Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents in Phoenix
At Cruz & Associates, we understand the stress and confusion that comes after you experience a vehicle accident. Our team of experienced lawyers are here to answer all of your auto accident questions and help provide clarity during this difficult time. Whether you’re dealing with a truck, car, motorcycle, or another vehicle-related case, you can contact our local Phoenix office for more specific advice related to your situation. We speak Spanish and English, and your first consultation is free. In the meantime, here are some of the most frequently asked questions people have after experiencing an auto accident:
What should I do after a car accident?
The most important thing to do immediately after an accident is to stop your car and remain at the scene. The law requires you to stay at the scene of an accident until the police arrive and get the evidence they need for a report. You or the other party involved should always call the police to come to the scene of an accident. This protects you by having an objective report of the scene and the facts involved. Should the other driver later claim injury or damages, the police report can back up your side of the events.
If you believe that the accident caused you any kind of injury, even if it feels like minimal back or neck pain, seek medical attention immediately. However, even if you don’t feel hurt, you should see a doctor soon anyway. Often, the symptoms of injuries from car accidents are not readily apparent to untrained personnel until hours after an accident. Having a medical exam will protect you from greater suffering resulting from delayed treatment, as well as establish that the injuries you suffered were a result of the accident which could be important if you choose to take legal action. It is also important to exchange information with the other driver including:
- Name and contact information of the driver
- Name and contact information of the driver’s auto insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Make, model and color of the vehicle, as well as the license plate number
Make sure you receive a copy of the police report from the accident as this is important in order to build your case. It is also helpful to take pictures of the accident scene, this can provide valuable evidence of the exact conditions at the time of the accident.
Who is considered at fault for a car accident in Arizona?
Arizona follows a fault-based system when it comes to accidents, so liability does need to be proven. You can do this by gathering reports, information and evidence. It’s highly recommended to work with an attorney who knows what is needed to prove liability in personal injury and auto accident cases. We’ll then make a case that the person responsible for the accident should be ordered to pay for the damages.
If both parties are partly at fault, Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence system, which means that the case will be decided based on the total cost of damages and the percentage of fault. For example, if the damages award is set at $100,000 and it’s determined you are 30% responsible for the accident, then you are entitled to $70,000 or 70% of the total amount. Even if you are more responsible than the other party, you are still entitled to compensation for damages.
This can be used as a guide in court and with claim adjustments.
Can I pursue an accident claim even if the other driver has no auto insurance?
Even though it is required by law for all drivers to have auto insurance, unfortunately not everyone abides by this law. Because of this, a lot of people wonder if they can file a claim even if the other party is uninsured. The answer to this is yes you can file a claim and your insurance company will cover all or partial costs of the accident depending on your coverage. You shouldn’t have to suffer or lose any money simply because the other party involved was not properly insured.
Because there is a fine line between underinsured and uninsured drivers, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney that can make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve after your accident. Even if you are not taking legal action against the other driver involved, you should still consult an attorney to make sure any settlement offer being discussed is fair and equal to what you lost.
Do I need to call my insurance company after an accident?
Yes, it’s generally a good idea to notify your insurance company after an accident. In fact, many insurance companies require this. It’s important to be aware of your words and careful of what you are saying, though. If you’d prefer, one of our lawyers can handle this call on your behalf. The insurance company will likely be recording the call and they may attempt to prove that you were at fault, even if you weren’t.
The compensation you deserve and the compensation the insurance company will initially offer often don’t line up. They’ll likely go for the minimum amount, so be aware of that. Insurance companies are not specifically on your side, so yes it’s important to notify them but be cautious when you do.
How long can I wait to file an auto accident lawsuit?
When filing accident lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations meaning you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim before your incident “expires.” In the state of Arizona, that statute of limitations is up to two years from the day of the accident. It is best to file the claim or lawsuit as soon as the accident happens, but sometimes injuries do not show themselves until months later. If this is the case, the lawsuit needs to be filed as soon as possible after the injury is diagnosed, as long as it is within that two year time frame.
What are the most common injuries with auto accidents?
Car accident injuries can vary because of the different types of collisions that occur when immense force is applied rapidly. Generally, the most common injury will involve either the neck, back or spine. Other injuries we often see include broken bones, bruising and contusions, whiplash, and injuries to the brain such as concussions and TBIs.
How long will it take to settle my car accident case?
This is one of the most common questions about an auto accident case we hear from clients. Generally, from the time we become involved, our auto accident cases in Arizona can take anywhere between several months to a few years to settle. Every case is different. For a more accurate estimate, you can schedule your consultation with our team to go over the specific details of your situation.
Contact Cruz & Associates for a Free Legal Consultation in Phoenix
After a car accident, you need someone representing you who puts your interests first. Our attorneys are available anytime, day or night, because we understand that your need for legal counsel doesn’t always occur during regular business hours. We provide a free initial consultation and will advise you on what fair compensation you may be entitled to after an accident.
If you have any further questions about your auto accident case, contact us today. You can call Cruz & Associates at (602) 777-6666 or fill out our online form, and we’ll begin working to help you maximize the compensation you deserve and get your life back on track.