Arizona Auto Accident Guide: What Should I Do if I’m in a Crash?
Wondering what to do if you’re in a crash? Our Phoenix personal injury law firm is here to help. With 28+ years of collective experience, we specialize in car and motorcycle accidents. If you think you need an auto accident lawyer, this guide explains what to do after a car crash.
“It Happened So Fast”
Car accidents may take just a few seconds — but those seconds can change your life forever… especially when serious injuries are involved.
No matter who’s to blame, the aftermath of a car crash is difficult. Whether you’re dealing with unhelpful insurance companies or trying to find medical care, the recovery process is stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating.
That’s where an auto accident lawyer comes in. Our experienced Phoenix personal injury law firm knows how to deal with insurance and get the compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do If You’re in a Crash?
Call 911 from the Accident Scene
Tell the operator you’ve been involved in an accident and that you need emergency assistance.
When a police officer arrives at the scene, they may have questions for you. You’ll need to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance. Make sure you get a copy of the police report or case number before you leave.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your policy may require you to contact your insurer, even if you don’t think the accident is your fault. Just keep in mind that your insurance company has one goal: Gathering information that will help them justify not paying you any compensation.
This means you should not share more information than necessary, as saying the wrong thing can cost you. In fact, you do not have to — and should not — provide an accident statement to an insurer. Instead, give basic details and let your personal injury lawyer deal with their questions.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with an Auto Accident Lawyer
Don’t wait to contact a lawyer until the insurance companies deny payment. Seeking legal representation early in the process will improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
If you don’t have an attorney on your side when dealing with the insurance companies, you’re at a disadvantage. After all, they’ll certainly be consulting with their attorneys!
Arizona Auto Accident Laws
Most crash victims don’t know all the details of AZ auto accident laws, and don’t have the time to learn all about negotiating with auto insurance companies. That’s where an Arizona personal injury law firm comes in.
Which Laws Apply in Arizona?
Victims of auto accidents often wonder which laws apply in their situation, given that there are federal, state, and local laws on the books. But in Arizona, state — not federal — laws apply to personal injury claims.
Though the city of Phoenix does have its own ordinances and regulations, this City Code doesn’t apply to personal injury claims.
Most car crash claims fall under personal injury law. In this type of law, the concept of “negligence” determines liability. In other words, if another driver’s negligence resulted in your injury, you’re entitled to financial compensation.
When it comes to auto accidents, negligence takes several forms. Examples include:
• Texting or talking on the phone while driving
• Merging without looking
• Inadequate vehicle repair
• Inadequate road maintenance
• Driving while under the influence
Our team of auto accident lawyers know the applicable laws inside and out. We will perform an investigation to uncover who is at fault.
Which Key Statutes Apply?
Laws known as Arizona Revised Statutes govern personal injury claims. Key statutes include:
• ARS Section 12-542: States that car accident victims and their families have two years in which to file a claim for damages. Exceptions to this two-year statute of limitations exist.
• ARS Section 12-205: Defines the law of comparative negligence, which states that car crash victims can seek some compensation, even if the collision is partially their fault.
How is Fault Determined?
Arizona’s negligence laws determine who’s at fault in a car accident. Figuring out negligence requires an investigation, which may involve:
• Visiting the spot where the accident took place
• Reviewing any photos of the scene
• Noting damage to vehicles
• Assessing victims’ injuries
• Reviewing documentation, such as police reports or accident statements
• Gathering witness testimony
Remember: Fault is based on the involved parties’ negligence, and the only way to determine fault and negligence is by conducting a thorough investigation.
As an accident victim, this means not making any assumptions. Though you may think that the accident was completely the other driver’s fault, you may not be able to prove it. You may also mistakenly assume fault. In both cases, you may end up getting less compensation than you should.
That’s why it’s so important to consult with a Phoenix personal injury law firm that’s experienced in Arizona law.
What Damages Can an Auto Accident Lawyer Help You Claim?
While each case is different, there are a few common claims. Your personal injury lawyer will assess the many ways your injuries impact your life, and calculate a fair value. This assessment may include medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Medical Expenses. After an accident, medical expenses are often a victim’s first concern. Unfortunately, health insurance won’t always cover all accident-related expenses, leaving the victim stuck with huge bills. Often, future medical care ends up being even more costly. A personal injury attorney will help you avoid settling too soon.
Lost Wages. Did you miss work because you had to go to the doctor or get your car repaired? Maybe you took time off because you were in too much pain to go to work. You are entitled to compensation for your lost wages. You may also be entitled to compensation for future loss of income due to the accident.
Pain and Suffering. Arizona law allows for accident victims to seek compensation for non-financial losses, including pain and suffering. This includes both physical and emotional discomfort, from aches and pains, to depression and stress related to the accident.
Why Contact an Attorney?
If you want someone to stand up to the insurance companies — and their attorneys — an auto accident lawyer will be on your side. They’ll handle your case and help you feel more secure about getting the financial compensation you need to feel secure.
Many people have misconceptions about how personal injury lawyers work. You might think that hiring an auto accident lawyer is too expensive, or that it’ll mean a court battle. Or maybe you’re afraid that lawyer’s bills will eat up all of your compensation. While these concerns are common, they are not correct.
In reality, working with our Phoenix personal injury law firm means that you’re more likely to be treated fairly and with respect. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know when it’s time to settle. Most importantly, an experienced lawyer will always place your best interests first, and won’t make a dime until you accept a settlement or win at trial.
Working with an auto accident lawyer is the only way to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve after a crash.