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Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident in Phoenix due to someone else’s reckless or careless actions, then you’re entitled to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for the damages related to your accident.

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What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer is a civil litigator who represents clients who allege physical or psychological injury as the result of careless or negligent acts by another entity, company, person, organization, or government agency. A personal injury lawyer practices in an area called tort law. This area of the law specializes in private or civic injuries or wrongs, non-monetary, and monetary damages. This can include actions of bad faith, defamation, or breach of contract to a person’s property, rights, or reputation.

While a personal injury attorney is armed with a license to practice in all areas of the law, they often handle cases falling within tort law, including road accidents, slip and fall accidents, defective products, and work injuries. A personal injury attorney will help their client secure compensation for losses including the loss of capacity to earn, pain and suffering, and the inability to perform normal duties. Losses can also include any expenses that may arise, attorney fees, emotional distress, and the loss of companionship.

A lawyer will ensure their clients are safe from being victimized by the legal system and  a company that offers insurance. A personal injury lawyer is also referred to as a trial lawyer, although the majority of their cases are settled in negotiations and do not go to trial.

The Duties of a Personal Injury lawyer

A personal injury lawyer has many duties. Their sole responsibility is talking to and interviewing clients to assess their cases. They can help to further identify the pertinent issues within their client’s case, so they can conduct research thereafter to build a solid case. The personal injury lawyer will help their client obtain the justice and compensation they deserve for their injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses. This is done through oral arguments, legal advice, advocacy, and client counseling. When negotiations fall through with insurance companies or the other parties liable in a personal injury case, the lawyer will be prepared to take their client’s case to trial.

How to Prove Liability in a Personal Injury Case

A personal injury lawsuit will focus on holding an entity or person liable for injuries and damages they caused to others.

When a claim is filed for damages, the evidence must prove that the other party is liable. A lawyer must also prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries.

With this type of lawsuit, a liability is proved by establishing the following elements:

Duty of Care

The defendant owed the victim a duty of care. Duty of care in a personal injury lawsuit can depend on the unique facts of a case. For example, if the case involves an auto accident, the duty of care that a driver owes another driver is to operate their vehicle in a legal and safe manner.

Breach of Duty

The breach of duty involves the defendant’s actions that led to the accident. If a driver is driving while intoxicated, they have chosen to engage in the unsafe act of driving under the influence of alcohol. This means the driver breached their duty of care to the other drivers on the road. This breach then led to an accident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.

Damages
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In addition to proving liability, the lawyer must also prove damages. In this type of case, damages refer to non-economic and out of pocket expenses that the plaintiff incurred as the result of the accident.

The types of damages an accident victim can seek to recover in a personal injury case includes:

Medical Expenses

Current and future medical costs that related to the injury, such as emergency medical care, transport to the emergency room by ambulance, x-rays, assistive devices including crutches or wheelchairs, rehabilitation, physical therapy, hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, prescription medications, and other expenses related to the victim’s injuries.

Lost Wages

The plaintiff can also sue for lost wages due to time missed at work because of their injuries. The victim can pursue compensation for lost business opportunities or the loss of future earning capacity if their injuries resulted in their inability to continue working in the same capacity as they were able to before the accident occurred.

Damaged Property

The plaintiff can also pursue damages for the cost of replacing or repairing their vehicle and other personal property that was destroyed or damaged in the accident.

Pain and Suffering

In many cases, the accident victim can pursue compensation for physical pain and suffering that’s related to the injuries sustained in the accident, in addition to emotional distress.

Permanent Disabilities

Damages can also be sought by the injured person’s spouse for loss of emotional and physical intimacy if the plaintiff sustained severe permanent injuries.

Why You Need a Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney

Almost every type of accident that a person can suffer in Arizona is covered by personal injury law, if someone else is at fault.

Some of the most common types of personal injury accidents that lead to lawsuits include:

How a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Some victims may choose to attempt to handle a claim on their own, without an attorney. This is usually a mistake. A lawyer possesses the specific skills and knowledge that can significantly improve a victim’s potential for recovering fair compensation through a settlement or award.

Some of the services that a Phoenix personal injury attorney can perform on the behalf of their clients include:

  • Negotiating with the liable party’s insurance provider to obtain a fair settlement on their client’s behalf
  • Gathering evidence in addition to witness testimony and speaking with experts that can help their client’s case. A personal injury lawyer will often rely on experts such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals who have specific expertise in the type of accident the client experienced or the type of injuries their client has suffered in an accident.
  • They will also help guide their clients through the complicated legal processes, ensuring their client understands the legal options that are available to them through the claims process.
  • A personal injury attorney can also determine the value of a case based on the impact that the injuries have had on the client’s life and the client’s out of pocket expenses.
  • An attorney will file all legal paperwork needed within the legally mandated time frame.
  • Personal injury lawyers will carefully examine the facts of a case to identify all of the parties that can be held liable and all of the insurance resources that the client can access to provide compensation.
  • An attorney will also litigate the case if they are not able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or the liable party.

Valuing a Claim

Since every case is unique, there’s no average amount that a case is worth. The value of a case is determined by the following:

Insurance Coverage

The amount of insurance coverage carried by the at fault party. An insurance company usually pays court awards and settlements. While an accident victim can file a lawsuit against the party responsible, even if they don’t have insurance, it’s usually very difficult to collect the award, since the defendant likely doesn’t have the means to pay out of pocket for damages.

Client Credibility

Client credibility can also play a role in valuing a claim. The injured party’s credibility can become damaged if they make vastly differing statements regarding how the accident occurred. In this type of situation, the insurance company often hesitates to settle the case, or it can be very difficult to convince a judge that the defendant should be held responsible.

Severity of Injuries

The more severe the injuries, the higher the medical expenses and the more work that’s missed. Severe injuries and several weeks of missed work could have a greater impact on the plaintiff’s life, especially if they sustained injuries that led to a permanent disability. This can often equal a higher settlement.

Lack of Evidence

If there’s not much evidence and the situation is unclear, it can be difficult for the accident victim to recover damages.

Permanent Disabilities

Complicated injuries or permanent disabilities often result in a higher settlement because future medical treatment directly related to the injuries sustained in the accident will be needed.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?

There’s no average length of time you can anticipate settling your case. Most personal injury cases are handled out of court; however, it can take a long time to reach a settlement. Insurance companies will normally offer a very low settlement as a way to appease the victim and avoid a lengthy case in court. While some accident victims will find these early settlement offers attractive, especially if they are out of work and in need of money, the plaintiff who is patient is often the one who receives the largest settlement. In some cases, a fair settlement is not offered until right before a trial is scheduled to begin.

Common Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury is any type of physical harm a person can sustain due to the actions of another. They can occur under a variety of circumstances and usually involve negligent actions. Some of the common scenarios include:

Auto Accidents

Collisions usually occur when a negligent driver engages in risky driving. This can include driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, speeding, and distracted driving.

Commercial Vehicle Accidents

When a commercial vehicle crashes into a passenger vehicle, the odds of serious injuries are much higher since a commercial vehicle weighs thousands of pounds more than a passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles can include buses, cement trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, and any vehicle used for business purposes. The most common of all are truck accidents in Phoenix and the unstoppable count is still on.

Premises Accidents

A negligent property owner can contribute to injuries when they fail to warn of hazards or maintain their property. A person can fall due to broken handrails, large debris, wet floors, broken stairs, or uneven walkways.

Drownings

In drowning accidents, negligence is often a factor. A drowning can occur due to inadequate safeguards, including a lack of security and fencing. Children can also drown in ponds, or tubs of water. A near-drowning accident can occur when a victim ingests water and stops breathing but does not die. The lack of oxygen can cause the victim cognitive and functional issues.

Injuries in the Workplace

These types of accidents can involve violence by people or animals, falls, defective equipment, exposure to harmful substances, and transportation accidents.

Dog Bites or Attacks

When a dog attacks, they often cause serious injuries. Their sharp teeth can easily penetrate flesh. The owner of the animal can be held responsible for damages, even if their pet has no prior history of biting.

Medical Malpractice

When a physician, nurse, medical assistant, or another type of healthcare worker commits a negligent act, they can be held liable.

Product Injuries

Products can cause injuries due to inadequate warnings, packaging flaws, and manufacturing or design defects. Defective products such as chemicals, medical devices, prescription drugs, and airbags can result in catastrophic injuries or death.

Do I Have a Claim?

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim. If you choose to hire an attorney, they can work on your behalf to determine if an organization, company, or person is legally responsible for your injuries. If there’s evidence that shows a negligent party caused you harm, a personal injury lawyer can help you pursue a claim to recover compensation for your injuries.

When the party that’s responsible has liability insurance, they will usually file a claim with their insurance carrier. The insurance company will conduct an investigation; however, their decision is often biased. If the insurance company denies liability for damages, you will still have other options:

Settlement Negotiations

Immediately after an accident, it’s best to discuss your injuries with a lawyer. Even if an insurance company denies liability, a lawyer can still fight to recover damages for their client. You have a right to negotiate for damages and settle your claim. If your lawyer has tried to negotiate with the insurance company, with no success, there are other ways they can resolve your claim.

Mediation

If the settlement discussions are not productive, an attorney can set up mediation. In many cases, mediation is a required step in the litigation process. During mediation, both parties will sit down to discuss the details of the case. A mediator is impartial and will work with both sides to help with settlement negotiations.

Lawsuit

If the insurance company is still refusing to offer a fair settlement, then filing a lawsuit is the next step. A lawsuit will allow your lawyer to present the evidence of your case in court. The court will determine if the other party was negligent and how much compensation you will receive for damages.

Dog Bite Injury Liability

A dog can have some of the same instincts as an undomesticated, wild animal. When a person owns a dog, they must accept that responsibility. A dog instinctively responds to everyday situations. They can bite or attack a child who is too young to understand the danger. They can also bite delivery people and mail carriers. Under Arizona law, a dog owner can be held liable for dog bites and attacks, even if their dog has never bitten someone before.

Defective Product Liability

If a product that’s defective injures you, those in the chain of manufacturing, distribution, and sales can all be held accountable for your injuries. Your lawyer must prove that the product has a defective design or manufacturing defects, or that the entities involved failed to adequately warn consumers of danger. An attorney must also show evidence that the product caused your injuries.

Gathering Evidence

Evidence is crucial for proving liability. A Phoenix lawyer can help document evidence and prepare it for presentation. You must do your part as well until an attorney becomes involved.

Evidence will begin to fade within moments after an accident has occurred. A driver can move their car, a property owner can repair damage or clean up maintenance issues. If you’re the only one at the scene of the accident, then you must try to document whatever you can. Using the camera on your phone is a great way to document the accident. You can use the camera to capture and preserve evidence that can be crucial to your case, before it disappears or changes. If you’re not able to move, due to the severity of your injuries, seek assistance from a bystander.

If you are able to do so, you should:

  1. Take photos of the scene of the accident and the immediate area
  2. Look for eyewitnesses and take down their contact information
  3. If you fell, try to identify and take photos of what caused you to fall
  4. If you were involved in a car accident, take photos of the points of impact and the stopping location. Try to document the street layout, traffic signals and signs, damage, and injuries. Take photos of the other car’s license plates and get the other driver’s information.
  5. If you have been injured by a defective product, the product itself will be used as evidence. Do not turnover the defective product to anyone except your attorney.
  6. When you have been injured, speak with a lawyer immediately. Lawyers understand the legal issues and know exactly what evidence you need to prove liability. An early investigation will be crucial in proving your case.

Insurance Policies

An insurance policy will include information that explains what your duties are after an accident.

Auto Insurance

If you have been injured in a car accident, your insurance carrier requires you to report the accident. It’s important to contact your insurance even if you believe that the other driver is responsible for the accident.

The insurance company must determine if it owes damages under your liability coverage. Even if you believe you did not contribute to the accident, the insurance company still has a right to determine that for themselves.

Even if you believe the other driver was at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance carrier may take a different position.

Some drivers may want to submit their medical bills for payment under their auto medical payments coverage.

If the at fault driver does not have insurance, you may need to make an uninsured motorist claim.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you’ve been injured at work, your employer’s insurance will cover the cost of lost income and medical treatment. You will also need to report any type of injury you have sustained on the job to your employer, immediately. Your employer must then submit a claim to their insurance carrier.

Health Insurance

Doctors and hospitals want to know who is going to be responsible for your medical bills. Your workers’ compensation insurer and your healthcare insurer confirm their duty to pay so you can continue to have access to medical treatment.

If your insurer has subrogation rights, they will cover the cost of your medical bills, other benefits, and will advise you concerning your right to recover the money they have paid. Your policy will explain your duty to protect the insurance company’s subrogation rights.

Uninsured Motorist Claims

An Arizona motorist must have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage of a minimum of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident.

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Phoenix?

When you have been seriously injured in an accident, a lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and will provide valuable services. They have experience dealing with insurance companies, uninsured motorists, negligent property owners, and complex cases that hold more than one party liable. An attorney will recognize the significant factors that can contribute to the value of your claim. They will aggressively negotiate with liability insurers to obtain a higher settlement for their client. If settlement negotiations fall flat, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Contact the Ferguson Law Group Today

When you’ve been seriously injured in an accident that was due to the carelessness or recklessness of another, you will face strict time limits for filing a lawsuit in court. A Phoenix personal injury lawyer at the Ferguson Law Group can help you win the compensation you deserve. We are committed to achieving the best results for our clients and will work diligently on your behalf. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help.

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