One of the questions we frequently get from clients who were injured in a car accident is “how much can I expect to receive from a personal injury lawsuit?”. There is no simple answer to this because every case is different. Arizona is an at-fault state; this means you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financially after an accident.
Car Accident Compensation Facts
- Comparative Negligence and Statutes of Limitations
There are two important statutes you must be aware of before filing a personal injury after an Arizona car accident. The first is the statutes of limitations which limits the amount of time which you can file a lawsuit. Victims may file a personal injury suit for up to two years after they have knowledge of an injury; unless the at-fault driver was operating a government vehicle in which case a formal claim must be filed within six months, and a lawsuit filed within one year.
Comparative negligence is going to be used by the attorney representing the person who was responsible for your injuries. Simply put, they are going to try to prove you were at least partially at fault for your injuries. You might be wondering how you can be partially at fault for an accident caused by someone else – consider this: if you are struck by a drunk driver you may feel the driver was clearly at fault. However, if you suddenly put on your brakes, were on your cell phone at the time of the collision, or you were going above or below the speed limit, the at-fault driver’s insurance company attorney may try to show you were partially at fault. Should they be able to demonstrate this, your final cash award may be reduced by the percentage; this means if you are awarded $200,000 and the attorney is able to prove you were 10 percent at fault, your award will be reduced to $180,000.
- Types of Compensation in Arizona Car Accidents
Compensation after an Arizona car accident is defined by two distinct categories. The first is economic damages. These damages are those that are easy to attach a dollar amount to such as damage to your car, medical bills, lost wages, and other out of pocket costs. Keep in mind, not only can you recover wages, and medical bills while you are recovering, you can also claim monetary damages for loss of wages, and medical care that will occur in the future as a result of your injuries. For example, if you suffered a head injury and are unable to return to work, and need additional therapy or nursing care, you can claim those losses.
Non-economic losses are more challenging primarily because they are subjective. This type of loss includes pain and suffering, disfigurement, permanent injuries, and loss of consortium for example. Your Arizona car accident attorney can help you understand these types of losses more completely.
- Following a Car Accident
The most important step you can take after being involved in a car accident is to seek medical attention. Remember, even if you do believe you have suffered an injury, it is possible the rush of adrenaline following an accident is masking pain. Oftentimes, back injuries, deep muscle injuries, and head injuries do not manifest for days, weeks, or even months after an accident. Contact a doctor immediately for an evaluation.
In addition to seeking medical attention, you also want to make sure you have as much information at your disposal as possible. Ask for witness contact information, immediately have someone take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, and when possible, take photos of the scene. Traffic lights or signs, skid marks, weather conditions and other important details can be helpful to your Arizona car accident attorney as they are building a case for compensation.
- Contacting an Attorney
After you have sought medical attention, you should speak with an Arizona personal injury attorney who has experience handling car accidents. Discuss your case, make sure the attorney understands the losses you have suffered and determine what steps to take next. Keep in mind, in some cases, your car accident attorney can work with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve without going to court. Initially, you should file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company immediately. Chances are high the insurance company will try to make a low settlement offer; this is because they tend to ignore their responsibility to victims and instead focus on protecting their shareholders. The fewer claims paid out, the better the return for shareholders.
After a car accident, you could be victimized all over again by insurance providers; we can help. Contact one of our experienced Arizona car accident attorneys immediately after an accident. Our goal is simple: we will work as hard as possible to get you the compensation you deserve and ensure you do not suffer any financial losses due to an accident.