If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed by the decisions you’re confronted with. Even a moderately severe accident can require surgery, physical therapy, and time off from work for recovery. Unless you’ve been through this before, it’s difficult to know how to proceed. If your injuries were due to the negligence of another party, however, you are entitled to compensation under Arizona law. The personal injury lawyers at Wattel & York are here to help. Because we work on a contingency basis, you don’t have to pay out of pocket. All consultations are free, so call today.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Not all accidents require the services of a team of personal injury lawyers. Often, motor vehicle accidents don’t result in physical injuries. If that’s the case, you can file a claim with the insurance company and get your property damage repaired. In many cases, however, a car accident, truck accident, a slip and fall, or another type of accident can cause a minor to catastrophic injury or injuries. If this is the case, you may experience substantial medical expenses, lost wages, diminished capacity, and pain and suffering. In a wrongful death incident, in addition to the medical bills accrued before the incident, you may be facing lost future earnings, emotional anguish, and loss of companionship.
But why hire a personal injury law firm to pursue your claim? Whether you are trying to receive compensation from an individual, a business, or their insurance company, defendants in personal injury claims have a vested interest in minimizing their payouts. Because you don’t have extensive experience and legal knowledge to pursue your personal injury claim, the defendant or their agents are likely to pressure you to accept a lower amount than you’re entitled to.
On the other hand, a personal injury law firm with experience in these types of cases can adequately assess your damages and negotiate for a full and fair settlement. Personal injury lawyers in Arizona work on a contingency basis, which means that they only receive compensation if your case either settles or you win in court. Typically, the increased settlement amount more than covers the law firm contingency fee.
Elements of a Personal Injury Case
For a personal injury lawsuit to be viable, the plaintiff’s law firm must be able to prove that the following four elements exist:
1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
Individuals are responsible for their safety, but there are many times when we also owe a duty of care to one another. A driver who gets behind the wheel, a doctor offering medical treatment to a patient, and a store or restaurant owner who serves the public all owe a duty of care to their patrons.
2. The defendant breached the duty of care
To successfully sue a defendant, the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney must demonstrate how the defendant’s duty of care was breached. For example, in a medical malpractice case, the attorney would need to show that the action that led to the injury deviated from medical standards.
3. The breach resulted in damages to the defendant
Without damages, there is no basis for a lawsuit. For personal injury claims to be actionable, the attorney must show that the incident adversely affected the defendant.
4. The plaintiff’s damages had a measurable impact
Personal injury lawyers must be able to assign a monetary amount to the defendant’s damages. The types of damages will be covered in a later section.
Types of Personal Injury Accidents and Injuries
Personal injury law is one of the most expansive areas of Arizona civil litigation. Because of this, many personal injury lawyers focus only on one or two types of accidents, like motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or slip and fall. At Wattel & York Attorneys At Law, our law firm offers a full range of services to Tucson, AZ, accident victims. Here are some of the types of cases we handle.
- Car Accidents
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Brain Injuries
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Construction Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Elderly Abuse
- Medical Malpractice
- Premises Liability (Slip and Fall)
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Workplace Injuries
- Wrongful Death
Call our personal injury law office today for a free consultation.
Personal Injury Laws of Arizona
Every state has its own personal injury laws. If you are familiar with the laws of another state but were injured in Arizona, it’s beneficial for you to familiarize yourself with Arizona laws regarding personal injury.
Types of Personal Injury Damages
Arizona personal injury law divides damages into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Suppose you’ve been injured in an accident. In that case, you will undoubtedly receive a torrent of medical bills, miss time from work, and have to pay for various other expenses like medication, follow-up appointments, transportation, etc. These are referred to as economic damages. Anything that you can assign a monetary value to would qualify under this category.
Noneconomic damages are also often referred to as pain and suffering. These damages include things like physical pain, loss of your physical capacity, emotional trauma, etc. In the case of wrongful death, they can also include loss of companionship. A personal injury law firm like Wattel & York Accident Injury & Attorneys can review the intangible costs of your accident and determine the appropriate amount of compensation that you’re entitled to.
Arizona does allow punitive damages under the law, but they are rare in most personal injury cases. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions were purposeful and intended to cause harm.
Damage Caps in AZ
Under Article 2 Section 31 of the Arizona state constitution, “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the number of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.” There are case law guidelines. However, that dictates the amount of damages you would be likely to receive in court.
Statute of Limitations Under Arizona Law
For most types of personal injury cases in Arizona, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident. After that time, you will not be able to sue the defendant. In wrongful death cases, the clock starts on the date of the victim’s death, regardless of when the underlying accident occurred. In medical malpractice cases, the two-year period begins when the plaintiff discovers that the malpractice has occurred.
Legal Principles in Arizona Personal Injury Cases
The state of Arizona follows the comparative negligence principle. This means that the parties involved in an accident can share responsibility. The insurance company can then payout based on the percentage of liability each party is apportioned. For instance, if you were 15% responsible for a car accident that resulted in $10,000 in damages, the insurance company would pay you 85% of that amount or $8,500.
AZ Accident Statistics
In 2019, there were 129,750 motor vehicle crashes in the state of Arizona. Of these, 39,926 (28%) resulted in injury. There were also 911 deaths due to auto accidents. Over 85% of all accidents involved more than one vehicle.
But car accidents are not the only area of concern. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that falls nationally account for 8 million emergency room visits every year. And one report showed that there are 18.7 medical malpractice cases for every 100,000 residents. If you’ve been injured in an accident in Tucson or the surrounding areas, contact our law firm and speak to a personal injury attorney about your case. We work on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay for the consultation.
Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
As a personal injury law firm in Tucson, AZ, we encounter many clients with different claims. While no two accidents are the same, the questions that potential clients ask are often similar. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Nothing on this site should be construed as legal advice, but you can speak to the personal injury lawyers at Wattel & York Injury & Accident Attorneys for free.
My insurance company is offering me an immediate settlement. What should I do?
If you run out of money while you are in recovery, you will have to come up with a way to pay it yourself. Insurance companies are often quick to offer a payout to limit their liability and settle the case quickly. If you accept their offer, you will be required to sign a waiver of liability, which prevents you from pursuing any further damages. Before accepting any offer, you should contact our law firm and talk to one of our personal injury lawyers for free.
Will I be required to testify in court?
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. In most instances, the settlement can be negotiated before litigation is necessary. There is always the possibility that your case can end up at the Pima County Courthouse or in another venue of appropriate jurisdiction, but it’s less than likely. If you do have to go to court, you’ll have a battle-tested Wattel & York attorney in your corner.
How long does it take to receive a settlement?
The settlement time depends on several factors, including the case’s complexity, the type of case, and the reluctance of the insurance company or responsible party to settle. It could take anywhere from a few months to a year or two. Certain types of cases tend to take longer, and as a rule, the larger the amount of damages you are seeking, the less likely the defendant will want to pay.
What should I do if I’m in an accident?
There are certain things that you can do to protect yourself and help your case should you need to file a claim.
- Get to a place of safety if you think you may be facing additional peril.
- Call 911 and give the dispatcher your location, a description of the injuries of all parties involved, and any other information they’re asking for.
- From a safe vantage point, take pictures and videos with your phone.
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information.
- Allow medical personnel to examine you, and if necessary, transport you.
- Follow up with your doctor.
- Call Wattel & York Injury & Accident Attorneys at your earliest convenience. You can even reach out while you’re still on the scene.
How can I find the best personal injury attorney in Tucson?
While we believe that our law firm is among the best in the area, it’s essential for you to feel comfortable with the attorney representing you. It’s also crucial the personal injury attorney your choose is the right one for your case. You do not want to hire a lawyer who primarily handles dog bite cases if you seek damages for wrongful death due to medical malpractice. Do your research and take advantage of the fact that most practices will provide a free consultation. We are confident that the Wattel & York law firm will stand out as one of the top firms in Tucson.
What will a personal injury attorney do for me?
In addition to negotiating your claim, your attorney can act as an intermediary between you and your insurance company or the defendant’s attorney. If your case needs to be litigated through the courts, your injury lawyer can process discovery evidence, prepare legal strategies, depose witnesses, and retain the services of expert witnesses. They will also attend your deposition to make sure that it is conducted honestly and fairly. When it comes to medical guidance, personal injury lawyers can recommend doctors and specialists.
Are there damage caps in AZ?
No, the state constitution prohibits damages to be capped in civil suits. Your damages may be limited by case law and the circumstances of the case.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Tucson, AZ
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need representation from a reputable law firm with a proven record of success. Our attorneys have decades of serving injury victims around Tucson, Arizona. We offer free consultations and will not receive payment until you do. Call today.