In 2020, Arizona saw 967 fatal crashes and 1,054 deaths. Nationally, motor vehicle accidents accounted for 38,824, which continues to be an ongoing problem for Americans as more people start venturing out on road trips as pandemic restrictions ease.
If your or a loved one was involved in a motor vehicle accident, you need a Phoenix auto accident attorney. A skilled, licensed, and qualified car accident lawyer can help you throughout the entire process and act as a liaison between other insurance agents, your claims adjuster, and other legal entities.
If you are still wondering when you should take the next step and hire an attorney, we have you covered. In our complete guide, we have outlined eight signs you need a car accident attorney and how to find the right law firm for your case. Keep reading on for more information!
Have You Experienced a Car Accident?
When car accidents arise, the last thing that likely comes to mind is options for attorneys. After seeking medical treatment and gathering evidence, statements, and personal information, an attorney is exactly who you should be researching.
Even minor accidents can leave you with lasting injuries and emotional or financial hardship. Attorneys go beyond helping you get the most out of your settlements – they also help you file claims correctly, talk to insurance, and represent you in court if needed.
1. You Have Severe Injuries
One of the first signs you need a car accident lawyer in Phoenix is if you or a family member sustained serious injuries. Finding a “car accident lawyer in Phoenix” will help you navigate the medical bills, claims, and insurance. These cases often fall under “personal injury,” which is an event that caused physical, emotional, or psychological damage.
A car accident case often includes physical injuries. Nearly 50 million people suffer a non-fatal car accident injury annually. The most common motor vehicle injuries include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Head trauma
Some of these can cause lasting physical disabilities that limit your ability to work or live independently, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Significant orthopedic fractures
- Spinal cord injury
In addition to the sudden life change, you are often left with hefty medical bills and financial losses. However, you should also have mental health coverage if you are not at fault. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition resulting from a traumatic event or situation.
Car accidents fall under a traumatizing category and can cause lasting mental and emotional health deficits that require counseling, medication, or more invasive treatments. Competent attornies will ensure you get full coverage for your physical and mental hospital bills.
Steps To Take After a Car Accident Injury
If you have experienced an injury in a car accident, there are some immediate steps you should take after leaving the scene. With severe accidents, you or a loved one will likely be taken to the hospital via ambulance.
In some cases, shock and adrenaline can mask the extent of your initial injuries. Even if you suspect a minor injury, you should still seek immediate medical attention. Approximately one in three Americans have chronic pain.
Often, chronic and neuropathic pain onsets months after initial injuries, resulting in high medical bills and loss of quality of life. After the accident, visit a doctor or hospital. While at the scene, you must collect various information to help with your case, such as:
- Proof of negligence
- Names or contact information
- Pictures and videos
- Police report
If others witnessed the accident, try and get their information, which can help dispute cases where you may be the one blamed. Working with a personal injury and car accident attorney on your case can help:
- Prove negligence of another party
- Manage long-term medical expenses
- Navigate lost wages and work
- Plan for additional expenses and disability
Ultimately, seeking immediate medical help with documented injuries, surgeries, and procedures will help your car accident settlement when you reach out to an attorney in Phoenix.
2. Liability Concerns
Liability disputes are another main reason you should start your search for an auto accident attorney in Phoenix. Car accidents are rarely black and white when it comes to fault, and if the scene is a bit convoluted, the blame can quickly shift to you.
A Phoenix car accident lawyer helps collect and review evidence in the chances it results in a lawsuit and you need a settlement. These car accident cases fall under comparative negligence.
Partially at fault victims can receive damages and accrue hefty expenses. A qualified attorney helps you navigate your case, building a strong defense system and helping you avoid high expenses. Instances involving an uninsured vehicle owner are also challenging to navigate, especially with liability concerns.
Attorneys work with your insurance on clauses that involve non-insured motorists to compensate for medical expenses and keep your insurance rates stable.
3. You Need Help Filing an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim isn’t only for those at fault. You should also file an insurance claim for:
- Damages to your vehicle
- Any medical attention needed
To file a claim, you will need proof of damage and injuries. In severe accidents, you’ll have to rely on police reports since you may be unconscious, severely injured, or taken to the hospital. If you have not suffered serious injuries, take pictures at the scene and gather reports.
Although pictures aren’t mandatory, it helps your claims adjustor and speed along the process. After you have left the scene, you will want to contact your insurance company immediately. For this step, you will need your policy number and agent.
Most allow you to file online, but the process can become more complicated if you are filing third-party or there are disputes on who is at fault. One of the key points that Phoenix accident lawyers help with is navigating the insurance claim process and ensuring your information is accurate and up-to-date.
Having a professional on board reduces the amount of time and headache involved with sorting claims. Additionally, you will have an assigned claims adjuster who will work with you on your insurance case.
The faster you can communicate and work with your claims adjuster, the faster your claim is handled, and an attorney is crucial throughout this process. Once you receive your claim, it can be hard to understand how your insurance affects claims and coverage. A skilled car accident attorney works with your claims adjuster to get the most benefit out of your insurance without raising rates.
4. You Are at Fault
If you are at fault at the scene of a car accident, you should call a Phoenix auto accident lawyer immediately. At-fault claims can cause significant hardship on your finances and insurance coverage. Additionally, if you attempt to resolve your case without a car accident attorney, you risk:
- Admitting fault
- Improper filing
- Mishandled paperwork
- Recorded statements
All these work against your case and potential settlement. An attorney alerts you to what documents require filing and assists with the majority of paperwork required. They protect you from situations where you may accidentally admit fault or give a statement that can be detrimental to outcomes.
5. Accidents Involved Government Officials
Government vehicles involved in an accident are required to immediately submit a claim. Still, it is a different ball game and one where you need a Phoenix auto accident attorney, even if you are not at fault. In most legal cases, the case is significantly shortened, but you will have more entities involved than your insurance provider.
In certain situations, government officials could be protected by law against at-fault accidents, leaving you without coverage for a motor vehicle or personal injury damages. When it comes to filing a case, you have a limited time to complete and submit it, and if you miss your window, you may be out of luck!
Finding the right legal attorney is critical during the process to help with:
- Filing a case
- Working with government officials
- Understanding statute of limitations
If you want legal compensation from government entities, there are many technical hoops you must jump through. Even with an attorney, the process is often long and arduous.
6. Accidents Involved Commercial Trucks
Like government entities, federal commercial trucking regulations make the process of a car accident settlement complicated and tedious. Most of these car accidents involve disputes with the employer since they are responsible for their employees.
However, in some instances, such as driving outside working hours, you may work directly with an employee’s insurance provider. Commercial truck drivers must meet outlined federal laws and regulations that could play in your favor during a settlement. An auto accident lawyer in Phoenix assists in gathering federal regulation information regarding:
- Driving within specific time frames
- Vehicle restrictions
- Alcohol or drug use
- Medical and physical requirements
When hiring a car accident attorney for these complex cases, ensure you ask about their qualifications, experience, and similar cases they have been involved with. You want an attorney with extensive experience working with commercial truck accidents or government vehicles for the best outcomes.
7. Limited Time for Filing a Claim
In most instances, you have two years to file a claim for a car accident. Accident lawyers in Phoenix help you file immediately and resolve your case. Be wary of law firms that tell you upfront numbers on how much your case is worth and how long it will take to resolve.
After filing a claim, the case is far from over, and it can take months to years to settle. The factors that contribute to your case settlement and filing are:
- Injury severity
- Medical treatments
- Policy limits
- Insurance coverage
It is important to have a qualified attorney throughout the entire process. Once you have signed a settlement, your case is resolved, often restricting you from future legal action against the insurance’s client.
8. Someone Died in the Car Accident
When someone dies in a car accident, it falls under wrongful death clauses. At-fault drivers may have criminal charges pressed against them. Whether you are being put at fault or were present for wrongful death in your vehicle, a Phoenix car accident attorney is necessary.
Victims’ family members may file charges or push liability onto you or another driver. They can sue for financial compensation, such as:
- Medical bills
- Funeral service costs
- Emotional distress
- And more
There are two components to a motor accident fatality: wrongful death and survival action claims. Survival action claims entail financial compensation for damages and/or suffering a family member filing the case experienced from the fatality. There are several limitations that your Phoenix auto accident attorney can help you navigate when it comes to filing or fighting against a wrongful death case.
In most states, only surviving spouses registered domestic partners, or financial dependents can file cases. Personal representatives may also fall under this clause, but you must consult with an attorney on the eligibility.
Additionally, there are time restrictions on when wrongful death cases are filed. The statute of limitations depends on your state, but it ranges from two to three years on average.
Find a Phoenix Auto Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a car accident case, you need a Phoenix auto accident attorney. An attorney navigates legal paperwork, claims, and settlements. When your case becomes complicated from severe injuries, government entities, or convoluted liabilities, call on the experts.
At Sweet Lawyers, we specialize in car accidents, wrongful deaths, personal injury, and more. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Contact us today or fill out a form on our site for a free case evaluation.