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While many Arizona car accidents only result in property damage, others can cause serious injuries or fatalities. In 2020, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reports that 98,778 motor vehicle crashes happened in the state, resulting in 28,610 injuries and 970 fatalities. Out of the total crashes, 71,611 happened in Maricopa County and included 460 fatal accidents and 19,997 injury accidents.
When people sustain serious injuries in car accidents caused by someone else, they are often left contending with rapidly increasing medical expenses, income losses, physical pain, and psychological trauma. While you might understand that you have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver, you might not have an idea of the amount of compensation your claim is worth. If you were injured in a car crash in Chandler, Arizona, you should speak with a Chandler car accident lawyer at the law firm of Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible. Our attorneys can analyze the evidence and facts of your case and honestly assess its legal viability. If we agree to accept your claim, we will work hard to recover maximal compensation for all of your losses.
Our Chandler attorneys devote themselves to seeking justice on behalf of our clients. We have years of experience helping accident victims hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions while recovering monetary compensation. We conduct thorough investigations and work with experts to ensure our clients reserve the compensation to which they should be entitled while always keeping an open communication line so that our clients are fully aware of everything happening with their cases throughout the claims process. Here is some information about motor vehicle crashes and the claims process.
Important Arizona Laws in Car Accident Cases
Motorists are expected to obey local and state laws when they drive vehicles. The state’s vehicle code is meant to protect the safety of everyone on the road and prevent accidents. Here are some of the laws that the Lamber Goodnow Chandler car accident attorneys frequently encounter in car accident cases:
• ARS § 28-730 – Drivers not to follow other motorists too closely
• ARS § 28-724 – Motorists should not pass on the right unless the vehicle they are passing is getting ready to turn left, when they are driving on one-way streets, or when they are driving on a road with at least two lanes going in the same direction
• ARS § 28-723 – Motorists should pass other vehicles on the left and stay to the left until it is safe to re-enter the right lane
• ARS § 28-721 – Motorists should travel in the right lane unless they are passing other vehicles traveling in the same direction, are driving on one-way roads, there is an obstruction, or are driving on a road with at least three lanes
• ARS § 28-701(a) – On a highway, motorists should drive at a reasonable speed under the circumstances
• ARS § 28-693 – Drivers who recklessly disregard the safety of others on the road can face criminal prosecution for reckless driving, jail, and fines
• ARS § 28-644 – Drivers should always obey traffic control devices unless a police officer directs them otherwise
These and other motor vehicle laws often come into play in car accident cases since violating them can result in collisions.
Dealing With Insurance Companies Following Car Accidents in Chandler
Arizona is a fault state for car collision claims. This means that when someone else causes an accident in which you are injured, you will file your property damage and injury claim with the responsible driver’s auto insurer to recover compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, recovering compensation from an insurance company is rarely a straightforward process. As for-profit corporations, insurance companies strive to minimize their losses and drive up their profits. One way that they do this is by trying to minimize how much they are forced to pay out in accident claims.
It is common for insurance adjusters representing the responsible party’s insurer to reach out to injured accident victims soon after their collisions. The representatives might seem genuinely concerned about the victims. However, you should recognize that the adjusters work for the insurance companies they represent. A part of their jobs is to try to reduce their employers’ potential claim payments. Insurance adjusters are trained in how to ask leading questions that might elicit statements from accident victims that the insurance companies can then use against them in their insurance claims.
Because of this, you should avoid talking about your accident or injuries with a representative of the other motorist’s insurance company. If you are contacted, you should politely refuse to discuss your case and injuries and instead tell the adjuster you don’t want to make a statement until you have had a chance to talk to a Chandler car accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow. When you hire a lawyer, your attorney can talk to the insurance company for you and help to prevent you from making any statements that could potentially harm your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
You might also be sent a medical authorization by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company might claim that it can’t settle your claim unless you grant it authority to acquire your medical records so that it can evaluate your injuries. These authorizations are often overly broad, and the insurance companies use them to pore over the victims’ complete medical history in an attempt to find something else on which to blame their injuries. Don’t sign a medical authorization from the insurance company. Your attorney can help to determine which records the insurance company should be granted access to and those that should remain confidential.
In some cases, an insurance company might send a fast settlement offer not long after an accident. This might happen in cases in which the liability of the insurance company’s insured is obvious. However, these types of offers are usually unreasonably low and insufficient to cover the victims’ losses. If you receive an early offer, you might think that your claim is not worth as much as it is. However, if you agree to it, you won’t be able to ask for additional compensation to pay for your losses later. An experienced lawyer can review your settlement offer and analyze your case to determine the actual value of your claim and help you recover all of the compensation you deserve.
Insurance Coverage Laws and Issues
ARS § 28-4009 mandates all Arizona motorists to have auto insurance with the following minimum liability coverages or more:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury coverage
- $50,000 for two or more injured people per accident
- $15,000 for property damage
Despite this law, many motorists in Arizona drive without insurance. When an uninsured driver causes a car accident, this can make it more difficult for injured victims to recover compensation. Other motorists only purchase auto insurance with the required minimum liability coverages. If you are seriously injured, the policy limits might not be enough to pay for all of your medical bills and other losses.
Insurance companies in Arizona are required to offer people uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) at the time they purchase their policies under ARS § 20-259.01. This type of coverage isn’t required, but you should have it. Suppose you are involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver and have UM/UIM coverage. In that case, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover your losses up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy if the other driver is uninsured. If the other driver did not have enough coverage to pay for your losses, your UM/UIM policy can pay for the difference up to its policy limits. Your lawyer will also investigate your case thoroughly to determine whether other parties might share liability and have other policies that might be additional sources of recovery.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Chandler
Many people feel confused and overwhelmed right after a car accident. Keeping this checklist of what to do after a car accident can help you to protect yourself and your claim.
1. Call 911 and Stay at the Scene.
The first thing you should do is to call 911 to report your accident. Stay at the scene and wait there for the police. If the other driver tries to talk you into handling the accident yourselves without involving the police, don’t listen. You can get into trouble if you leave the scene of an accident, including an accident that wasn’t your fault.
2. Check Yourself and Others for Injuries.
Check everyone involved in the accident for injuries. If someone was injured, try to provide basic care to them until the emergency responders arrive. If you think that someone could have a neck or back injury, avoid moving them because doing so could make their injuries worse.
3. Exchange Information With the Other Motorist.
You are required by law to exchange your information with the other driver. Get the driver’s name, driver’s license number, address, insurance information, and registration information. Use your phone’s camera to take photographs of these documents if possible.
4. Document the Accident Scene.
If you can, take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to each involved vehicle, their positions, any skid marks, the road conditions, weather conditions, nearby intersections, speed limit signs, and other relevant details. If any witnesses saw the accident, ask for their names and contact information. Ask them to wait to give statements to the police.
5. Stick to the Facts.
When the police arrive, explain what happened in the moments leading up to your accident. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating. Resist the urge to apologize or accept blame. If the officer asks you if you were injured, tell them you want to get checked out by a doctor. You might have injuries with delayed symptoms even if you initially believe that you are uninjured.
6. Seek Medical Care Immediately.
If you are seriously injured, go to the emergency department via ambulance. If you don’t believe you are seriously injured, you should still go to either your doctor’s office or an urgent care center as soon as possible. Seeing a doctor quickly can help to diagnose any hidden injuries and ensure you receive early treatment that could prevent them from worsening. Seeking immediate medical attention can also help you to prove your injuries were caused by your accident and not an intervening event.
7. Contact an Attorney.
After you have sought medical care, you should then call a lawyer at Lamber Goodnow in Chandler. We can take care of your claim for you while you work on recovering from your injuries.
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FAQs: Chandler Car Accident Claims
Many people have questions about their rights and options after they are injured in car accidents. Here are a few of the most common questions the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow are asked by accident victims.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
A: Arizona has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including car accidents. This statute is found at ARS § 12-542. This law establishes a two-year deadline for filing an injury lawsuit. The limitation period begins to run on the date of your accident. If you wait longer than two years to file a lawsuit, it will be time-barred. This means you won’t be able to file a claim for monetary damages.
There is a shorter statute of limitations of 180 days if the at-fault party is employed by a government agency and was working at the time of your accident under the Arizona Tort Claims Act. If you have questions about how the statutes of limitation might apply in your case, talk to our attorneys.
Q: What if My Collision Was Caused by a Failed Part?
A: Some car accidents are caused by defective vehicle components. If your accident happened because of a part failure, you might have grounds to file a product liability case against the manufacturer and other parties involved in placing the product on the market. The Chandler car accident attorneys can review your case and help you understand your legal options.
Q: What if the Other Driver Was Working When They Caused My Accident?
A: If the other motorist was working within the scope and course of their job at the time they caused your accident, the at-fault driver’s employer might be vicariously liable. This means that the employer will be the party that is responsible for paying your damages. Since employers often carry insurance policies with much higher limits than their drivers might, this could mean that you might recover more compensation in your claim.
Q: Can I Still Recover Damages if I Was Partly at Fault?
A: Yes, you can still recover compensation even if you were partly at fault for your accident under ARS § 12-2505. Under this law, Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence system, which means that each party is responsible for their negligence. If you shared fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault the jury allocates to you. For example, if you are found to have been 20% at fault for your accident, your damages will be reduced by 20%.
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