Famed for its natural beauty, Phoenix is one of the most scenic places to take a drive. But going for a drive can be just as dangerous as it is beautiful. In 2019 alone, there were 129,750 car accidents in Arizona. Over 35% of those accidents took place in Phoenix. While driving defensively does reduce your risks, anyone can be put in harm’s way because of a negligent driver. If you are involved in a car accident, knowing the answers to these common questions can help you navigate the aftermath more seamlessly.
What Happens if the Negligent Driver is Uninsured?
In Arizona, drivers are required by law to have basic insurance coverage for bodily injury, death, and property damage. Unfortunately, there are drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel without any insurance at all.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can make a claim with your own insurance company under your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage. You also have the option to pursue a case against the driver directly. With that said, oftentimes drivers who can’t afford to maintain insurance are also unlikely to have the means to compensate you.
Because of this, we always recommend drivers to pay the extra premium for uninsured coverage. If you get into a car accident, and you probably will, you will be glad you have it.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident Claim in Phoenix?
A statute of limitations is a law that outlines the period of time one has to bring legal action against another party. Basically, it is a time limit for how long you have to file. This is to prevent someone from suing somebody for an accident many years later.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the car accident in most cases. If the victim is a minor at the time of the accident, the two-year period begins at age 18. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a public entity, you only have 180 days to file proper notice against that entity. Due to these time limits, it is best to consult with an accident attorney as soon as practicable.
What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Phoenix?
Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents not only in Phoenix, but across the entire state of Arizona. It was a contributing factor to 33% of Arizona car accidents in 2018.
Distracted driving is another widespread cause of car accidents. Arizona is among the growing number of states that has prohibited handheld calls as well as texting and driving. Despite the ban, a quick glance from your window will show you that there are many drivers with their eyes on their devices instead of on the road.
Failure to yield also leads to collisions which is common at traffic signals. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are even more prone to ignoring traffic laws.
What are the Most Common Injuries Suffered Because of Car Accidents?
Any part of the human body can sustain an injury in a car accident because the sheer force involved. Soft tissue damages are common, including whiplash, which is cited in over 65% of bodily injury claims.
Broken bones, bruises, and road fractures are also very common. Some fractures require surgery to repair.
In especially devastating accidents, victims can become crushed under the weight of a vehicle or severely burned by smoke or explosions, which can lead to amputations, scarring, and other permanent disfigurements. However, even seemingly minor accidents can result in serious, long term medical problems like traumatic brain injuries.
Of course, some of the most serious car accidents—nearly 1,000 each year in Arizona—result in death.
When should I Report My Car Accident to My Insurance Company?
You should report an accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. In fact, it is probably a requirement of your insurance policy. Also, it can help to get the ball rolling with any necessary vehicle repairs. Whenever possible, have your attorney report the accident to your carrier on your behalf.
Be careful not to admit any fault or to give them more information than they need until you speak to a personal injury attorney.
Do I Need to File a Police Report?
Yes, you should always file a police report. Having a police report will help you to protect yourself against potential accusations from the other party. If you need to file a claim for compensation, the police report will serve as evidence as well. A police report can strengthen your case in many circumstances
How Much Compensation Should I Expect?
The amount of compensation you’re entitled to will vary depending on your damages. This includes the severity of your physical injuries, the cost of your medical bills, if you suffered any pain and suffering, and how much you’ve lost in wages, among others. Injuries that require lengthy periods of recovery or involve complicated injuries often have larger settlements because victims need more complicated medical procedures, endure more pain and suffering, and miss more work. Similarly, permanent injuries garner more compensation than healable ones because the injured parties will be managing their ailments for a lifetime.
Do I Need any Attorney to Handle My Case?
You do not need a car accident attorney to handle any little crash you get in. But if you are involved in a car accident that results in injuries, it is best to get legal representation. Insurance companies are the ones who pay out settlements a majority of the time, and you better bet that they do everything they can to limit those payouts. Because of this, it is best to have someone fighting on your behalf to get you the fair compensation you need to recover. If you are unsure whether you need an attorney, most personal injury attorneys offer a free no-obligation consultation. During this meeting, they can help you to understand your options and how a personal injury case works so you are best informed.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident in Phoenix, you probably have a lot of questions. It is perfectly normal considering most people don’t deal with them very often. At Abels & Annes, we are happy to help in any way we can and to help you answer your questions. We will protect your best interests and we won’t rest until we’ve reached maximum compensation on your behalf. For a free consultation, contact us online or by phone at (602) 819-5191.