According to the latest data from the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT), a total of 40,833 automobile crashes occurred in Phoenix, AZ in 2021.
Were you recently injured in an accident in the Valley of the Sun? If so, you need an experienced accident lawyer by your side as you take your next steps. The right attorney can help you connect with the right people, complete the required documentation, and fight to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve.
Not sure if you need one? Here are 10 signs it’s time to call your accident lawyer today.
1. You Were Injured in the Accident
Did you suffer any type of injury as a result of the auto accident? If so, you will need compensation to help you cover the cost of your recovery. In addition to your physician visits, other types of medical expenses you may incur can include:
- Prescription medications
- Specialty services (X-rays, lab testing)
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages during your recovery period
Some accidents will be more severe and physically damaging than others. For instance, while a minor collision might result in pain and suffering, a major one could lead to:
- Permanent disability
- Temporary disability
- Severe or catastrophic injury
Even if you don’t notice any apparent physical injuries immediately following your accident, it’s still a good idea to get checked out by a physician. There are some types of injuries, including soft-tissue ones like whiplash, that take a little while to set in. You might feel OK the day of the accident, but notice that your neck and shoulders are sore a few days later.
While your insurance may help pay for these costs, it might not be enough to cover the extent of your expenses. An attorney can work with the insurance company to ensure you receive a settlement that’s large enough to meet your needs.
2. There Was a Fatality
Any time a car accident leads to an untimely death, it’s critical to seek justice. While you could press ahead on your own without legal counsel, an experienced lawyer will know how to gather evidence to help prove your case and bring the at-fault party to justice.
In situations like these, time is of the essence. You will need to take immediate action to make sure all evidence is properly preserved and the accident scene is carefully investigated. In addition, you may also need to capture witness accounts as quickly as possible, while the details are still fresh in their minds.
An attorney can walk you through all of these steps. They will be closely familiar with car accident law in Arizona, and they will ensure all documents are filed by the appropriate timelines. In the event of a wrongful death suit, they can also work with your loved one’s physician to request medical records and other key data to support your case.
3. You Need to Prove Negligence
In some car accidents, the fault is relatively straightforward to prove. Other times, it isn’t as clear-cut. While you can benefit from an accident lawyer in both cases, it’s especially important to hire one when the concept of fault is contested.
Arizona is an at-fault state, which is also called a tort state. This means that the driver or party who is at fault for causing the accident is responsible for paying for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and other losses.
Even if you were responsible for causing some portion of the crash, you could still recoup damages due to Arizona’s pure contributory negligence system. However, the amount of compensation that you receive will be reduced by your portion of responsibility. For example, if you’re found to be 30% at fault for the accident, then you will receive 70% of the compensation you could claim.
As you can imagine, these settlements can go a long way toward helping you heal, move forward, and get back on the road. Yet, to claim this compensation, you must be able to prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident. This is where things can get a little tricky.
Your lawyer will know what critical evidence to preserve and collect to support your claim. In addition to conducting an in-depth investigation, they may also perform the following actions:
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Review police records
- Analyze medical records
They’ll apply their legal knowledge, experience, and connections to help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver. This way, negligence is easier to prove and you’re more likely to receive an appropriate settlement.
4. It’s Difficult to Communicate With the Insurance Agency
Insurance is a complex subject. It’s great to have it when you need it, and auto liability insurance is required by law in Arizona. However, if you’ve ever tried to work with an insurance agent to process a claim, then you know that the steps don’t always go as planned.
Even if you enter the conversation with a ton of evidence, statements, and supporting details, the insurance company could still offer you a settlement that’s less than what you need and deserve. In some cases, they may deny your claim altogether.
What’s more, they may even try to manipulate you into saying something that could work against you down the road. For instance, if you express any doubt about who the at-fault party was, they could record that and use it to prove that you were at least partially responsible.
When you hire a lawyer, you don’t have to worry as much about the claims process. They’ll know exactly how to communicate with the insurance company, and they’ll work to get you the settlement you need. If the offer isn’t adequate and the agents aren’t willing to raise it, they can even take your case to trial and represent you in court.
You deserve to heal physically and emotionally after a car accident, and you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress that an insurance call can bring. Let a lawyer take the reins and reclaim your mental health.
5. You’re Not Sure Your Offer Is Good
Let’s say you braved the insurance company and made the call anyway. You explained what happened and went through all the details. Then, they came back to you with a proposed settlement offer.
Now, you’re stuck.
You don’t know if the offer is a good one or not, and you’re ready to just accept so you can move on from the whole situation. The only problem? You still have a mountain of medical bills and car repairs to cover, as well as lost wages from the time you’ve taken off work.
Before you sign on that dotted line and accept the offer, call your lawyer first. They’ll have experience working on claims just like yours, and they can tell you whether or not the insurance company is giving you a good deal. In addition to the present charges you’re facing, they’ll also consider your past and future expenses when calculating a fair value for your case.
6. The Accident Affected Multiple Parties
Were you involved in a multi-vehicle collision? By nature, these types of accidents are more complex and difficult to process than a two-car crash.
Specifically, it can be harder to prove fault when there are so many people involved. It will be even more important to understand exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. In addition to contacting eyewitnesses and combing through the police report, your lawyer may also hire an accident reconstruction expert to simulate the scene of the accident and help determine fault.
An accident reconstruction is essentially a mock accident that seeks to replicate what happened on the day of the crash. This process helps your lawyer and other stakeholders understand the various circumstances, mechanics, and contributing factors that led to the collision.
This is just one of the ways your lawyer can help prove fault, though it can be immensely helpful in situations where multiple parties are involved and affected. Trying to navigate these steps on your own can be complicated, and leaves a great deal of room for user error.
7. A Government Entity Was Involved
Most traffic collisions occur between two common motorists. However, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, an accident can involve a government entity. When it does, the case automatically becomes more complex. Examples of this situation include:
- Getting in an accident due to road construction
- Getting in an accident with a government-owned vehicle (e.g. a work truck or school bus)
- Getting in an accident due to missing or malfunctioning stoplights or street signs
When you’re going up against the government, the most difficult aspects to maneuver are the timelines. Often, these cases must be resolved quicker than others because the timeline to preserve a claim is shorter. According to ARS 12-821.01, anyone who is injured by a government employee must file a notice of claim with the responsible agency no later than 180 days after the accident occurs.
In contrast, the Arizona statute of limitations usually gives you two years from your Phoenix car accident to file a claim for your injuries against the at-fault driver and other responsible parties. In addition to making you work more quickly, a government-related accident may also require you to recover fewer damages because these claims often have caps on recovery.
You’ll need to hire an accident lawyer to make sure the process is handled correctly, especially when the accident involved any type of government party.
8. You’re Considering Going to Trial
Every time you initiate a car accident claim, it has the potential to go to trial. For instance, this would occur if the insurance agency refuses to offer a higher settlement than the one you need. However, most cases are settled outside of court.
If you’re stuck with a too-low offer and you want to pursue legal action, contact an accident attorney first. They know what you’re up against, and they’ll be by your side every step of the way.
For instance, they know that before going to trial, insurance companies will take the same action. They’ll hire solid defense teams full of expert, experienced lawyers who will represent the at-fault party. You deserve to make sure your rights are upheld at every turn, and your lawyer will make sure that happens.
9. You Can’t Dedicate a Ton of Time to Your Case
After an accident occurs, a personal injury case can take a long time to complete. There are many steps and touchpoints involved, from getting medical care and contacting witnesses to communicating with the insurance company and completing important documents.
This process can be a lot for anyone to handle, but it can feel nearly impossible when you’re in the middle of recovering. You deserve to take as long as you need to get better, and you shouldn’t feel rushed at any point. By trusting a reputable accident lawyer with all of the steps moving forward, you can eliminate a substantial amount of stress and anxiety from your plate.
10. You Want to Maximize Your Compensation
If you suffer damages in a car accident in Phoenix, you deserve to be compensated to the full extent that Arizona state law allows. You don’t have to settle for a settlement from the insurance company if it doesn’t cover all of your needs. A lawyer will make sure that your compensation is large enough to cover all of your past, current, and future damages, as well as any pain and suffering you experience.
Contact an Accident Lawyer Today
These are only a few of the ways a qualified, experienced lawyer can help you in the aftermath of a car accident. These next steps might feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to take them alone.
Our team at Sweet Lawyers is ready to handle every part of your case, from start to finish. We’ll fight for your rights, defend your interests, and make sure you receive the payout you deserve. If you need an accident lawyer, reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation!