According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 98,778 vehicle crashes in 2020. Of those, 970 were fatal, resulting in 1,057 deaths. The total includes 28,610 crashes causing personal injury to 41,350 people.
Because Arizona is an at-fault state, the person causing an accident is responsible for paying all damages. If you suffer injuries because of someone else’s negligence, your auto accident attorney will demand you receive compensation for all losses you suffer. This includes the cost of your medical treatment, vehicle damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other associated expenses.
If you wonder what a Phoenix auto accident lawyer does or worry about the cost of hiring one, keep reading. We will show you why calling Sweet Lawyers is an essential first step when you are the victim of an auto accident.
1. Expert Negotiation Skills
Auto accident attorneys are knowledgeable about the high-pressure settlement tactics of insurance companies. The other driver’s insurance representative may call you with a settlement offer when you suffer personal injuries.
The representative may use high-pressure tactics, telling you that you will lose the opportunity if you don’t take the deal immediately. What they are doing is providing you with a low-ball offer. They hope you will settle and save their company money.
Don’t agree to any settlement without talking to a car accident lawyer. The attorney will review the offer to determine if they are providing proper compensation for your long-term prognosis.
2. Help Get Your Medical Bills Paid
Following auto accidents involving personal injuries, there are often astronomical medical bills. In the U.S., the average cost for an emergency room visit following a car accident is $3,300. If treatment includes hospitalization, the average is $57,000.
Costs can climb even more depending on the severity of injuries and length of stay. Your bills may include an ambulance, medical flight, emergency room doctors, diagnostic tests, specialists, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical equipment, and more.
Your Phoenix auto accident attorney will negotiate with the insurance company and medical providers to ensure payment of your medical bills.
3. You Heal While Attorney Litigates
Following an accident, you need time to heal from your injuries. Your attorney will negotiate and prepare your case for a lawsuit. Car accident attorneys are familiar with the statute of limitations and how it applies to auto accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death.
In Arizona, ARS §12-542 establishes a length of two years after an auto accident for a plaintiff to make a personal injury claim. If the accident involved a fatality, your attorney might also file a claim for wrongful death, which also has a two-year filing limitation.
Don’t miss the opportunity to file a lawsuit because you are suffering from an extensive recovery. Call an attorney to get the process rolling as quickly as possible.
4. Knowledge of Accident Law
Knowledge of accident law involves considerably more than determining which driver is at fault. Your car accident attorney will review the accident report and talk with you to determine the extent of the other driver’s negligence. They will look for anything that supports your claim, including intoxication, speeding, improper lane usage, or any other factor.
They will be familiar with the Arizona legal requirement for all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage and $15,000 per person of bodily injury coverage, or a minimum of $30,000 per accident. If the court determines comparative negligence, meaning both drivers contributed partly to the accident, your attorney will negotiate an appropriate settlement on your behalf.
5. Knowledge of Personal Injury Law
Car accident attorneys are familiar with negotiating settlements that include personal injury costs. They will know the legal steps necessary to subpoena medical records, locate medical experts to analyze your condition, and more.
Your attorney will file pleadings before the statute of limitations expires. They will request the maximum compensation based on your long-term prognosis. This means how long your injuries will impact your quality of life.
6. Write Pleadings
The first legal document your attorney may write is a demand letter. This is correspondence your attorney sends to the other driver’s insurance company. It notifies them that you have personal injuries from the accident and demands they perform specific steps, such as paying your medical bills.
Your attorney will determine how many counts to file when writing the complaint. The pleading must list the elements of each claim and why the other driver is responsible. For example, the elements of negligence are:
Duty—the defendant had a duty to operate their vehicle in a careful and prudent manner
Breach of Duty—the defendant breached their duty, resulting in an accident
Causation—the defendant’s actions are the direct and proximate cause of the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries
Damages—that as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty, the plaintiff is suffering damages
At the end of each count, the attorney will list the prayers for relief. This is what they are asking the court to award you in compensation.
It is important to list every element in the pleading, explaining how that element is met. Failure to meet these requirements may result in a case dismissal.
Arizona has a comparative negligence law. This means you can recover damages, even if you are 99% at fault in the accident.
A reduction is made to the damages you receive by the percentage you are at fault. For example, if you receive an award of $100,000 and you are 25% at fault, you will receive $75,000 of the award.
7. Conduct Discovery
Discovery is gathering evidence and involves much more than looking at a police record or medical file. Your attorney may issue Requests for Admission, Interrogatories, and Document Demands. They may conduct depositions of medical staff, the other driver, witnesses, and more.
Requests for admission are statements that one party asks the other party to admit or deny in writing. If the party denies the statement as untrue, they must state their reason.
Ariz.R. CivP.36 requires the admission request to be answered within 30 days. If a party fails to answer a request for admission, it is deemed true.
Interrogatories are written questions one party submits to the other. The response is in writing under oath. Interrogatories must be answered within 30 days pursuant to Ariz.R.Civ.P.33.
A demand for documents is made under Ariz.R.Civ.P.34 and designates documents, writings, drawings, photographs, or other information relative to the case. The party receiving a demand for documents must produce those items within 30 days.
As each piece of evidence arrives, your attorney will review it to build your case, negotiate a settlement, or prepare for trial.
8. Appear in Court
After filing a complaint regarding the accident, the car accident attorney must appear in court numerous times on your behalf. Pre-trial motions may require the court to resolve specific issues before trial. These may include:
- Motion in Limine—requesting the court to rule on the admissibility of specific evidence
- Change of venue—requesting a change in a court location
- Motion to compel—asking the court to order another party to take a specific action, such as respond to discovery requests
- Motion for summary judgment—asking a judge to rule on the case based on undisputed facts
The court may schedule pre-trial hearings, settlement conferences, or order the parties into mediation. Mediation is when the parties try to negotiate a resolution outside the courtroom.
The matter will proceed to trial if the parties cannot reach a settlement. Trial preparation includes filing evidence and witness lists, preparing evidence for presentation in court, preparing witnesses to testify, preparing and serving subpoenas for witnesses to appear, and more.
On the day of trial, your attorney will present opening remarks, interrogate witnesses for both parties, and present closing arguments. The judge or jury will issue a determination on the case. Your attorney will prepare a final order that sets forth the findings of the court
9. Free Consultation
Your initial meeting with an auto accident attorney is completely free of charge. They will discuss the accident with you and review any documents you have. This may include the accident report, medical records, and medical bills.
They will provide you with their legal opinion on your case and let you know what they can do for you. If you decide to hire an attorney, they will have you sign a contract that explains the contingency fee billing.
10. No Fee Unless You Win
When you hire a Phoenix auto accident attorney, you will not pay any fees unless you win your case. This means you have nothing to risk and everything to gain.
If you win your case, your attorney will provide you with an accounting explaining the expenses and fees they deducted from your settlement amount. The standard attorney fee throughout the country is 33.3% of the award.
Hire an Auto Accident Attorney Today
Sweet Lawyers is honored to be awarded “Best Attorneys of America.” We provide a 100% free, no-obligation consultation. Hire our auto accident attorneys and pay no fee unless we win.
When representing you on your personal injury claim, we will handle the property damage portion of your case for free. Our attorneys, case managers, and investigators are available 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us today at 1-800-674-7854.