Being involved in a car can be a traumatic experience, and if you’re injured, the initial impact is only the beginning of your ordeal. Even a relatively minor car accident can result in whiplash, severe bruising, and other uncomfortable injuries. When you sustain severe injuries, you may require surgery, physical therapy, and other types of medical treatment. As the medical expenses mount, you’ll also experience lost wages from missing work.
As a car accident victim, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you contact the Tucson car accident lawyers at Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law, we will review your case for free. In addition, we work on a contingency basis, which means that we will assign a car accident lawyer to your case, and you will not have to pay out of pocket for our professional legal advice. So contact our personal injury law office for a free consultation.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Like all major municipalities, Tucson, AZ experiences a wide range of accident types. Here are some of the types of cases our car accident attorneys handle:
Car vs. Car Accidents
This is one of the most common types of motor vehicle crashes. Because there are so many personal vehicles on the road, car vs. car is also the most prevalent accident type. The severity of injuries is often related to the relative speed of the vehicles involved, but even a low-speed car wreck can cause serious injury.
In personal injury law, truck accidents refer to collisions with large commercial vehicles. Under federal law, the maximum gross weight of a commercial vehicle is 80,000 lbs. This includes the cab, trailer, and cargo. When a vehicle with such substantial mass is involved in an auto accident, the driver of the smaller car is almost always injured.
In addition to direct impacts, truck accidents can also involve unsecured loads falling away from the truck and striking a car or creating a road hazard. Federal and state laws for commercial trucking are extensive. When a truck accident causes serious injuries, a car accident lawyer must review the driver’s log, manifests, route schedules, etc., to determine compliance with the rules and regulations.
Any responsible motorcycle operator knows that being involved in any motor vehicle accident can result in severe personal injury. Motorcycles are capable of traveling at high speeds but offer little protection. When a motorcyclist is struck by a larger car or truck, the results can be devastating.
Pedestrians have no physical barrier for protection, so there are almost always injuries when they’re involved in an auto accident. Pedestrian collision victims may face a long road to recovery. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, a Tucson car accident lawyer can review your case and fight for a full and fair settlement.
Like pedestrians, cyclists have little protection in an auto accident. Therefore, it’s important to proactively pursue your car accident claim from the insurance company. A car accident lawyer can review your case and act as an intermediary between you and the insurance company.
Bus and Mass Transit Accidents
Mass transit is responsible for many personal injury victims. In addition to the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, the actions of the operators can place their passengers in danger of injury. Wide turns, sudden acceleration, and short stops can cause passengers to pitch forward, backward, or to the side.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car crash injuries range from minor bruising to catastrophic injuries to wrongful death. The following are some of the most prevalent injury types our Tucson car accident lawyers frequently see:
When the forward movement of a vehicle is suddenly halted in an auto accident, the occupants pitch forward. This often causes them to strike their heads against the steering wheel, dashboard, or in the case of backseat passengers, the seat in front of them. Even when the airbags deploy, the occupants can sustain head injuries. Head injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes to traumatic brain injuries.
This is common when the speeds are high or in accidents where the vehicle is struck at an angle. Auto accident victims who sustain broken bones are entitled to compensation for their medical treatment, time off from work, physical therapy, and more.
Burns can result from heat, fire, or friction. For example, a motorcycle accident victim may sustain road rash, a kind of friction burn.
Whiplash is one of the most common types of auto accident personal injury. It occurs when the head snaps backward and forward as the result of an impact. Whiplash is common in rear-end collisions.
Many accident victims experience severe bruising that can be extraordinarily uncomfortable, even debilitating.
Some injuries can’t be detected without X-rays and MRIs. You may have sustained a severe internal injury without realizing it. That’s why it’s important to get medical attention either at the car accident scene or as soon as possible.
Even if you believe that your injuries are minor, it’s in your best interest to contact a car accident attorney as early in your case as possible. Our Tucson accident lawyers often review personal injury cases where the client believes that their injuries were minor, only to learn that they have a significant car accident case. That’s why we encourage individuals who have been involved in a Tucson, AZ area car accident to contact our personal injury law firm for a free car accident case evaluation.
Causes of Car Accidents
There are reasons for car accidents that personal injury attorneys see often:
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a major cause of accidents in the U.S. When a person is drunk, and they cannot react as quickly as they should. A drunk person may not be able to brake in time if a car stops short in front of them or if a vehicle changes lanes ahead of them. Their vision will be impaired, and they will not be able to see cars or pedestrians well.
If you get injured in a speeding accident, you are not the first or the last. Speeding is the second leading cause of accidents in the country. Speeding accidents can be explained by Newton’s Laws of Motion.
The Second Law of Motion states that force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. Essentially, if you are hit by a much larger car or a car traveling at a very high speed, the damage to your car will be greater than the damage to theirs.
The third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When two cars crash into each other, each will experience the same amount of force. The faster a car is traveling, the greater amount of force there will be in a collision.
Ever since the advent of the smartphone, distracted driving accidents have increased. Cell phone calls, social media, and text messaging can tempt drivers on long—or even short—road trips. A person may think it will only take a second to check their cell phone when they hear a text message ping. Unfortunately, It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen. Texting slows down your reaction time considerably and also takes your mind off the task of driving.
Elements of a Car Accident Claim
In order for an auto accident claim to be viable, it must have the following four criteria:
1. Duty of Care
Every motor vehicle operator owes a duty of care to every other individual using the roadway. This is such a well-established legal concept that even insurance company lawyers are reticent to try to build a defense around this aspect of the case.
2. Breach of Duty
In order to recover compensation, a car accident attorney must prove that the defendant somehow breached that duty. This can be shown in a number of ways. Did the defendant fail to stop for a traffic control device? Were they speeding? Were they operating a vehicle while impaired?
Under Arizona’s comparative negligence laws, accident victims can recover compensation even if they are partially at fault. In other words, their breach of duty does not negate the other driver’s breach of duty.
It’s essential that car accident attorneys for the plaintiff are able to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident. For example, running a red light is a breach of duty, and if it causes an accident with injuries to another, the injured party is entitled to compensation. Reckless driving is also a breach of duty. If a person is driving erratically or driving drunk, they may cause an accident. There are, however, cases where a driver may have breached their duty of care, but they are not responsible for the accident.
Car accident attorneys must show that the accident caused damages. In an accident injury case, damages include medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. There must be a monetary cost to the injuries.
Our Tucson car accident lawyers are particularly adept at proving the four elements of a personal injury case. We will prepare your insurance claims prior to approaching the insurance company. Call our law firm today for a free case evaluation.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Car Accident Case
Auto accident lawyers divide damages into compensatory damages and non-compensatory damages. Compensatory damages compensate you for your injury and trauma and are further divided between economic damages and non-economic damages. Non-compensatory damages, aka punitive damages, are designed to further penalize the defendant for particularly egregious behavior.
Any monetary expenses that injury victims incur are considered economic damages. These include, but are not limited to, all medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, future lost earnings, modifications to the home or workplace to accommodate the plaintiff, etc.
Also referred to as pain and suffering, non-economic damages seek to compensate an accident victim for intangible losses that they incur as the result of an accident. This can include mental trauma, physical pain and discomfort, loss of capacity, and more.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant demonstrated a wanton disregard for the safety of others or the act was intentional. In a car accident, punitive damages might be awarded if the defendant was extremely intoxicated or they struck the defendant’s vehicle as an intentional act of aggression. There are no punitive damage caps in the state of Arizona, but they are not awarded in all personal injury cases.
Our personal injury law firm can prepare an itemized list of economic and non-economic damages after a careful review of your case. Then we can prepare a demand letter for the insurance company.
Pima County Car Accident Statistics
As the second largest county in Arizona, Pima experiences thousands of auto accidents every year, and unsurprisingly, most of those occur in Tucson. In 2021, Tucson had 6,190 crashes. This resulted in 88 fatal crashes for a total of 91 deaths. In addition, there were 2,311 injury crashes with 3,360 people injured. 3,791 crashes resulted in property damage only.
Alcohol was involved in 456 crashes that resulted in 34 deaths and 281 people injured.
How A Tucson Car Accident Lawyer Prepares Your Case
Every case begins with a call to a personal injury lawyer. Our law firm handles personal injury claims on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket to meet with a professional Tucson car accident lawyer. If you agree to hire our legal team, we will begin preparing your personal injury claim if you haven’t already filed with the insurance adjuster.
We will then collect your medical records or request them from the hospital and your healthcare providers. Our legal team will also request your accident report from the investigating agency, along with any other evidence they collected. We will subpoena and depose all witnesses, including the investigating officers and the defendant. If necessary, we will contact medical expert witnesses and accident reconstruction experts.
Once we have compiled your damages and have a full view of the case, we will file a claim on your behalf with the other driver’s insurance company — or with your insurance company if uninsured motorist coverage is applicable.
Depending on the level of cooperation we receive from the insurance company, we will determine whether we need to file a car accident lawsuit. Even if we go to the extent of suing the insurance company, which is common with a Tucson auto accident claim, most cases settle before reaching court.
The Statute of Limitations in Arizona
Under Arizona law, plaintiffs have two years from the date an accident occurred to file a claim. While this may seem like a long time, a thorough Tucson car accident lawyer may take months to depose all of the witnesses and prepare a claim for filing. It’s in your best interest to speak to a Tucson car accident attorney at your earliest convenience.
Dealing With The Insurance Company on a Car Accident Injury Claim
You may receive a call within a day of your accident from the defendant’s insurance company, even if you haven’t filed a claim. Insurance adjusters know that the average car accident settlement increases once the victims speak to a personal injury law firm. They will offer you money for your medical bills and a premium for your trouble.
The fact is that initial insurance settlement offers in car accident cases are rarely sufficient for a full recovery. If you accept the offer, you will be asked to sign a waiver that prevents you from filing additional insurance claims or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an accident lawyer in Tucson before accepting an insurance company’s offer. Our auto accident lawyers can review your claim and prepare a counteroffer.
How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Our legal team is familiar with all phases of the personal injury legal process. We can help you make a full and fair recovery from your accident by examining all aspects of the case and diligently pursuing justice. We represent clients in claims involving relatively minor injuries up to catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims. Contact a Tucson auto accident lawyer today.
Frequently Asked Questions by Car Accident Victims
At Wattel & York, we have represented hundreds of clients in Tucson auto accident cases. Many of our clients have similar questions. The following are the most common questions our Tucson car accident lawyers hear from our clients.
What should I do if I’m injured in a car accident?
While no two car accidents are exactly alike, some steps could potentially help you remain safe while strengthening your car accident claim.
- Stay in the car or move to a position of safety – If the conditions aren’t safe, you should stay in your car unless the car is unsafe. Don’t move injured parties unless it’s absolutely necessary to protect them.
- Call 911 – Make certain that first responders are en route to the accident scene. The dispatcher will want to know your exact location, a description of the vehicles, the number of injured parties, the nature of the injuries, and any additional information that may assist police and EMTs.
- Talk to witnesses – If there are witnesses on the scene, ask them to remain to speak to the police. If they refuse, try to get their contact information. As a last resort, copy their license plate information for the police and your attorney. Eyewitnesses can make or break a personal injury case, so it’s essential to provide these leads.
- Take pictures or video – Visual evidence is also important, and the accident scene will look different even moments after the collision. From a safe position, take photos or shoot a video with your phone. Include the vehicle damage, debris on the road, visual injuries, signs or other geographic indicators, etc.
- Allow the EMTs to examine you – Even if you feel fine, you may have undetected injuries. Furthermore, you may be in shock due to the trauma you just experienced. Allow the medical workers to examine you on scene. If they want to take you to the hospital, allow them to. If not, follow up with your doctor at your earliest convenience. Your well-being is paramount, and prompt treatment will help you and your claim.
- Contact an accident lawyer – In Tucson, Wattel & York represents the victims of negligence on a contingency basis, so you don’t need to worry about the cost.
Why do I need a lawyer?
An injury attorney plays many roles when it comes to automobile accidents. In addition to being the point of contact between you and the defendant’s insurance company, They can also recommend doctors and healthcare providers who work with accident victims by allowing delayed payment. Your attorney will negotiate with the claims adjuster and the insurance company’s lawyers, and if your claim goes to court, they can litigate the case on your behalf.
You can accept an insurance company’s initial offer and avoid using a personal injury attorney, but you risk running out of money before you’ve fully recovered.
How long does it take to file a claim?
The claim itself does not take long to file. However, the reason that lawyers often delay filing a claim is to properly assess the case. If they rush their investigation of the facts, the defense may exploit an error to push for a lower settlement amount. While pursuing a claim through a lawyer may take longer, it usually results in a much higher settlement amount.
When should I see a doctor after a car accident?
You should see a doctor as close to the time the accident occurred as possible. Even if you don’t feel like you need to see a doctor because you feel fine, it’s important to recognize that some injuries take longer to manifest. Whether you are transported to the hospital and are attended to by the emergency room physicians or you see your primary care physician the next day, this will establish a baseline for your injuries, which will help with your medical recovery and your claim.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
While you will never have to pay out of pocket before Wattel & York settles your case, there is a fee for our services. We collect these fees at the end of your case once it’s settled. Contingency fees can range from 30 – 40 percent and are outlined in the contingency fee agreement. An injury law firm can justify its fees by pointing out that personal injury claims handled by law firms typically garner much higher settlements and jury awards.
If you have any questions about how contingency fees are assessed, we encourage you to ask them during your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.
Can I get compensation for pain and suffering?
In some cases, we will seek compensation for pain and suffering in an auto accident case. It doesn’t matter if you’re injuries are very severe or if you are permanently disabled or disfigured.
Pain and suffering can be hard to prove, so it is important to talk to a mental health professional and have them write you a report. It is also a good idea to keep a journal about your daily life and how it has changed since your accident.
Tuscon Car Accident Lawyers Representing Victims
Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law, has been recovering compensation for car accident victims for years. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients on a contingency basis. We recognize the traumatic impact that accident injuries can have on your life. We will focus on helping you with your financial recovery while you focus on your physical recovery. Contact our Tucson, AZ office for a free consultation. We only accept payment if we win your case through a settlement or court award.
What Sets Us Apart?
If you are looking for an experienced lawyer to handle a serious car accident case, Wattel & York is the best firm to call. Our firm is the recipient of many awards, including:
- Lawyers of Distinction
- American Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys
- Client Champion Silver
David Wattel has been an injury lawyer for 30 years and is a sought-after speaker at professional auto mechanics gatherings. He trains doctors on how to write medical reports that can be used in court.
Michael York is a leader in personal injury law in Arizona and a founding partner and has made major contributions to changing auto accident laws in Arizona. He has decades of experince in injury law and has a proven track record of winning compensation for his clients.
Call Wattel and York today!