Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are common throughout the state, including phoenix, but no one is ever really prepared for the impact a car accident can have on their life. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may experience a lengthy recovery period due to severe physical injuries. You may miss several days or weeks of work, or you may even develop disabilities that prevent you from returning back to work. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be facing significant physical, financial and emotional damage. Now is the time to contact a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you collect compensation for your physical injuries and property damage. An experienced lawyer will take the time to listen to your side of the story to build a compelling case in your favor.
Meet with a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, you may be tempted to handle the claim yourself. However, you may need to negotiate with insurance companies or bring your case to court, depending on the complexity of your accident and the severity of your injuries. To improve your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve, you need to hire an experienced car accident attorney.
At the Ferguson Law Group, our skilled car accident lawyers know how to navigate claims and can help guide you through these complicated legal processes. Additionally, our lawyers can evaluate settlement offers from insurance companies and negotiate for a higher settlement. Hiring an attorney with experience can increase your chances of a better outcome in your car accident claim.
When Should I Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?
After an accident, if you have suffered injuries, a claims adjuster may attempt to contact you and offer you a settlement. They may also ask you to make a statement regarding the accident and ask if they can record you. Avoid speaking to a claims adjuster until you have contacted a lawyer. Insurance companies can use your statement against you to reduce your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. If you plan on filing a claim against the at-fault party, you need to contact a Phoenix auto accident lawyer.
Damages Recovered in a Phoenix Car Accident
Phoenix car accident claims give the victim an opportunity to recover compensation for damages related to the accident. Damages can refer to a number of losses the accident caused to the claimant. This can include:
- Wrongful death
- Property damage
- Lost quality of life
- Mental anguish
- The cost of rental cars
- Legal fees
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical bills
Car Accident Laws in Phoenix
In Arizona, an auto accident victim has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim against the at-fault party in the accident. The victim will have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. If you miss the deadline to file your case, your case will be barred.
Additionally, Arizona follows a comparative negligence rule. This can reduce the amount of compensation you receive if you are partially at fault. For example, if you were hit by another vehicle, but you were not wearing your seatbelt when you were hit, the court could assign you a percentage of the liability. Even if you win the case, your compensation will be reduced, based on the percentage the court found you at fault.
Factors that can Affect Car Accidents
Auto accidents can occur in any situation, but there are some factors that can increase the odds of a collision.
This can include speeding, alcohol or drug use, construction, and distracted driving.
Arizona has some of the most progressive distracted driving laws in America. In AZ, it’s illegal to talk on the phone while driving, unless the phone is on speakerphone. It’s also illegal to text while driving. Writing or reading a text can take the driver’s eyes off the road for only a few seconds, but an accident can happen in an instant.
Whether from rain, congestion, or construction, road conditions can also play a role in auto accidents. Because Arizona doesn’t receive a lot of rain, slippery conditions during heavy rainfall can lead to more accidents compared to states that receive rain more regularly. Slippery roads can cause serious or fatal crashes, especially if drivers don’t slow down.
Common Types of Vehicle Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in an auto accident can range from scrapes and bruises to permanent disabilities. A Phoenix auto accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process if you’ve suffered serious injuries that have prevented you from returning to work for the foreseeable future. Some of the most common injuries from an auto accident can include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Bone fractures
What to do After a Auto Accident in Phoenix, AZ
Immediately after an accident, you may feel disoriented. You may also be in a lot of pain. After an accident, you should seek immediate medical attention by calling 911. If you’re physically able to, follow steps to document the accident. This can be used as crucial evidence and can help you win the compensation you deserve.
- Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of the accident scene. This should include all vehicles involved, the road conditions, any debris in the road, and any traffic signs around the area.
- Gather information from the other driver, such as the make and model of their vehicle, their insurance information, license number, and license plate number.
- If there are any witnesses, take down their contact information. Your lawyer will want to speak to them, since they can provide testimony in your case.
- Once you have received medical treatment for your injuries, and given a detailed story to the police, contact a phoenix auto accident lawyer immediately. Avoid speaking to an insurance company until after you have spoken to your attorney.
Common Types of Auto Accidents
Auto accidents may only involve a single driver, while other types of accidents can involve several drivers and even pedestrians. Some of the most common types of auto accidents include:
Side Impact Collisions
This type of accident is usually caused by a failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle or by a vehicle failing to obey traffic signals at an intersection. The severity of the accident and the resulting injuries can depend on the speed at impact. Some vehicles come with side airbags that can help to mitigate the injuries that are caused by this type of collision.
The person sitting on the side of the car that was struck is more likely to sustain the most severe injuries.
This type of accident can occur when one car crashes into the rear of another vehicle. These collisions occur when there’s a sudden deceleration by the first vehicle, preventing the vehicle behind them from stopping in time. Injuries that are typically sustained from this type of collision includes herniation of the spine and whiplash. The rearmost passengers are often the ones who sustain the most severe injuries. The driver of the vehicle that rear-ends another vehicle is the one considered at-fault, however, there are some exceptions.
This type of auto accident results when a car tips over onto its roof or side. These types of accidents have a higher fatality rate compared to other types of car accidents. There are a couple of categories for rollovers: untripped and tripped. Tripped rollovers are caused by forces exerted by another object, such as a collision with another vehicle or a curb. An untripped rollover is often caused by rain, speed, and the vehicle losing contact with the ground when turning a corner. Trucks and SUVs are vulnerable to rollovers when a driver takes a sharp turn that flips their vehicle over.
This type of accident involves the front ends of two cars that collide with each other as the cars travel in opposite directions. This is the deadliest type of collision because the velocity of the traveling vehicles is added together, which causes extreme force to be exerted during the collision. A head-on collision can cause severe injuries and sometimes death.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Drivers who are found at-fault for causing an auto accident that results in the death of the driver and/or one of the passengers can find themselves facing criminal charges in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In some cases, determining fault can be very complicated. There are many factors that need to be taken into account when proving liability. Car accident lawyers and their team of investigators will collect all the evidence that proves the other driver was negligent. If multiple parties were involved in the accident, fault can be complicated to determine. Pinpointing which driver made a dangerous mistake is the key to proving fault. In some cases, it’s much simpler to determine fault. For example, the intoxicated driver who ran a red light is more likely to be responsible for the accident.
The police can help determine fault at the scene of an accident. They are required to make a report. When making a report, the police will question all parties involved, in addition to speaking with witnesses to determine exactly what happened. However, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a police officer states a liable party in their report doesn’t mean that the liable party is accountable for the accident.
When you hire an attorney, they will initiate a full investigation to prove that you were not at fault for the accident.
Seeking Compensation After an Auto Accident
If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto accident, speaking with a lawyer will give you the best chance of receiving compensation for losses and damages. An injured victim can seek compensation from the driver who is at fault.
As an accident victim, you have the right to several forms of compensation, such as:
If you suffered severe injuries in an accident, the party responsible can owe compensation for the emergency room visit following the accident, doctor’s appointments, prescription medications, copays, rehabilitative therapy, and assistive medical devices. You may also receive compensation for future medical costs.
Loss of income
If you had to take time off work due to your injuries, you have the right to full compensation for the wages you lost.
The at-fault driver can be held responsible for paying for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, if it was totaled, in addition to any belongings that were inside the vehicle that were damaged due to the accident.
When to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney
If you were involved in an accident, you should contact a car accident lawyer immediately to protect your rights and your case. Legal representation from a personal injury attorney can help you win the compensation you deserve to cover the costs of medical treatment, property damage, lost wages at work, and pain and suffering.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help? Claim Your Benefits
After a serious accident, you need trusted legal guidance. An experienced auto accident lawyer can serve a client in several ways after an accident.
A lawyer will listen to your side of the story to learn how the accident occurred, what injuries you sustained and determine what the best course of action is. They will listen to your concerns and address your questions. They will also discuss your legal options and whether they believe you have a valid claim. They can also let you know what you can expect as your case moves forward.
Make Sure You Receive Proper Medical Treatment
If your doctor recommends physical therapy after your accident, it’s crucial that you follow all of your doctor’s advice. This will be detrimental to your case. Your attorney will make sure you receive the medical treatment you need and deserve. They will also keep copies of your medical records, which will be used during settlement negotiations or during trial.
Conduct an Investigation
An attorney will work with accident reconstruction experts and investigators as needed to determine exactly how the accident occurred and who should be held accountable. They will analyze whether distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk driving, or speeding contributed to the accident and gather evidence to build your case. They will also investigate whether a restaurant or bar who served alcohol to the driver should be held liable, if the at fault driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
An attorney will file all the required documents with the courts and insurance companies. They will keep track of filing deadlines so a case can move forward smoothly.
Seek a Fair Settlement
A lawyer will send a demand letter to the appropriate insurance companies to seek compensation for your losses. A good attorney will negotiate aggressively on your behalf.
Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident
Some auto accident victims will attempt to negotiate with an insurance company without help from an experienced lawyer. For many, the prospect of negotiating with an insurance company can be overwhelming. Many insurers refuse to pay a fair settlement and will make an offer without knowing the full extent of the accident victim’s injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney Phoenix can help an accident victim successfully navigate the negotiation and settlement process.
During negotiations, your losses and injuries must be taken into account, in addition to the pain and suffering you’ve endured and other losses such as unearned wages and property damage.
It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company’s priority is to maximize profit, which is why they will attempt to pay you as little as possible.
An insurance rep is trained to try to get an accident victim to say the wrong thing or accept lowball offers. If an insurance company is not offering fair compensation, it’s important to speak with a qualified accident attorney.
Initiating a Claim
After an accident, your insurance company should be contacted right away. It’s important to initiate a claim as soon as possible after your accident since you can recall the details more accurately and report any property damage or injuries that occurred.
Keep Accurate Records
Keep a file of records regarding your accident and organize them chronologically. This file must also include the police accident report, medical records, estimates for vehicle repairs, and any other paperwork that’s relevant to the accident. During negotiations, your attorney will rely on these records to help expedite the settlement process and argue for a higher settlement.
Before an attorney sends a demand letter to an insurance company, they must determine what your claim is worth. To arrive at a figure, they will take into account the following:
- Medical care costs and related expenses
- How much income was lost as a result of your injuries if you were not able to go back to work
- Pain and suffering you endured after the accident
- The cost of replacing or repairing your car and any other damaged property
Based on this information, they can determine a fair settlement figure.
Insurance Company Demand Letter
After the lawyer has calculated what they think your claim is worth, they will send the demand letter to the at fault driver’s insurance company. In the letter, they will describe your injuries, the different types of medical treatments you have received, any ongoing medical problems you may have, damage to your vehicle and other property, and any other losses incurred due to the accident. An insurance company will respond with an offer that’s much lower than what your lawyer asks for, which is why most attorneys will ask for 25% to 100% more than what you’re willing to settle for.
Of course, your lawyer will have documentation to back up everything in the demand letter. A lack of evidence can prevent you from receiving the settlement you deserve.
The Insurance Company’s Response
When an insurance company makes an offer, it will probably be very low. Making a lowball offer is a common tactic insurance companies will use to see if you know what your claim is really worth. Your lawyer will speak with the insurance adjuster to see if they can justify the low offer, asking for specific reasons as to why the settlement offer is so low. They will respond to each of the points that are made in the reply letter and explain why they feel the offer is too low.
Your lawyer will then wait for another, more reasonable offer from the insurance company. If their next offer is more reasonable, but still too low, your lawyer will counter with a somewhat lower amount than what they initially asked for in the demand letter. If they make a reasonable counteroffer, the insurance adjuster will be more willing to reach a compromise.
When speaking with the insurance company to make a counteroffer, your attorney will emphasize the strongest points in your case. If you’ve suffered an injury that will require lifelong medical treatment, they will discuss how this will impact your quality of life and your finances over time. If you’ve missed several days, weeks, or months of work, they will reiterate the total amount of lost wages and how missing work has impacted your finances. They will make it clear that you must be compensated fairly for your injuries and any other losses.
Your attorney will keep you in the loop during negotiations. They will discuss the insurance company’s settlement offers and discuss why they feel that you should or shouldn’t accept the offer. If the lawyer is not able to arrive at a fair settlement agreement after spending several weeks negotiating with the insurance company, then they will prepare your case for trial.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of having a lawyer by your side through the insurance claim process is that most insurance companies are more likely to negotiate a fair settlement before the claim goes to trial. Usually, the trial process is both time intensive and financially straining for all parties involved, which is why it’s often avoided when possible.
Other Avenues for Compensation
An insurance provider is not the only entity that a Phoenix auto accident lawyer can target in their search for compensation. They will also consider the following sources:
- Auto manufacturers
- Government agencies
- Uninsured motorists
For example, if a missing traffic sign or an incorrectly timed traffic light contributed to or caused your accident, your lawyer can seek compensation from the government agency that’s responsible for maintaining road conditions.
Going to Trial
You need a lawyer who is comfortable litigating. If settlement negotiations fall apart, then your case will need to go to trial, where it will be heard by a judge and/or a jury. Your lawyer will thoroughly prepare your case and will fight for your rights in court.
Going to trial can be a very overwhelming process. Having legal experts by your side can significantly increase your chances of success.
During the trial, your lawyer will present evidence that proves your case. You will be entitled to more compensation if it’s determined that you’re not reasonably at fault. That being said, if it is proven that you’re partially at fault, then that can have an impact on your case and may reduce your settlement. Arizona is a comparative negligence state. This means, if you are found partially at fault, you may still receive compensation for your injuries and losses, however, the judge or jury will assign a percentage of fault and the size of your settlement will be reduced, based on that percentage.
Legal Experts You Can Trust
Hiring an attorney after an accident will not only help you receive a higher settlement or award, but it can also allow you to focus on your recovery and returning to work. While these cases can be very complex and may take several months to resolve, having a lawyer on your side can give you much-needed peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled.
Contact the Ferguson Law Group
If you’ve been in a car accident contact the Ferguson Law Group to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process, handle settlement negotiations, and take your case to trial if necessary. We have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and litigating cases in court. We will work diligently to prove your case and help you receive a higher award or settlement.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation for a case review and to learn how we can help you win the compensation you deserve.
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