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Car Accident Lawyer Phoenix
You probably don’t look at it this way, but driving is probably the riskiest thing you do on any given day. If you and yours are at their worst – count on us to be at our best.
Phoenix car accident lawyer team with over 30 years experience.
Marc Lamber and the team of dedicated Phoenix auto accident attorneys at the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers prioritize helping every client to obtain justice and recover the compensation they deserve. Our lawyers have decades of combined litigation experience and offer an innovative and skilled legal approach for our clients. We conduct thorough investigations of each claim to find, gather, and preserve critical evidence to support the claims of our clients and build strong liability claims. Our attorneys work closely with experts and investigators when needed to allow us to fully understand all critical details of an accident and present the strongest possible arguments to insurance companies.
The combination of our experience, litigation skills, legal knowledge, and willingness to do the work often allows us to negotiate agreements to settle claims for maximal compensation amounts in most cases. However, when an insurance company is intransigent and refuses to fairly settle, we have the litigation experience and skills to take cases to trial and fight for our clients. Because of our reputation and lengthy successful case record, many insurance companies ultimately recognize the benefit of settling cases rather than risking a loss at trial. However, we are unafraid to fight for your rights at trial if necessary.
Your Phoenix car accident attorney at the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers will take the time to listen to your concerns and learn the facets of your accident and the losses you have suffered. We will take all necessary steps to try to recover the compensation to which you should be entitled.
Car Accidents in Arizona
As the largest city in Arizona centered in the most populous county, the Phoenix metropolitan area accounts for a majority of all of the motor vehicle collisions that happen each year. In 2021, the most recent year for which information is available, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reported that 86,687 car accidents happened in Maricopa County. Out of those, 24,283 were injury accidents that caused injuries to 35,488 people. This means that more than 28% of all of the collisions that occurred resulted in injuries.
Since Maricopa County accounts for an estimated 62% of Arizona’s total population, the fact that more accidents happen in the Valley than anywhere else is unsurprising. As Maricopa County’s and Arizona’s largest city, Phoenix accounted for nearly half of the total number of accidents in the county with 40,833. In 2021, 16,079 people sustained injuries and 294 were killed in Phoenix car crashes alone.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a large study to investigate the primary causes of motor vehicle collisions. In the Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study, researchers found that driver error was a contributing factor in 94% of the accidents that occurred. When people are injured or killed in car accidents in Phoenix because of the negligent or reckless actions of others, the people who are injured and the families of those who are killed are entitled to pursue compensation by filing injury lawsuits against the at-fault parties. Injury and wrongful death claims following auto collisions might allow the victims and surviving family members of those who are killed to hold the negligent parties accountable and achieve justice while recovering full compensation for their losses. Working with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer at the Phoenix law firm of the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers might greatly increase the chance that you will recover full compensation for all of your economic and non-economic losses that were caused by the negligent acts of the at-fault party.
Steps to Take Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
During the aftermath of a serious car crash, most people are dazed and unsure of what to do. If you’re dealing with injuries, it can be even more difficult to handle the situation appropriately. There are certain steps that all accident victims should try to take to protect their health and their right to pursue the compensation they deserve.
1. Stop Your Vehicle and Stay at the Accident Scene
When an Arizona motorist is involved in a car crash, they are legally required to stop at the accident scene and exchange information with the other involved party under ARS § 28-663, including their name, address, contact information, and vehicle registration number. They must also provide their driver’s license information if asked. While the statute doesn’t mandate it, ask for the other driver’s insurance information. If someone is injured, a motorist must provide reasonable medical help if requested or when it’s obviously needed.
Leaving the scene of an accident carries different penalties based on the circumstances as follows:
- Failing to provide the other motorist with name, address, and registration – Class 1 misdemeanor – ARS 28-663(1),(2)
- Failing to provide reasonable medical assistance to an injured victim when asked or when it’s obviously needed – Class 6 felony – ARS 28-663(3)
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a non-serious injury – Class 5 felony – ARS 28-661(D)
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death when the fleeing motorist was not at fault – Class 3 felony – ARS 28-661(C)
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death when the fleeing motorist was at fault- Class 2 felony – ARS 28-661(C)
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage only – Class 1 misdemeanor – ARS 28-662
Even if you were not at fault for causing an accident that resulted in serious injury or death to someone else, you could face a minimum prison sentence of 2.75 years up to a maximum sentence of seven years under ARS 13-702.
This information should show you why it is important to stop and comply with your legal obligations after a car accident, regardless of whether or not you are at fault. If your vehicle came to a rest in an unsafe location that impedes traffic, move it to the nearest safe place to the accident scene. For example, if your vehicle is directly in the traffic lane, move it to the shoulder.
2. Call 911
Following a crash, you should call 911 to report your accident. Under ARS 28-667, law enforcement officers in Arizona are required to respond to any accident involving injuries, deaths, or property damage above $2,000. Police officers must write accident reports at the scene of the accident or within 24 hours after they complete their investigations.
When the police arrive, they will conduct a preliminary investigation and interview both the people who were involved in the accident and any witnesses who saw what happened. Stick to the facts when you talk to the police. Tell them what you remember happening in the moments just before, during, and after the collision. Ask the investigating officer for their name and where you can get a copy of the report.
3. Watch What You Say
Many people feel an immediate need to apologize following an accident. Resist this urge. Don’t apologize or accept blame. If you do, the words you say can come back to haunt you later when you file an accident claim. Remain calm when you talk to the other driver and simply ask for their information and provide them with yours. If the other driver is belligerent, get back in your vehicle and wait for the police to arrive with your windows rolled up and doors locked.
You should also be careful when speaking to the officer. Calmly tell them what happened without speculating about the fault. Something could have occurred that is not immediately apparent. Again, don’t accept blame or apologize.
Finally, if the officer asks you if you were injured, don’t say that you weren’t. You should instead tell the officer that you want to get evaluated by your doctor even if you think you are uninjured. This is because many people experienced delayed symptoms following car crashes because of the surge of adrenaline their bodies release during and after the collision. Adrenaline can mask pain signals, and you might have injuries you don’t immediately notice. If you deny that you were injured at the accident scene, the insurance company will use your statement against you after you file your claim.
4. Take Photographs and Video
Most people have smartphones with excellent cameras. If you can move following your crash, use your smartphone to take as many pictures as possible at the scene of your crash. Videoing the scene is also a good idea. Photographs and videos can provide crucial evidence in a car accident case.
Photograph the involved vehicles, how they came to rest following the collision, their positions, the damage to each car, and any crash debris left around the accident scene. Take pictures of other important details, including tire skid marks, road conditions, weather conditions, any visual obstructions, intersections, traffic control devices, speed limit signs, and anything else you believe might be relevant. Photograph the other driver’s license plate number, make, and model. Take more pictures than you might think are necessary.
5. Talk to Witnesses
If someone saw your collision, ask for their name, address, phone number, and email address so that they can be contacted later. Ask them to wait to tell the police what they saw. If they can’t wait, ask if the witness would be willing for you to record them describing what they saw, and record their statement on your smartphone. Getting witness statements right after a collision can be helpful since people can begin to forget important details as time passes.
Witness statements are also important evidence for insurance companies and juries. This is because a third-party witness is neutral and not biased in favor of one driver over another.
6. See a Doctor
If you suffered obvious injuries, accept a ride from the ambulance to the hospital from the accident scene. The paramedics and emergency medical technicians on board can provide you with immediate medical assistance and help stabilize your injuries on the way. If you think your injuries are relatively minor, or you are unsure whether you were injured, you should still see a doctor immediately. If your doctor is unavailable, go to an urgent care center to get a medical examination.
The following accident injuries might not show immediate symptoms but could still be serious:
- Concussions/traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Back injuries
- Disc herniations
- Strains and sprains
If you don’t seek medical care immediately, your injuries could rapidly worsen.
Getting immediate medical attention is important for protecting your health and improving your ability to fully recover. It is also crucial for proving your accident claim. If you wait for days or weeks to see a doctor following your car crash, the insurance company will likely argue that your injuries were caused by an intervening event rather than your car crash. Getting immediate medical attention and following all of the recommendations your doctor gives you helps to show a causal link between your accident and injuries. It also helps to show the severity of your injuries and the types of care you will need in the future.
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FAQs: Car Accidents Lawyer Phoenix
Car accidents can be devastating. If you are involved in an accident, you might suffer a personal injury or lose a loved one.
When another individual or entity causes an accident, you may have the right to recover compensation for your losses. However, many people are confused by the claims process and have questions about what they might expect. Here are some frequently asked questions about car accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death.
Q: Who will be responsible for paying my medical bills? What do I do with the bills that I receive?
A: It is common for people to incur substantial medical expenses following accidents. You might be left facing mounting medical bills combined with income losses, causing your financial circumstances to be impacted. Who will be responsible for paying your medical bills when you have been injured in an accident will depend on whether you were at fault or if another driver or party was at fault for your accident. If you were at fault, your own medical insurance will pay for your medical bills. In that case, you will be responsible for paying your deductibles and copays. If another party was at fault, his or her insurance company will be responsible for paying your medical expenses out of the bodily injury coverage on the policy.
If you have an accident with an uninsured motorist, you can submit your medical expenses to your own uninsured motorists/uninsured motorists coverage through your own policy as long as you have it. Since the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy will not pay damages for your medical expenses until your claim is resolved, you will not need to do anything about your medical bills when you receive them. Your accident attorney in Phoenix can talk to your doctors about your claim. In most cases, doctors will agree to wait for payment until your claim is resolved. You can also submit the medical expenses to your own health insurance company for payment. Your company can then go after the at-fault party’s insurance company for recovery of its expenditures once your claim is resolved.
Q: What happens when my accident was caused by a defective part instead of a driver?
A: Some accidents are caused by defective components instead of through the fault of either driver. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a defective part on your car or on the car of another driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of the defective component under a legal theory called products liability. Designers, manufacturers, distributors, and others who are responsible for bringing defective products to the market may be liable under a products liability theory as long as you were using the product as it was intended and were injured as a result of its defect. Some common examples of defective parts that have resulted in injuries and fatalities include defective airbags, defective tires, defective steering, defective brakes, and others.
Q: I was hit by a commercial truck. Who is responsible?
A: In a trucking accident that is caused by a commercial truck, multiple parties may hold liability. In addition to the truck driver, the driver’s employer may also be liable. Trucking carriers are vicariously liable for the negligence of their drivers, meaning that the carrier will likely be responsible for paying damages since it will have a liability policy with much higher limits. Truck drivers and trucking carriers are not the only potentially liable parties, however. Depending on what happened, multiple parties could have contributed to the accident. These parties might include the parties who were responsible for maintaining and repairing the truck, the distribution companies that loaded and secured the truck, municipalities, and contractors that are responsible for maintaining the roads, truck leasing companies, and others. Your attorney at Lamber Goodnow will conduct an in-depth investigation so that he or she can identify all of the parties that might hold liability for your accident. Identifying and naming all of the potentially liable parties can provide you with more sources of recovery so that you might recover enough compensation to cover your losses.
Q: Can anyone be sued if they are responsible for causing an accident that killed someone?
A: Historically, the ability to recover compensation for injuries ended when someone was killed. This meant that families could not recover damages from the parties who were responsible for causing their loved ones’ deaths. The Arizona Legislature recognized this as inherently unfair and unconscionable. As a result, they enacted a statutory right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. Under A.R.S. § 12-611, people who would have held liability under a theory of tort law if the person had remained alive can still be sued for wrongful death. Wrongful death cases may be filed when a person’s death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of other people or entities.
Q: Who can sue if someone was killed in an accident?
A: The law limits the parties who can file lawsuits for wrongful death. Under A.R.S. § 12-612, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the surviving spouse of the decedent, the children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, the decedent’s parents if the decedent was unmarried and had no children, the siblings, the grandparents, or the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. When they are filed by the personal representative or executive of the estate, the proceeds from any settlement or award will be for the benefit of the estate’s beneficiaries or the decedent’s heirs.
Q: What damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?
A: The particular amounts that might be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the facts and circumstances of what occurred. Similar to injury claims, the potential damages can be divided into categories of damages called general damages and special damages. Special damages are monetary amounts to compensate the family members for their actual economic losses from the loss of their loved one. These might include the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses incurred for caring for your loved one until he or she succumbed to his or her injuries
- Your loved one’s past lost income and future income losses based on a life expectancy chart, your loved one’s education and career, and his or her future earnings potential
- Loss of the value of the contributions through services that a non-working spouse made to the home and family
- Your loved one’s lost rights to an inheritance
- Property losses
General damages are damages that are more intangible. In a wrongful death case, these might include the following:
- Pain and suffering that your loved one experienced after his or her injury up until he or she died
- Your emotional trauma experienced from seeing your loved one die
- Your grief
- Loss of consortium for spouses
- Loss of guidance for children
Punitive damages are generally not recoverable in wrongful death cases.
Q: Will the damages that I receive in a wrongful death lawsuit be subject to the debts of my loved one?
A: Whether the proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit may be reached by the creditors of your loved one will depend on the party who brings it. Under A.R.S. § 12-613, proceeds from wrongful death claims cannot be used to pay the debts of a decedent when the lawsuits are brought by and for the immediate family members of the decedent. However, when the claim is brought by the personal representative for the estate, the proceeds will go to the estate. The creditors are then allowed to file claims against the estate to recover the money that they are owed.
Q: My child was injured. Can he or she sue?
A: Under Arizona law, minors do not have the legal capacity to file lawsuits on their own. However, a parent or legal guardian of an injured minor can file a lawsuit on behalf of him or her under A.R.S. § 12-541. If a parent or guardian does not file a lawsuit on the minor’s behalf within the normal statute of limitations, the statute of limitations will be tolled until the minor reaches the age of majority. He or she will then be able to file a lawsuit within the prescribed statutory time period after he or she turns 18 years old. If the parents or guardians fail to file a lawsuit on behalf of the minor, and the minor fails to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf after he or she turns 18, the potential claim will be time-barred. This means that the child will lose the ability to recover compensation for his or her injuries and losses that resulted from the accident.
Q: How are settlements for minors handled?
A: Because of the unique position that minors have, the courts of Arizona treat proposed settlements differently for minors. The courts want to make certain that the settlements are fair to the minors and that the money that is received will not be wasted by the minor’s parents, guardian, or by the minor himself or herself. Under 17B A.R.S. Rules Prob. Proc. Rule 37, when a settlement offer is proposed for a minor that the minor and his or her parents or guardian think is fair, the proposed settlement must be submitted to the probate court for a review. The probate judge will review the settlement and the evidence in the case to make a determination of whether or not the settlement should be approved. If the court does not approve of the proposed settlement, the parties will need to continue negotiating in an effort to reach a better settlement agreement that will be approved.
After a minor’s settlement offer is approved or after a verdict is awarded in favor of a minor by a jury, the money is not paid directly to the parents. Instead, a guardian will be appointed by the probate court to manage the money for the minor. The money will be held in a trust account, and each expenditure that is paid from the account will have to be requested and will have to be used to pay for approved expenses. Once the minor reaches the age of majority, he or she will receive access to the money in the account.
Q: What are punitive damages? Can I get them?
A: Punitive damages are not compensatory damages. This means that they are not damages that are meant to compensate you for your economic and noneconomic losses. Instead, punitive damages are monetary amounts that the defendant must pay in addition to your compensatory damages. These types of damages are meant to punish defendants for their wrongful actions in order to deter both them and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Because of the unique nature of punitive damages, they are rarely awarded. These types of damages are reserved for cases in which the defendants’ actions were very egregious or outrageous. Types of accidents in which they might be available might include drunk driving accidents that result in severe and catastrophic injuries or cases involving homicide by vehicle with a DUI, for example. Unless the defendant’s conduct was very outrageous, intentional, or reckless, it is unlikely that punitive damages will be available in your case. Your auto accident attorney in Phoenix at Lamber Goodnow can review your potential claim and advise you about whether they might be an option for you.
Insurance Company Tactics
Dealing with an insurance company following a car crash can be difficult for most people. If you are attempting to handle your claim while also recovering from injuries, trying to talk to an insurance company can be both frustrating and overwhelming.
Arizona is a fault-based state for car accidents. This means that you will file your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. In at-fault states, the party that caused the collision is responsible for paying damages. This generally means that the at-fault party’s insurance company will have to pay your injury and property damage claims.
Like other for-profit companies, insurers are in business to make as much money as they can. They are motivated to protect their bottom line by reducing how much they might be forced to pay out in claims. As a result, many insurance companies and the adjusters they employ use a variety of tactics when dealing with accident victims.
Remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurer and not for you. Regardless of how nice and compassionate the adjuster might seem, remember that their loyalties do not lie with you.
Avoid doing the following things when you are contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company or adjuster:
- Talking about your injuries and their severity
- Agreeing for the insurance adjuster to record your statement
- Signing a medical authorization to allow the insurance company to access your medical records
- Accepting an early settlement offer
When the at-fault insurance company contacts you, they might act like you are required to speak to them. However, remember that you do not have a policy with the other driver’s insurance company and have no contractual obligation to talk about your case or your injuries with them. Be polite, but tell the adjuster or other insurance company representative that you want to talk to a Phoenix car accident lawyer at the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers before you will make any statements.
Don’t agree to sign a medical authorization for the other driver’s insurance company. While the representative might tell you that it needs access to your medical records to confirm the nature and severity of your injuries before it can process your claim, the reality is that insurance companies use medical authorizations to dig through the entire medical histories of accident victims to try to find another incident or underlying condition on which to blame their injuries. Once you retain a Phoenix car accident attorney, your lawyer can identify the relevant records and provide them to the company for you.
Finally, never accept the initial settlement offer you receive without talking to an attorney at the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers. Insurance companies know that accident victims are often contending with rapidly increasing medical bills combined with income losses, and the companies try to take advantage of them while they are struggling. As a result, early settlement offers are typically lowball offers that are insufficient to cover all of the victim’s losses.
Arizona Insurance Requirements and Issues
The Arizona Legislature increased the minimum liability coverage requirements in Arizona because they recognized that the previous limits were not enough to cover the losses many people suffer in collisions. Under ARS 28-4009, people in Arizona are required to carry liability coverage with at least the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000 in bodily injury/death for one person
- $50,000 bodily injury/death for two or more people
- $15,000 property damage coverage
While these minimum liability amounts are an improvement over the requirements that previously existed, they are still inadequate for many injury or fatality collisions. If you were injured in an accident with someone who only had the required minimum liability coverage, this means that you could be left without an adequate source of recovery for your losses.
This is a good reason to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is additional coverage that can be added onto your auto insurance policy and will kick in to provide coverage for you if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. In the case of an underinsured motorist, the at-fault party’s insurance company will be responsible for paying your damages up to the policy limits. Your UM/UIM policy will then kick in to pay up to its policy limits for the amounts by which your losses exceeded the other driver’s policy limits.
Your Phoenix car accident lawyer will also investigate to look for other potential sources of recovery to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available for your losses.
Consult a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney Today
Facing an unknown future after a serious car crash can be overwhelming. If your injuries were caused by another motorist’s negligent or reckless conduct, you should reach out to the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers in Phoenix today. We offer free consultations and can provide you with a confidential, honest assessment of the merits of your case and the legal remedies that might be available.
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440+ 5 Star Reviews
"My wife and I had occasion to use Mr. Lamber and his staff for a legal matter. The entire staff was wonderful. They kept us informed of every step and communicated quickly and effectively as things changed or progressed. We would highly recommend Mr. Lamber and his staff to anyone needing legal advice or assistance. They had a very high level of integrity and professionalism. It's too bad there are only 5 stars for their rating. They are excellent."
"I just got rear-ended today, but I'm thankful I found this firm. They take care of you in general, and if you don't make enough to cover your costs, they back you up 100%. Stephanie Ramos gave excellent and kind customer service by getting me in motion with the whole process. Attorney Donn Coolidge gave me the rundown of the situation very clearly, and I'm looking forward to working with him. I fully recommend this firm!"
Jonathan Carrillo Lopez
"This law firm is amazing, Marc and Jenny handled my auto accident for me. Excellent communication, they did a thorough job of handling all the details, and helped me with everything. I really appreciated their care and dedication, and I am happy all has been settled and resolved. I would definitely recommend them, and use if needed again in the future. Thanks again Jenny and Marc I appreciate y'all!"
2394 E Camelback Rd #600
Phoenix, AZ 85016