Car crashes are a very serious life event that can set you back financially, cause injuries, and leave you devastated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents add up to an estimated $1 trillion in the loss of life and productivity. However, when you experience a car accident that is not your fault, you can receive compensation to cover the cost of both economic and non-economic damages. You can work with a proven car accident lawyer in Phoenix who can assist you in recovering all the costs of your healthcare bills, property damage, and lost wages. In addition, they will work with your other party’s insurance company to demand the compensation you deserve.
Life can be a whirlwind after a shocking car accident, throwing your life off track. Car accidents can be life-threatening, cause property damage, and often result in wrongful death, so they are not taken lightly. However, you can work with an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, who has a track record of proven success. They are very experienced and know how much a vehicle accident settlement is worth.
What Car Accident Lawyers in Phoenix Can Do For You
Your car accident attorney will know everything about auto accident laws, which can help determine who is at fault for your motor vehicle accident. While contacting your insurance company can be helpful, it is recommended to speak with car accident lawyers first.
What Are the Laws for an Arizona Car Accident?
An Arizona car accident is treated differently from other regions, where it is an at-fault state. You and other accident victims can be partially at fault for your personal injury. However, you may still be due compensation based on what transpired during your auto accident. Even if you are 99% at fault, you can still obtain a settlement to help cover the cost of your personal injury.
Steps Car Accident Attorneys Take to Obtain a Settlement
Your car accident attorney will work hard to help you receive the compensation you deserve. They will organize your case evidence and diligently communicate with the other party’s insurance company to negotiate a settlement.
Car accident lawyers will want to find out more information about your auto accident to identify whether this is a case worth pursuing. Typically, if you are not at fault or partially at fault and have a personal injury, you should seek a settlement. First, your attorney may ask qualifying questions to get an idea of what you’ve been experiencing. Then, they can give you an upfront estimate of what your personal injury and property damage might be worth.
In addition to the damage caused to your motor vehicle, you will also need to show pictures of your personal injury. For example, if you have cuts, open wounds, a concussion, or even bruises, this information is helpful for car accident lawyers. Your attorney will also want to learn about your medical expenses and how much you expect to pay on an ongoing basis. Car accidents can cause not only medical bills but also wage loss. You may have to take time off from work because of your personal injury. If this is the case, you will need to inform the lawyer how much time you think you will be away from work. Your projected income loss in the coming months will be included in your claim. You can get a doctor’s note detailing your personal injury. It can help to retrieve a written statement from your boss as well. If you were able to, you could provide pictures of the auto accident itself to show the severity of the crash. A police report is beneficial in car accidents, so staying behind at the scene to help fill in details on the report can enhance your claim.
Car accidents often have a lot of witnesses or multiple parties involved. Your lawyer will contact witnesses on your behalf and incorporate their testimony in your claim. This can provide a valuable alternative perspective that your attorney can use to prove your case.
Creating a Strategy
It can be daunting to approach the other party’s motor vehicle insurance company alone. They have handled auto accidents for years and know how to angle an argument against fully compensating you. Your car accident lawyer will analyze your case and create a strategy to pressure the other party’s insurance company into properly paying you the correct amount for your auto accident. Many insurance companies don’t consider how expensive a personal injury can be after an auto accident, as they are trying to save money. Using negotiation tactics, an attorney will use the accident injuries you experienced, along with the supportive evidence, to obtain a settlement for you.
Your attorney will know tons of information about auto accident do’s and don’ts. You will be guided by your attorney and directed on the type of evidence you need. They may encourage you to get medical treatment if you haven’t already, get the contact information from other accident victims, and explain all of the emotional pain you experienced. Your attorney will also educate you on dealing with insurance companies to prevent them from using information they gathered against you.
Contacting Insurance Companies and Other Parties
Insurance company fraud is very prevalent, according to the FBI, where many of these companies try to avoid providing quality service. With so much auto accident knowledge, your attorney will use negotiation tactics to work with the other party’s insurance company and identify different ways to get a settlement. With your personal injury as compelling evidence, it will be hard to ignore the obvious reason to compensate. The negotiation process may take several months to a year before all parties agree.
You will receive frequent updates over time as your lawyer does all the legwork for you. They will be drafting documents, communicating with the other parties on your behalf, and letting you know their responses. You can decide to accept or renegotiate a settlement, where your attorney will deliver the message and let you know about the progress.
If you and the other parties can’t agree on a settlement, your car accident lawyer can file a lawsuit. In most cases, the other party will settle and avoid going to court with you. Even if you end up filing a lawsuit, you will still attend a pre-trial mediation to try to agree before going before the judge. If this doesn’t result in a resolution, your attorney will guide you through the lawsuit process. What Happens in a Lawsuit?
Lawsuits require a several-step process where your attorney will file a complaint with the court. After appearing in the court, the jury must decide what your compensation will be.
Filing the Claim
Also known as a pleading, your attorney will collect all the information required to follow the format of a court petition. Then, they will correctly draft documents and organize all the case details before submitting them to the court. Once this goes through, the next step is for the defendants to be notified.
Summons and Complaint
The defendants will be informed of your claim and given a scheduled time to appear in court. Before this, they can file an answer in defense of your demands. After that, they may or may not challenge you by providing their counterclaims. After the summons has been served, the next step is to show up in court.
Rehashing the Evidence
Your attorney will make a new strategy to reveal how the accident harmed you. There will be photographic evidence, a list of bills and expenses, and other information the jury needs to hear about. Your personal injury lawyer will manage this as well and organize all of the documents.
Representation Before the Judge
Your attorney will have to represent you before the judge using the evidence you provided. They will give a valid argument and display how your personal injury caused you unfair physical damage, along with costly expenses. You will have to speak before the judge and tell them what you experienced. They might call on witnesses to provide testimonies to help support your case.
What Happens Next?
It is entirely up to the jury to decide what happens next. However, in most cases, the jury will lean in your favor if you are less at fault for your injuries. The other party has to cover the court fees and will be expected to fulfill the court order demanding a settlement.
What Can You Claim for Economic and Non-Economic Damages?
Your personal injury will be much more than a financial burden, but also an emotional one as well. You may have experienced significant pain. Make sure to include economic and non-economic damages in your settlement.
Over 90 people die in a car collision each day. Wrongful death is treated a lot differently from other typical accident injuries, as they have resulted in the passing of a family member or loved one. Your wrongful death settlement can include unique items such as:
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guardianship
- Loss of mentorship
- Loss of valuable services
- Medical bills before death
- Pain and suffering according to survivors
- Funeral and burial costs
These experiences can be hard to calculate, as putting a price tag on the death of a beloved can seem strange. Your attorney can help estimate this for you. Several items can impact your settlement. These include:
- The victim’s state of health
- The victim’s income
- The dependents’ age and life situations
- The victim’s education and certification
- Lost benefits, such as health insurance and pension fund
- The victim’s earning capacity
- Their age at the time of death
If you are a spouse, dependent, parent, offspring, or a beneficiary to the victim’s estate, you can file a wrongful death claim against the other party.
Your medical expenses might be the worst aspect of your financial woes. This is because your injuries may be long-lasting and cause temporary or permanent disability. You will want to keep track of all the medical bills you accrued. Medical bills can include physical therapy, psychological counseling, pharmaceutical pills, and anything health-related. Don’t just include the initial medical treatment you had right after the accident. Include costs that pile up over time in your settlement. Your life has changed because of the accident, and getting your life back will require you to receive compensation to reverse the damage.
This can include the cost of:
- Follow-up appointments
- Imaging scans
- Emergency room treatment
- On-site stabilization
- Medical monitoring
- Medical tests
- Visits to your doctor or other clinics
Wage Loss and Future Income
You may be temporarily disabled, where you cannot work to your total capacity and have to take time off. If you experienced wage loss because of your injuries, you could include this in your settlement. Sometimes, this financial loss can continue for months. For example, about 2 million drivers get a permanent injury after a car accident. Therefore, your settlement should also cover future income loss. For example, suppose you were permanently disabled and had to switch jobs because you can no longer perform the necessary industry work. In that case, this will be something to consider in your settlement. This is especially the case if your former job paid more. If you are not at fault, then you should be fully compensated for your loss.
Your pain and suffering must be included in your settlement. This includes physical pain you’re struggling to cope with, which can be backache, neckache, soreness, stabbing sensations, and other discomforts. You may feel fatigued while healing and have migraines, a foggy mind, and feel down. Your injuries can cause depression, emotional anguish, anxiety, PTSD, embarrassment, and more. For example, you may feel shame because you’re unable to provide a total income for your family, or you might not be able to play sports after a terrible car crash. Problems like these can be included in your settlement. Your attorney can help you figure out the cost of these non-economic damages using traditional approaches to accurately estimate what your settlement should be.
Types of Qualifying Injuries You Can Experience In an Accident
Car accidents are known to cause extremely severe injuries. Each year, 50 million injuries caused by car accidents happen worldwide. These are some of the most common injuries you may experience. You have to get a medical checkup, so you know exactly what injuries you have.
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
After a massive impact, you may get whiplash from the velocity of the car jerking forward and back. This commonly causes neck injuries and stiffness. That can lead to other damage over time, such as severe and debilitating migraines, shoulder pain, and other forms of discomfort over time if not treated.
Disfigurement of the Face or Other Scars
Sometimes accidents cause debris to fly, or you can accidentally bang your head into objects around you. You can get facial injuries from being thrown into your windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, and more. In addition, there may be broken glass which causes facial disfigurement and other scars across your body that require surgery.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Car crashes are the leading cause of brain injuries. This can happen if something heavy hits your head or pierces your skull. These events can cause death and long-term disability, as traumatic brain injuries are life-threatening.
Broken Bones and Fractures
You may have broken ribs, fractured finger bones, or broken bones in your arms or legs. This can be profoundly harmful and prevent you from living an everyday life. Broken bones are also extremely painful and take a long time to mend. The length of time for recovery can require months.
This is caused when your arm or leg is injured beyond repair after being severed in a car crash. When this happens, you would have to receive a surgical amputation. A permanent disability such as this can prevent full recovery.
Paralysis and Quadriplegia, Tretraplegia, or Paraplegia
If your spinal cord has been injured in a car accident, this can result in paralysis. This is entirely dependent upon the nerves that were affected by the collision. The level of damage can cause car accident victims to lose function in their appendages.
In some instances, cars can catch fire after an accident. The electrical wiring or the fuel system can ignite after a horrible collision. Sometimes you or the other party might have been smoking and the cigarette sets fire after being displaced during the crash. This can end in first, second, and third-degree burns. Disfigurement can also be the result of a terrible burn.
While you may not have any broken bones, you may have injured your organs. Organs can be bruised or punctured by an object after an injury. In some cases, your broken bones can pierce organs and cause serious internal damage.
Foot, Knee, Ankle, and Shoulder Injuries
You may get injuries and sprains in these areas. For example, wrists or ankles might get twisted during the accident and sprained. In addition, your shoulder may have popped out of place, or tendons may have ripped during your injury. These are not as serious as other wounds but can be just as painful.
Lacerations and Bruises
Bruises should also be included in your settlement, though they may be considered minor. For example, you may have lacerations or cuts from flying objects. Also, if you have rolled or were dragged out of a window after a car crash, this can cause scrapes and road rash.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These are often difficult to notice and appear days or weeks after your accident. This is damage to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which are very painful. They can last a long time, so you should get a medical doctor to diagnose this for you.
You can get pinned in a car crash, where objects collide together and can trap you. The weight of these objects creates a heavy pressure which causes a crush injury. You might have organ damage, crushed bones, tissue, and muscle damage.
It is crucial to get a full scope of the type of injuries you have and include every one in your settlement. This is because your damages can be expensive, and you wouldn’t be dealing with them had you not been in a car crash. Also, get medical treatment so you know all of your injuries. Your treatment costs are included in your total settlement amount.
Get in Contact With a Knowledgeable Legal Representative
You can get started on your settlement by seeking the advice of a sharp attorney. They can support you during this difficult time and help improve your chances of receiving the correct settlement amount. These legal professionals amplify your case by providing talented communication and negotiation skills. Ask as many questions as you want before proceeding so that you understand the process. You can get an overview of your case to see if you should choose to demand compensation. Contact Wattel & York today for a free consultation.