After being involved in a Phoenix car accident, you probably have a ton of questions running through your head. Should you seek help from an attorney? Can you handle the claim on your own? Are your injuries serious enough to justify a claim? It can all be confusing and a lot to deal with right after the shock of being involved in a car accident. This article will outline the circumstances under which you should hire a Phoenix car accident lawyer so you can easily understand if your situation justifies contacting an attorney.
You should contact a personal injury attorney if…
You Suffered Serious InjuriesIf you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and you suffered obvious injuries, then chances are you need to hire a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. The reason you need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you suffered injury has to do with the complications of getting properly reimbursed for medical treatment, lost wages, and other costs that injuries can create.
Arizona is an “at-fault” state, which means at least one driver will be held responsible for the accident. Since Arizona’s insurance laws are set up this way, there is no guaranteed medical coverage, like there is in states that require personal injury protection coverage or medical payments coverage. Because medical payments, missed time from work, other expenses are definitely going to begin adding up when you are injured, having legal representation is the best way to ensure you are not stuck paying those bills on your own.
The Insurance Company Wants to Settle QuicklyIf you’ve suffered injuries because of another driver, that party’s insurance company has a major incentive to settle with you quickly. A quick settlement usually means the insurance company is trying to get away with undervaluing your claim. The company wants to lock you into an agreement before you realize the full extent of the damages. This is one reason why it’s best to avoid speaking with the opposing insurance company directly. Having your car accident attorney handle these negotiations will protect you from a lowball offer that leaves you with mounting medical bills long after you accepted the quick cash.
The Insurance Company Denied Your ClaimIn order to save themselves the expense, insurance companies may altogether deny that their policyholder is at fault. They might even attempt to shift the blame onto you. Any statement you provide could be reframed to make you appear liable. When an insurance company flat-out denies a claim, it does not necessarily mean that you do not have a valid case. Most of the time it just means that they think they can get away with underpaying for your injuries.
Your Damages Include More Than Just Medical BillsInjuries often mean that car accident victims have to take time away from work. In some situations, there are several weeks of lost wages. When injuries are particularly devastating, these lost wages can amount to months or years worth of wages.
Car accidents can also cause significant pain and suffering, which is a legitimate category of damages that deserves compensation. You may have to make significant changes to your lifestyle or deal with chronic severe physical pain and the turmoil of a long rehab. For these personal losses and suffering, it is possible to collect pain and suffering compensation.
If your case involves more damages than just minor medical bills, this is a clear indication that an attorney will be valuable in getting you the compensation that you deserve. Further, once there is a fair settlement offer, injury lawyers are very good at negotiating to reduce the amount of your medical bills. Here, the attorney’s objective is putting more money in your pocket.
Multiple Parties May Have Caused the AccidentBecause Arizona has a doctrine of comparative negligence, you can recover compensation after a car accident even if you are partially at-fault. Varying degrees of fault can be assigned to you and the other driver(s). In situations of comparative negligence, your compensation is reduced by the degree of fault you’re assigned. For instance, say your damages are $100,000 and you are 20% at-fault. You can collect $80,000, or 80% of the damages. Also, your insurance could be liable for 20% of the other party’s damages.
If multiple parties are involved, things can become complicated quickly and you may be the one that gets the short end of the stick. If your motor vehicle accident involved multiple other drivers, like in a pileup scenario or change reaction incident, you should definitely contact a car accident attorney ASAP.
The Accident Has Complex Elements
- Was the accident caused by an individual in a work vehicle?
Accidents involving work vehicles aren’t always straightforward because of all the entities involved. Before a commercial vehicle even hits the road, a defective part can make it unsafe. That means the manufacturer may be liable for an accident. Or, for example, improper maintenance may be the cause of the accident. That could be the business’ fault or the company they pay to do vehicle maintenance. In these situations, discovering the true cause of an accident requires a thorough investigation and an experienced attorney on your side.
- Was the accident caused by an individual who was driving drunk?
When a drunk driver causes an accident and injuries, not only does it call into question civil issues, but criminal issues as well. There is also the question of multiple liable parties in drunk driving accidents as well. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses that sell alcohol are prohibited from selling to visibly intoxicated patrons. In addition, there are limits on the quantity of alcohol businesses can sell and limits on the time of day they can provide it. If you’re injured by a drunk driver, the establishment that served the driver could also be a liable party if that business violated any alcohol laws. This concept is known as dram shop liability.
- Was the accident caused by an individual who was being aggressive or deliberately reckless?
In many circumstances, drivers split degrees of fault after an accident. However, if drivers intentionally cause harm, they aren’t eligible to collect compensation from the other insurance company. A lawyer can help to demonstrate the other driver’s recklessness or road rage and prevent you from being found partially responsible.
- Was the accident caused by an individual who was working for a rideshare company?
If your accident was caused by a person working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, getting compensation is much more complicated. There are specific rules and policies that apply if the person had their app on or not, or if they had a passenger in the vehicle or were on the way to pick up a fare. This type of claim can quickly become a back-and-forth argument that requires the expertise of an attorney to represent your best interests.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Attorney TodayIf you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to another party’s negligence, the attorneys at Abels & Annes can help you to recover compensation for your damages. Our detailed accident investigations and no-nonsense approach with insurance companies are designed to get our clients maximum compensation while they focus on recovery. For a free consultation, contact us today at (602) 819-5191 or by using our online form.