Tempe Car Accident Lawyers
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Car accidents can seem to be the price to pay for the convenience vehicles add to our lives. While we are aware of the risks of being a driver or a passenger on the road, we take those chances of danger in stride, especially in cases where there may not be many alternatives for long-distance travel, such as subways or other public transportation. While car accidents may seem unavoidable, many car crashes are preventable if everyone took proper care and precautions to avoid causing an accident. Our Tempe car accident lawyers are here to help.
If you or your loved one were injured in a Tempe car accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation today with one of our skilled Tempe car accident lawyers. We can help you determine your next steps after your accident. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
CAR ACCIDENTS IN TEMPE, ARIZONA
Car accidents are an all too frequent occurrence these days. In 2019, there were over 129,000 car accidents in Arizona, 982 of which were fatal, and over 53,000 accidents which resulted in injuries, with over half of these accidents occurring in Maricopa County. The estimated economic cost in Maricopa county alone from car accidents in 2019 was over 10 billion dollars.
In the city of Tempe, most fatal crashes occurred at these busy intersections:
- Curry Rd at College Ave.
- Curry Rd at Scottsdale Rd.
- Mill Ave at Rio Salado Parkway
- Rural Rd at Guadalupe Rd.
- Loop 101 at University Dr.
ARIZONA CAR ACCIDENT LAWS
Arizona car accident laws can impact how much compensation you may be entitled to. These personal injury laws will determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages, what your attorney will need to prove to win your case, and how long you will have to file any claim after the accident. When pursuing your claim, your auto accident lawyer from Zinda Law Group will use their years of experience helping other accident victims and their understanding of applicable Arizona law to help you seek maximum compensation.
Some of these applicable laws include:
Arizona has tort-based insurance laws which allow those involved in a car accident to immediately seek compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier. This is in contrast to many no-fault states which require accident victims to first file any claims through their insurance regardless of fault.
In Arizona, the at-fault driver is responsible for the accident, and Arizona’s at-fault liability laws allow a victim to directly file their claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. However, you should be careful contacting the insurance company directly without an attorney, as the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to get you to make statements that could hurt your case, especially when taken out of context.
Insurers may also try to take advantage of you not being represented by an attorney by making a settlement offer that is far lower than what you may be entitled to. By hiring an experienced accident lawyer before you speak with the insurer or file a claim, your attorney can handle every step of the process and protect your interests.
Arizona requires all motor vehicles operated on the road to be covered by liability insurance. The minimum liability insurance drivers must obtain for their vehicle is $25,000 for one person, $50,000 for two or more in bodily injury liability coverage, and $15,000 in property liability coverage. While it can be difficult to determine how these laws will impact your case, these insurance requirements help make sure you will be able to obtain some compensation for your injuries and damages; meanwhile, the lack of insurance may play a role in determining liability for the case.
You may start by conducting an online search for a “personal injury attorney near me” and find one nearby for your convenience, but be sure to hire one as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will need time to investigate, to determine who may have been at fault, how much fault may be shared, the insurance policies that may cover the accident, and how these things will affect the amount of compensation you can seek. All of these tasks take time.
Statute of Limitations
This is why time is so important: the statute of limitations sets a time limit within which you may file a personal injury claim, such as to pursue compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered in a car accident in Arizona. After this time limit has expired, you may be unable to pursue an injury claim.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-542 establishes a statute of limitations of two years to file a personal injury claim. This means that you will have two years from the date of your accident to file any potential claim you may have, and if you wait too long, your claim will likely be barred.
However, an exception to this statute of limitations may be applicable under certain circumstances, such as if you do not realize until later that you suffered any injuries from the accident as they did not become apparent until later. Further, if the victim is a minor under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will generally be tolled until that minor reaches the age of 18. At that time, the statute of limitations will begin running, and the minor will have two years from the date of his or her 18th birthday to file any potential claim.
A skilled auto accident lawyer will help you determine if a possible exception to the statute of limitations may apply to your claim. Even if it does, it is still best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your legal options. You want to make sure that you do not miss any other applicable deadlines to pursue compensation.
what if I was partially at fault for the accident?
One of the most common factors that can complicate accident claims is when the victim may have been partially at fault for the accident. Potential ways parties can share fault for a car accident include situations where a driver is driving at night while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, and rear ends a driver ahead of him or her whose taillights were not working. While the drunk driver may generally be considered to hold most of the blame for the accident in this situation, the driver of the vehicle that was hit from behind may be found to share some of the fault because he or she failed to follow applicable traffic laws requiring vehicles to have working taillights at night.
In such cases where one party is not considered 100 percent at fault for the accident, the amount of compensation a victim may be entitled to, if any, will depend upon whether the state follows a contributory negligence rule, a modified comparative negligence rule, or a pure comparative negligence rule.
Contributory Negligence Rule
Only four states and the District of Columbia still follow the Contributory Negligence Rule, which prevents an accident victim from being entitled to any compensation if the victim is considered to be even 1 percent at fault. Thus, if the victim is held to have been 5 percent at fault for the accident, even if the other driver was 95 percent at fault, the victim still cannot seek any compensation. Because this rule can sometimes lead to seemingly harsh or unfair results for some accident victims, many states have changed their laws to base entitlement to compensation on either a pure comparative fault or modified comparative fault basis.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In a modified comparative negligence state, if you are found to be either 50 percent or 51 percent responsible for an accident, you may be unable to seek any compensation from the other party. Twelve states follow the 50 Percent Bar Rule, which means an accident victim will typically not be able to pursue any compensation if the victim is considered to be 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, but the victim can pursue compensation if its degree of fault is 49 percent or less. Any compensation the victim may be entitled to will then be reduced by the victim’s degree of fault, so long as it is 49 percent or less.
Meanwhile, in the 21 states that follow the 51 Percent Bar Rule, the victim can seek compensation so long as the victim’s degree of fault is 50 percent or less. The one percent difference between these rules is key; states following the 50 Percent Bar Rule do not allow victims to pursue compensation if they are equally at fault, while states following the 51 Percent Bar Rule allow victims who are equally at fault to pursue compensation, although they do not allow the party more at fault for the accident—even if its degree of fault is 51 percent—seek compensation.
Pure Comparative Negligence
In the 13 states that recognize the Pure Comparative Fault Rule, if fault is shared, you may seek compensation equal to the fault assigned to the other party. For instance, if the court or jury finds you to be 75 percent at fault for the accident, you may still seek compensation for only 25 percent of your damages instead of the full 100 percent you may have been entitled to if you were not found to have any responsibility for causing the accident.
Arizona follows the Pure Comparative Negligence Rule, which means that no matter how much fault may be assigned to you for an accident, you can still seek compensation for your injuries and damages caused by the accident, so long as your degree of fault is not 100 percent. However, as with modified comparative negligence states, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your own degree of fault.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
After an accident, many insurance companies will present themselves as dedicated to helping the victim, insisting that is the insurer’s top priority. However, insurance companies are for-profit businesses which means they are working to pay as little compensation to victims as possible after accidents involving one of their insured.
This means that above all else, they seek to preserve their bottom line and ensure their own profits. However, there are some strategies you can keep in mind that may help you maximize your compensation after an accident.
Never Admit Fault
After a car accident in Tempe, it is important to never admit fault to anyone, especially the other driver, law enforcement, witnesses, or an insurance company. Insurers can use any admission of fault on your behalf to limit the amount of compensation you are entitled to, even if the alleged admissions of fault are taken out of context or you were tricked into those statements by a representative of the insurer, like a claims adjuster or an attorney. Even if you feel you may share some of the fault for an accident, do not admit fault to anyone and let your attorney handle any discussions with the insurance company.
Speaking With Insurers About the Accident
It is important when speaking to an insurer about an accident that you only answer questions that are asked, without giving any extra explanations or otherwise answering more than exactly what was asked, as these statements may be used against you. If you are unsure about exactly what happened or how to answer a question, it is best to tell them you are unsure. If you are unsure, do not give an answer simply because you think it may be more likely or because you may feel some degree of guilt or sympathy for the at-fault driver.
If the insurer requests a recorded statement, you have the right to decline this request, and should do so, especially if you have not yet spoken to a lawyer. Insurers will use recorded statements to demonstrate contradictions that may exist in later statements of testimony regarding the accident.
The insurer may rush to contact you immediately after the accident under a guise of compassion and desire to help, while instead attempting to reach you before you have had an opportunity to consult an auto accident lawyer, while you are still in a delicate emotional state and may not yet be thinking clearly. Because of the stress or your injury, you may be unable to accurately remember the accident, which could then lead to contradictions in your future testimony.
Never Accept the Initial Offer
Insurance companies are aware of the financial strain that many car accident victims may be experiencing, and they may quickly make a settlement offer under the guise of wanting to assist you and help you move on from the accident. This first offer is usually far lower than what your case may actually be worth, especially if you have not hired an attorney. The insurer counts on a victim’s financial struggles to convince him or her to take this quick offer and accept less compensation in their desperation to quickly obtain money to ease their financial burdens.
Consult An Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident in Tempe and wish to protect your rights and seek compensation for your injuries, you should consult one of the skilled Tempe car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group. Our attorneys are skilled orators and can comfortably speak to the claims adjuster and insurer on your behalf, truly helping you seek the compensation you may be entitled to while protecting your rights.
Furthermore, negotiations can be a time-consuming process, as insurers may seek to draw out the process to pressure victims into accepting lower offers as your financial burdens mount. Hiring a skilled attorney will demonstrate to the insurer that you are serious about pursuing compensation and protecting your rights after the accident. Allow your attorney to handle these negotiations with the insurance company and your rights will be protected; we are trained, ready, and able to obtain a reasonable settlement offer or otherwise take your case to trial.
Contact skilled Tempe car accident lawyers near you today
Car accidents unfortunately occur every day on roads across Arizona. These accidents are caused in a wide variety of ways and involve a wide variety of vehicles. Roadway accidents can also leave victims scrambling to recover physically and emotionally, confused and struggling to determine their legal rights and the next steps to take after the disruption of an unexpected incident.
Further, Zinda Law Group understands that the injuries and damages suffered in a car accident can cause serious financial burdens for a victim and their loved ones, especially if the accident causes you to miss work or leaves the you temporarily or permanently unable to work. If you or a loved one have been involved in a Tempe car accident, you can search online for an “injury lawyer near me,” or you could simply call Zinda Law Group today to schedule your free consultation.
Speak with an experienced accident lawyer who can explain who may be liable for your injuries and damages. Our skilled team will use our experience assisting other Arizona car accident victims to fully protect your rights under Arizona law. Moreover, our understanding of applicable Arizona accident and fault laws will help us build the strongest case possible for getting you the maximum amount of compensation possible for you and your family.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.