be a major pain. Nobody wants to deal with insurance companies, car repairs, and medical bills. Though you may be able to handle minor car accident claims on your own, a large-scale car accident claim may require the help of an experienced lawyer.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Arizona car accident lawyers.
Arizona Car Accident Statistics
Car accidents are not uncommon in Arizona. In 2018, there were approximately 130,000 motor vehicle accidents. Of these accidents, 916 ended in fatalities. According to the 2018 Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, car accidents in urban areas were more common than car accidents in rural areas, with 104,404 urban accidents and 22,652 rural accidents. Among all the Arizona counties, Maricopa County was deemed to be the most dangerous to drive in.
What to Do After a Car Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention
Seek a medical examination immediately after an accident. In many car accident cases, victims do not immediately feel the full extent of their injuries because of the adrenaline rush they experience after an accident. Once a victim starts feeling pain and then decides to file a car accident claim, he or she may have a much more difficult uphill battle with an insurance company. If a victim decides to file a claim against the driver responsible for their injuries once they start feeling pain, the driver’s insurance company may argue that the victim is lying or faking his or her injuries because the victim did not immediately go to the hospital to seek treatment. Do not put yourself into this predicament. Visit the doctor immediately after a car accident.
2. Document the Accident
To prevail in a car accident, you have the burden of proof to show that the other driver was negligent. This simply means that you must present evidence that the other driver was indeed negligent. Evidence may include photographs, medical bills, witness statements.
After an accident, if you are able, document and retrieve evidence from the scene of the accident. In a car accident, the police will generally write a report of the accident. However, you may wish to take some of your own notes and photos just in case. Be sure to get the name, address, license number, plate number, and insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident. Also, if a driver involved in the accident was driving for an employer at the time of the accident, you should obtain the name and contact information of the driver’s employer as well.
Witness testimony is often very important in car accident cases. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies. If you have a camera at the scene of the accident, take some photographs of the scene.
Read More: What Is an Expert Witness?
3. Keep Receipts and Invoices
You should keep and archive any costs that arise from the car accident. For instance, you should archive any medical bills. If, as a result of the car accident, you cannot work, you should also retrieve paystubs and the like to show how much lost wages you incurred.
4. Notify Your Insurance Company
Regardless of whose fault the accident is, you should always contact your insurance company as your insurance company may be able to give you some relief. However, do not make the mistake of talking about who was at fault for the accident. If your insurance company asks for a recorded statement, politely refuse.
Common Car Accident Causes
- DWI Accident Attorneys
- Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Making a Car Accident Claim
1. Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a personal injury claim can be physically and mentally taxing. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. An experienced lawyer may help you make the process of filing a claim less exhausting by taking some of the heaviest responsibilities off your shoulders.
Read More: Why Hiring an Attorney May Help Your Case
Once you file a claim with a court, a judge may set a date for a trial, but also order you into mediation in which the parties to try and find a compromise without going to trial.
If mediation fails to achieve an agreement between the parties, your case will move into the discovery or investigative phase. In this stage, collect all of the relevant documents and evidence necessary to file a claim. These include medical bills, witness statements, official reports, employment reports, etc. This stage is also where depositions will occur. Depositions are essentially interviews conducted by lawyers with people who have information pertinent to your case.
4. Case Settlement
Case settlement may occur at the mediation phase, but case settlement may also occur during the discovery/investigative stage. If an insurance company sends you an offer, be sure to discuss the offer with your lawyer. Do not simply accept the offer, as your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the insurance company for a more favorable offer.
If after discovery, no settlement is reached, then your case will go to trial. A trial may be either a bench or jury trial. Bench trials are trials where the judge will hear the evidence, apply the laws applicable in your case, and make a ruling. In jury trials, the judge will set which laws are applicable, but the jury will decide the outcome.
Common Car Accident Injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated disc
- Catastrophic injury
Arizona’s Comparative Negligence Law
When determining how much compensation an injured driver is entitled to, Arizona uses the “pure comparative fault” rule. This simply means that an injured driver’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributable to him or her for the accident. For example, if a jury or judge finds that you are entitled to $100,000 in compensation, but also finds that you were 40% at fault for the accident, you will be entitled to only $60,000 ($100,000 – $40,000). Some states will not allow an injured driver to recover if he or she is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, Arizona will allow you to recover as long as the other party was at fault for some percentage of the accident.
Arizona Mandatory Liability Insurance Law
Arizona requires that its drivers carry insurance. The required minimum amounts that a driver must carry are as follows:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for total bodily injury or death
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
Basic automobile insurance pays for medical bills, property damage, and other similar damages. Remember that if you get into an accident and your policy cannot pay for the total amount of damages, you are personally liable for the rest of the amount. Note that automobile insurance is mandatory, and failure to have insurance can result in a license suspension.
Car Accident Compensation
Compensation may be provided for economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Damaged property
- Past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- Past and future emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
How Will My Compensation Be Affected If I Did Not Have My Seatbelt On?
First, just because you did not wear a seatbelt at the time of the accident does not mean that you are ineligible for compensation. It simply means that a judge or jury must consider how much of the injury you suffered was due to the failure to wear a seatbelt. A judge or jury must consider the following factors:
- Whether the driver was of age to realize that the failure to wear a seatbelt could result in injuries
- Whether the failure to wear the seatbelt was unreasonable
- Whether the failure to wear the seatbelt resulted in the driver suffering greater injuries than he or she otherwise would have
- Whether there is evidence to show that the failure to wear the seatbelt resulted in the driver suffering greater injuries than he or she otherwise would have
Though Arizona is a secondary seatbelt law state, which means that you cannot be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, seatbelts are nevertheless mandatory for drivers.
Read More: Arizona Seatbelt Safety
Statute of Limitations (Legal Time Limit)
Every state has what is called a statute of limitations for claims or lawsuits. You can simply think of a statute of limitations as a time limit to file a lawsuit. In Arizona, if you suffered an injury from a car accident, you have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident.
The experienced Arizona attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.