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Being the victim of a car accident can be physically and emotionally traumatizing. Dealing with the aftermath of the accident while trying to recover from your injuries can add extra stress to an already hectic situation, especially when handling insurance claims, medical bills, and even legal suits. But you do not have to go through this process alone. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer.
Common causes of car accidents
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, in 2019, there were a total of 129,750 motor vehicle crashes, which resulted in the deaths of 982 people and left 53,809 people injured. The Tucson Police Department also reports that there were over 5200 car crashes involving motor vehicles in 2020, and there have been over 1780 so far in 2021. Both agencies have found that negligent driver behavior is the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal vehicle collisions in Arizona.
Negligent behaviors that cause car wrecks include reckless, aggressive, or distracted driving; driving while impaired or intoxicated; speeding; and failing to wear a seatbelt. The good news is that because these statistics indicate that improper driver behavior is one of the leading causes of vehicle-related accidents, it is possible to drastically reduce the yearly number of car accidents if drivers simply obey traffic laws and practice safe driving techniques.
It is evident from the statistics that car accidents occur frequently and often lead to serious injuries or even death. So, if you or a loved one were involved in an accident due to the negligent actions of another party, you should seek advice from experienced Tucson attorneys about legal remedies that are available to you.
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What to do after a car accident
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Seek Medical Attention
One of the first things you should do if you were involved in a car accident is seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel like you were not injured or that your injuries are not severe, you should still seek medical attention from a qualified medical professional because some injuries may manifest hours or even days after the accident.
It is also important to make sure you follow your physician’s instructions, that you take any prescribed medications, and that you return to your physician for any follow-up appointments. Being pro-active with your medical treatment after the accident is not only essential for your health and recovery, but showing continuity in your treatment will make the foundation of your personal injury claim stronger.
Being consistent with your medical treatment after the accident will make it harder for the opposing party to dismiss or minimize your injuries. If you wait too long to receive medical treatment, or you are inconsistent with your medical care, it may give an insurance claims adjuster grounds to diminish the impact of your injuries, which may lead to your receiving less compensation for your claims.
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Gather Relevant Documents
If police officers were called to the scene of the car accident, they should have gathered the necessary information from both parties and created a Car Accident Report. If officers were not called to the scene, you should file a report online through the Tucson Police Department’s Crime Reporting Page.
It is important to obtain a copy of the car accident report because you will need it for insurance purposes and to support any legal claims you may have. You can obtain a copy of the car accident report online, in person, or by filling out a records request form and mailing or emailing it to the Tucson Police Department Records Section at 270 S. Stone Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701-1917.
In addition to obtaining a copy of the accident report, you will want to gather all documents and records associated with the accident. Examples of documents you should compile include the accident report, any police reports, vehicle repair bills, medical documents, employer records evidencing missed days of work, and any pictures that you may have taken of the scene, your injuries, or damage to your vehicle. Gathering these documents as you acquire them will greatly assist your attorney with your representation should you choose to file a lawsuit.
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legal claims you can assert if you were injured in a car accident
The type of legal claims that you can assert if you were injured in a car accident will depend on the specific details of your case. However, the most common types of claims that arise from car accident cases include negligence and wrongful death suits.
A negligence action is a legal claim asserting that the defendant’s careless and reckless behavior breached their duty to act as a reasonable person in the circumstances and caused the plaintiff’s (person bringing the lawsuit’s) injuries. Four elements must be met to establish a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to conform to a certain standard of care.
Breach of Duty
The defendant breached the applicable standard of care. In other words, the defendant’s actions did not conform with, or fell below, the standard of care.
A causal connection exists between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s injury. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
The plaintiff must show that he or she suffered actual damages or some kind of harm.
In order to succeed on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must be able to show evidence that supports each of the four elements listed above. That is why, if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident caused by the reckless or careless actions of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation and should seek legal advice from an experienced Tucson car accident attorney.
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A wrongful death suit is a claim that the family of the deceased person files against the defendant for causing the death of their loved one via negligence or misconduct. Wrongful death claims compensate family members of the deceased for the harm they suffer for having to live without the emotional and financial support of the deceased person. In Arizona, only the surviving spouse, children, personal representative, or parents or guardians of the deceased can bring a claim for wrongful death.
The complex nature of wrongful death claims often makes these types of cases more difficult to litigate compared to other personal injury cases, which is why hiring an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer can ensure that you not only create a compelling and legally sound case, but that you also receive just compensation for your claims.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Under Arizona law, the statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death claims is two years. That means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If the statute of limitations runs out and you failed to file a lawsuit within that two-year period, you will likely be permanently barred from bringing that lawsuit. In other words, the timer for filing a lawsuit starts counting down as soon as the accident occurs, and you do not want to let the statute of limitations for your case run out. That is why if you believe that you have a personal injury case against another party, you should seek legal advice from a qualified Tucson attorney as soon as possible, or risk missing an important deadline for your case.
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What If I was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
Arizona adheres to a legal principle called comparative negligence. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, the fact that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident will not bar them from recovering damages. Instead, when the plaintiff is partially at fault for the accident, the damages that jury awards the plaintiff are reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff. For example, if the jury determines that the defendant was 80% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff was 20% at fault, and the plaintiff suffered $100,000 in damages, under the theory of comparative negligence, the plaintiff will only be able to recover $80,000 because their recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them: 20%.
DAMAGES AVAILABLE FOR car accident victims
Car accident victims can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate the injured party for monetary losses or expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages are less definite and harder to quantify and include things like pain and suffering.
Types of economic damages that are recoverable in a car accident negligence case include:
- medical bills
- lost income
- loss of earning capacity
- out of pocket expenses
- property damage
- in-home services
Types of non-economic damages that are recoverable in a car accident negligence case include:
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment
- loss of consortium
- emotional distress
- permanent disability
Types of economic and non-economic compensation that are recoverable for car accident-related wrongful death claims include:
- medical expenses
- funeral expenses
- burial costs
- out of pocket expenses
- loss of financial support
- loss of income
- lost wages
- loss of benefits
- lost prospect of inheritance
- loss of companionship
- pain and suffering
The ability to recover damages when you are injured in a car accident is the legal system’s way of making you “whole again” when you have been wronged by another party. That is why, choosing a legal team that can help maximize the compensation you receive is crucial to ensuring that you do not end up paying the price for someone else’s carelessness.
ZINDA LAW GROUP CAN HELP IF YOU WERE INJURED IN A Tuscon CAR ACCIDENT
Figuring out what to do and what your next steps should be after you were involved in car accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries or just lost a loved one in the accident. The attorneys at Zinda Law group have years of experience handling car accident cases and are happy to discuss your case with you and guide you through the process if you choose to file a lawsuit.
That is why, if you or a loved one were hurt in a car wreck in Tucson, you should call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Tucson car accident attorneys. If we do not win your case, you will not have to pay us legal fees. This is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Please note that meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO
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