Personal Injury / Auto Accidents
What is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim is a case you can initiate if you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s fault. If another person caused an accident that led to your injuries, you are entitled to damages recovery, and the responsible person has to pay for that.
What is premises liability?
Premises liability means that the operator of the object where you’ve gotten injured is responsible for your injury if the accident occurred due to their negligence. Generally speaking, every commercial object in Arizona, such as a restaurant, mall, supermarket, hotel, nightclub, parking lot, or similar object, owes visitors a duty of care. That means that the object operator is responsible for visitors’ safety while they are in the object.
For example, a supermarket is responsible for your safety while you shop. If you slip and fall due to slippery floors, the supermarket operator is liable for your injuries.
However, this doesn’t mean that the object operator is responsible for every single accident that occurred on the premises. It is important to note that:
Your presence there has to be legal. If you’ve been trespassing, the operator of the premises doesn’t owe you a duty of care, therefore, may be not liable for the injuries.
If the accident happened due to your mistake, the operator of the premises may not be liable. For example, if you spill your own drink in the bar, slip and fall, you are responsible for your injuries, not the bar operator.
Who pays for my medical bills?
It depends on who was responsible for the accident. If it was your fault, you will pay the bills. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, then you might not pay out of your pocket. The insurance company of the liable person will pay the medical expenses related to the injury.
If the at-fault driver has no insurance, but you have uninsured motorist insurance coverage, then you should make a claim to your own insurance company. You can also send the bills to your health insurance company and they can compensate from the at-fault driver.
In many cases, doctors will wait for payment until the case is resolved. Until then, you don’t have to think about paying the bills.
Do I have to file a lawsuit?
Few cases end up in court. Most of them are resolved during the negotiation process. However, if you are not happy with the compensation offered by the insurance company, you may want to file a lawsuit.
Your goal is not to file a lawsuit but to get the financial compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Ideally, the insurance company would make a good offer, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes they count on your lack of information, sometimes they expect you to give up first, and make lousy offers that are not high enough to cover your medical bills. In such a case, you should file a lawsuit and get damages recovery in court.
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is where the fault of the accident can be divided between the people involved. When both drivers are responsible for the accident, the comparative negligence rule applies. In such a case, each party takes part of the responsibility and pays for the damages accordingly.
For example, if you are 30% at fault, and the other person is 70% at fault, you’ll pay for 30% of their damages, and they’ll pay for 70% of your damages.
How can I handle my own accident case?
Handling your own personal injury case on your own is not a simple task. No one will happily compensate you for the injuries. You have to do the work if you want the responsible person to pay for the damages, and to pay enough for it.
While hiring a lawyer is the wisest thing to do, some people decide to do it on their own. If you are one of them, here are few steps you need to do:
Do not accept the first offer of the scene. Insurance companies make quick offers on the scene of the accident, but they are rarely good enough. Do not accept such an offer before consulting a lawyer.
Collect evidence. Talk to doctors, talk to witnesses, talk to expert witnesses, take photos from the accident, get the video recording from security cameras, and get every possible evidence available. You need to prove that the accident has occurred and that someone else is liable. You need evidence for that.
File a claim to the insurance company. When you’re done with all the paperwork, file the claim with the insurance company.
Negotiate with the insurance company. They will make an offer or multiple offers. You may accept it or refuse it and renegotiate. Insurance companies love to negotiate with self-represented parties.
If you’re not happy with any of the offers, file a lawsuit.
How much can I expect to get paid for my damages?
The monetary compensation you could potentially get for your case may vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances. No two cases are the same. If you want to get an estimate, call us for a free consultation at 602-675-7575 and we’ll give you an idea of what your case may be worth.
If you do it by yourself, make sure that you don’t trust the insurance company about the case's worth. The first offer they usually make is rarely as high as the case could be worth.
When do I need a lawyer?
If you get injured in Arizona, you need an Arizona personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Money is involved in personal injury cases, so everyone - including the liable party and the insurance company - is trying to get away with as little as possible. If you don’t know what you are getting into, you may end up with just a small compensation and not enough money to pay for your medical bills, not to mention compensation for the caused stress and fear.
What to do After a Car Accident: First Steps
There are five crucial steps we recommend to all clients to make after a car accident:
Ensure that everyone is safe. Your health and the health of others involved in the accident is the biggest priority after the accident. If necessary, call 911 to get help.
Collect evidence. If you don’t have any urgent injuries to be taken care of, start documenting the accident. Take photos, collect phone numbers by witnesses, notice if there are security cameras installed nearby. This will serve as evidence later in the process.
Exchange information. Get the contact information of the other parties involved in the accident. You may need to contact each other.
Do not talk to insurance company personnel. They are here to collect evidence to be used against you. Do not talk to them.
Call a personal injury attorney. Instead of talking to someone from an insurance company, talk to an Arizona accident attorney. They will have your best interest in mind and will provide you with important information for getting the recovery of the damage you are entitled to.
This information should not be considered legal advice. If you want legal advice about your case, please call us to talk to an attorney.