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According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, 98,778 motor vehicle collisions happened in Arizona in 2020. Out of those, 28,610 resulted in injuries, and 970 were fatal. In Mesa, slightly more than 5,300 accidents were reported to the police, resulting in 36 fatalities and 152 serious injuries. Many others likely suffered other injuries that were not classified as serious.
Many people who are injured in car crashes caused by the actions of another person or entity do not know how much their claims might be worth. If you suffered injuries in a collision, you should promptly seek medical attention and talk to the experienced team of Mesa car accident attorneys at Lamber Goodnow. We can evaluate your case and explain its legal merits. Our attorneys can help you pursue full compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys in Mesa is dedicated to pursuing justice for our clients. We are experienced, compassionate litigators who fight for the rights of our clients when they have suffered harm because of the negligent actions of others. We can handle all aspects of your case and keep an open line of communication throughout the claims process. We will tailor our legal services to your case and aggressively work to recover maximum damages on your behalf.
Common Tactics Used by Auto Insurers
When you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you can file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to recover compensation. However, insurance companies are in the business of making profits and typically do whatever they can to avoid paying claims or reducing how much they pay. Insurance companies might use a variety of tactics to try to minimize the value of a claim.
You might be contacted by an insurance adjuster and asked to provide a recorded statement about your accident and injuries. While the adjuster might seem like a compassionate and caring person, you should be aware that the adjuster is employed by the insurance company and is tasked with trying to reduce the value of your claim. Adjusters are trained to ask questions in a leading manner to try to elicit statements the insurance company can use against you later in your claim. If you are asked to provide a statement by the at-fault party’s insurance company, you should politely decline and tell the representative that you want to speak to a lawyer first.
Another common tactic insurance companies use is to ask accident victims to sign medical authorizations. The company might tell you that it needs access to your medical records to verify your injury before it can pay your claim. In reality, the insurance company will use the medical authorization to comb through your medical history so that it can try to find a different event on which to blame your injuries and reduce your claim’s value. You should not sign a medical authorization for the other driver’s insurance company without talking to one of our experienced attorneys.
A third tactic utilized by some insurance companies is to send an early settlement offer to a car accident victim when the liability of its insured is clear. This type of settlement offer is typically unreasonably low. Insurance companies might send a lowball offer to you to try to convince you that your claim is worth less than it is and in the hope that you will accept it. If you accept a lowball offer and later learn that the amount was insufficient to cover your losses, you won’t be able to come back and ask for additional compensation to make up the difference.
Because of these types of tactics, you should speak to one of our experienced Mesa car accident lawyers as soon as possible after you have been injured and received treatment. We can deal with the insurance company for you and help to prevent you from making critical errors that could harm the value of your claim.
Insurance Coverage Issues
Under ARS § 28-4009, all motorists in Arizona are required to carry auto insurance with at least the following minimum liability coverages:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury for two or more people
- $15,000 property damage
Many motorists only have insurance policies that meet the minimum liability requirements, which might not be sufficient if you sustained serious injuries requiring a hospital stay and ongoing care. Despite the mandatory insurance law, many motorists also drive without auto insurance. In an accident with an uninsured driver, it might be difficult to recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.
Under ARS § 20-259.01, insurance companies must offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) to their insureds. While this type of insurance is not mandatory, it is a good idea to get it. UM/UIM coverage pays for the difference between an underinsured’s policy limits and your losses up to your UM/UIM policy limits. If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can file a claim under your UM/UIM coverage to recover compensation.
In addition to the other driver’s insurance policy and/or your UM/UIM coverage, your attorney will look for other possible sources of recovery. For example, if the vehicle driven by the at-fault driver belonged to someone else, your attorney might investigate whether the registered owner might be liable. Searching for other sources of recovery might help you to receive full compensation for all of your losses.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The average person will be involved in a motor vehicle collision every 18 years, which means that you might expect to have between three to four accidents during your life. Knowing what to do following a collision can help to protect your rights. Here are some steps to take if you are involved in a car crash.
1. Remain at the Scene and Contact the Police
Following a Mesa car accident, you should remain at the scene and exchange information with the other driver, including your name, address, insurance information, driver’s license information, and vehicle registration information. You should also immediately report your accident to the police. If the other motorist tries to talk you out of reporting your accident, don’t listen. It can be much harder to prove you were injured in a collision and who was at fault if your accident was never reported.
2. Check for Injuries
Check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone was injured, request medical assistance. Try to provide first aid if you can. However, you should avoid moving an injured person following a collision unless doing so is necessary because of a dangerous situation such as a fire.
3. Speak to Witnesses
If anyone else saw your accident, get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Encourage witnesses to wait for the police to tell them what they saw. Ask them if they would be willing for you to record them with your cell phone explaining what they witnessed. Witnesses can be invaluable for car accident claims since they are neutral third parties and are generally considered to be unbiased.
4. Take Photographs
Use your smartphone to take as many pictures as possible, including pictures of the damage to both cars, the relative positions of the vehicles, your injuries, the broader scene, tire skid marks, the weather conditions, the road conditions, and all other details you think might be relevant. Take more pictures than you might think are necessary. Photographs can be important pieces of evidence to negotiate a settlement.
5. Talk to the Police
When the police arrive, tell them what happened. However, don’t speculate, and stick to the facts. You should also avoid saying that you are sorry or denying that you have been injured. If you are unsure whether you have been injured, you can tell the officer that you want to see a doctor.
6. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You should seek immediate medical attention following a car accident. You might have a hidden injury with delayed symptoms. Getting prompt medical care can help you to receive early treatment and facilitate your recovery. It can also help you to preserve your potential auto accident injury claim.
Follow all of the recommendations you are given for follow-up care, and keep careful records of all of your doctor’s appointments. You should keep a written journal of how your injuries affect your ability to engage in normal activities.
7. Contact a Mesa Car Accident Attorney
Once you have received medical care, you should talk to an attorney at Lamber Goodnow in Mesa. Auto accident victims who work with attorneys receive an average of 40% more on their claims than those who try to handle their claims on their own. Our attorneys can review your case, quickly work to locate and preserve evidence, interview witnesses, investigate the accident scene, and work with experts to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. We are dedicated to holding negligent actors accountable and recovering fair compensation for our clients.
Mesa Car Accident Laws You Should Know
Some of the common laws that our Mesa attorneys encounter in car accident cases include the following:
- ARS § 28-644– Drivers must obey traffic control devices unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
- ARS § 28-693– Drivers who drive with a reckless disregard for the safety of others can be convicted of reckless driving and face jail and fines.
- ARS § 28-701(a)– Motorists who are driving on a highway must drive at a reasonable and prudent speed as dictated by the circumstances.
- ARS § 28-721– Motorists must drive in the right lane unless there is an obstruction, they are passing other motorists going in the same direction, are traveling on one-way roads, or are driving on a road with three or more traffic lanes.
- ARS § 28-723– Motorists must pass on the left and remain there until it is safe to merge back into the right lane.
- ARS § 28-724– Motorists can only pass on the right when the motorist they are passing is preparing to turn left, when they are driving on a road with two or more lanes, or when they are driving on one-way streets.
- ARS § 28-730– Drivers are prohibited from following too closely.
Understanding Arizona Negligence Laws
Most car accident claims involve negligence causes of action. A person is negligent when they fail to act with the same degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same circumstances. Car accident claimants must prove the following elements of negligence to prevail on their claims:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care.
- The at-fault party’s breach directly or proximately caused the accident and injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered calculable damages as a result.
In some cases, an at-fault driver in Mesa might be found negligent per se. This means that when the defendant violated a safety statute and caused an accident, the plaintiff would not have to prove that the defendant acted in a way that a reasonable person would not have acted in the same situation.
Arizona recognizes the doctrine of pure comparative negligence under ARS § 12-2505. Under this statute, you can recover damages even if you are also found to share fault. Since Arizona recognizes the pure form of comparative negligence, you could ostensibly recover damages if you were 99% at fault. However, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault, so it likely wouldn’t make sense for you to pursue a claim when you were primarily at fault.
The Statute of Limitations
Under ARS § 12-542, you have a deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit of two years for your injuries and property damage. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time, you will be barred from pursuing legal remedies in court to recover compensation.
In practice, it is best to speak with one of our Mesa car accident lawyers as soon as possible after your collision. If you wait too long, crucial evidence could be lost. Hiring an attorney early also provides your lawyer with more time to fully investigate your claim and pursue compensation on your behalf.
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FAQs: Mesa Car Accident Attorneys
Many people are confused about the claims process following a car accident and have questions about what they might expect. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about auto accident claims.
Q: Who will pay my medical bills?
A: Many auto accident victims face substantial medical bills for the treatment they receive. The party that might be responsible for paying your medical bills will depend on whether you were at fault or whether another driver was at fault. If you were at fault, you can use your medical insurance to pay for your medical expenses minus your deductibles and copays. If the other driver was at fault, their auto insurance company will be responsible for paying your medical expenses up to its policy limits. If the at-fault driver was uninsured, you can submit a claim to your UM/UIM coverage to cover your medical bills.
Even if the other motorist is at fault, the insurance company will not pay for your medical bills until your claim is resolved. In that case, your Mesa car accident lawyer can talk to your doctor and explain the situation. Many doctors will agree to wait to be paid until your claim is resolved. You can also use your medical insurance to pay for your medical bills while your claim is pending. Your insurance company will then go after the at-fault party’s insurer for reimbursement.
Q: What if a defective part caused my accident?
A: Some collisions are caused by defective parts instead of the negligence of either driver. In that case, your attorney can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective part and others involved in the chain of distribution.
Q: Who is liable when the at-fault driver was working at the time?
A: If you were injured in an accident caused by someone who was working within the scope and course of their employment, the at-fault motorist’s employer can be vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee. This means that the at-fault motorist’s employer will be responsible for paying damages to you since it will likelier have an insurance policy with substantially higher limits than the motorist.
Q: Who is allowed to sue when someone is killed?
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children if no surviving spouse
- Surviving parent(s) if no spouse or children
- Estate’s executor or personal representative
When a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by an executor or personal representative, the proceeds will go to the estate for the benefit of the deceased person’s beneficiaries or heirs.
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