Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can happen anywhere in Phoenix. You might be rear-ended in the Post Office parking lot, sideswiped on the freeway, or T-boned at any of the intersections across the city. Car accidents cause serious pain, often requiring weeks if not months away from work, and cause even larger problems.
Motor vehicle accidents are truly disruptive. As more people are drawn to the beautiful city, more people are also out on the roads. In the past decade alone, an auto accident involving cars has increased by 50 percent.
Fortunately, accident victims in Phoenix have avenues for receiving compensation, but they would benefit from the professional legal assistance of one of our Phoenix car accident attorneys. Our personal injury lawyer can help you claim the full and fair settlement you are entitled to.
At The Karnas Law Firm, our Phoenix car accident lawyers provide aggressive, justice-driven legal representation to injured victims. We have the skills and experience to maximize your financial compensation. Contact us at our Phoenix law office today for a free, fully confidential consultation.
We Help Clients with the Full Range of Injuries
The forces generated by moving vehicles are incredible, even at relatively low speeds. Car accident victims can suffer traumatic injuries even if buckled in and even if their airbags deploy. Some common car accident injuries are: concussions, brain injuries, neck injuries strains, sprains, and contusions. Our personal injury attorney has also seen chest injuries, organ damage, lacerations, bone fractures, back injuries and spinal cord damage. Some injuries are immediately apparent. However, concussions and back injuries might take days before they fully present themselves. Whenever you feel pain following a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately contact the doctor. Some symptoms, like intense headaches, are cause for concern. Your injuries could quickly turn fatal if you do not receive swift assistance.
Car Accident Claims Tip #1:
Make sure you get immediate medical attention after a serious accident. Not only is doing so crucial for your health and well-being, it is a required step in the car accident claims process in Arizona. If you do not see a doctor, you will not be able to get the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve.
A Settlement is Possible in Phoenix, AZ!
At Karnas Law, we have helped many auto accident victims gain maximum compensation from an insurance company and/or the responsible party. Over the years, we have developed strategies for improving our client's chances of getting meaningful compensation when someone injures them due to negligence.
Along with the injuries you sustain during a car accident, you will suffer many other losses, too. You may not be able to return to work right away. If you suffered catastrophic injuries, you may never be able to return to the same line of work again.
That could also mean not being able to earn the same amount of income you once did. When filing a claim, it is important to account for all of your losses. If you do not accurately value your claim and you learn you need to recover more compensation in the future, you will be unable to.
Our legal team is fully qualified to seek money damages for:
- Medical care
- Future medical care
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Damage to property
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible losses
The key to receiving compensation is to fully document your losses. This might mean creating a box to store all your medical bills, insurance statements, and prescription drug receipts. You can also include any repair estimates for your car and pay stubs to show how much income you lost.
When it comes to pain, suffering, and other losses, work with your lawyer. Our Phoenix auto accident attorneys can help you document how pain has disrupted your life. We might advise you to keep a pain journal or have family members write statements describing your struggles following an accident.
Some of the above damages are easier to value than others. For example, you may know the amount of weekly wages you lost while you were in the hospital. You may not know, however, the formula to use when calculating pain and suffering, which does not have a concrete dollar value. A Phoenix car accident lawyer will know how to identify all of your losses and accurately value them so you claim the full damages you deserve.
Common Car Accident Myths
A tremendous amount of misinformation exists on the internet. Many clients come to us with mistaken beliefs about the car accident settlement process. We are happy to provide correct information to anyone seeking it. Some of the more common myths are:
- You can’t receive compensation for a hit and run. This is false. It’s often possible to receive money even if a driver flees. We can usually make a claim on an uninsured motorist policy, if you have it. There might be other ways to get bills paid and your car repaired without ever finding the at-fault driver.
- If you hit a car, you’re always at fault. This isn’t true, either. It might usually be the case that the car which hit another car is at fault. But we really need to analyze the facts. For example, if someone pulled out directly in front of you, then they are at fault for the crash—even if you slammed into them.
- It’s better to negotiate your own settlement than pay attorneys’ fees. In our experience, the opposite is true. Few victims really understand the true value of their claim. Consequently, they settle for too little money and end up with large, uncompensated expenses. With us on your team, we can negotiate for maximum compensation.
- No car accident case ever goes to trial. This is partially true—car accident trials are rare. But rare doesn’t mean impossible. Sometimes, a trial is the only way to resolve disputes surrounding the fault. We know our way around a courtroom and can present your case forcefully to a jury.
- You don’t have to call the police for a parking lot accident. This is false! You should call the police for any accident that causes meaningful damage or injuries. Call: it’s the safe thing to do.
Car accidents are complicated. You do not have to figure out everything about the law and the legal claims process alone. A Phoenix auto accident attorney can help. To get accurate information, contact Karnas Law today. We offer a free consultation where we can go over your case with you.
A Comprehensive Explanation of the Car Accident Liability Laws in Arizona
Involved in a motor vehicle accident in Phoenix? One of the very first things that you need to know about the legal claims process is that car accident claims are almost always handled under state law. There are some important variations in the car accident laws from state-to-state. Even if you live somewhere else, a car accident in Phoenix falls under Arizona law. There are two key things that all injured motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists need to know about liability in Arizona.
- Liability is Based on Fault (Negligence): Fault Determines Liability in Arizona: Similar to the majority of U.S. states, Arizona operates under a fault-based standard of liability for car accident claims. Fault is determined based on negligence—and the party deemed at fault for the crash can be held liable for the resulting damages. For example, imagine a driver ran a red light and struck your car in Downtown Phoenix. A red light violation is negligence. That driver can be held at fault (liable) for the crash based on their negligent conduct.
- Comparative Negligence is Used to Apportion Fault: No all motor vehicle collisions involve a straightforward assignment of liability to one at-fault party. It is not uncommon for two (or even more) parties to share the blame for the same accident. Even an injured victim could be deemed partially at fault for their own crash based on their negligence. Arizona has a comparative negligence system to apportion liability A.R.S. § 12-2505. Imagine that the same driver ran a red light and struck your vehicle in downtown Phoenix. However, this time an investigation revealed that the fact that you were speeding was a contributing factor to the accident. Speeding is also negligence. You are assigned 20 percent blame for the collision. You would be held liable for 20 percent of your own damages. If you sustained $10,000 in total damages, you could still seek $8,000 from the at-fault driver who ran the red light. However, you would be liable for the remaining $2,000 (20 percent).
Proving Liability After a Car Accident
Although under the law, you can file a claim for compensation, your word alone that the crash was someone else's fault is not enough. You must also prove your case. Proving your case first involves determining what caused your crash. There are many reasons car accidents occur, and they are as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield
- Improper lane changes
- Improper passing
- Fatigued driving
In some cases, it is not another driver that is at fault but another entity. A defective or improper road design can also cause a car accident. For example, if a busy intersection did not have any stop lights or stop signs, that could be considered a negligent road design that could cause an accident.
Defective car parts can also cause an accident. For example, if the braking systems on a car were defective, it may seem as though a driver was following too closely and failed to brake. It may only be found out later that the braking system on the car was actually defective. In these cases, the manufacturer would be liable for paying damages.
Once you have determined what caused your accident, you can then file a claim against the liable party. To do this, you must show that the other party owed you a duty of care to ensure you did not suffer harm, that they breached that duty of care by acting negligently, and that their negligence caused you injury and other losses. You must also prove the nature and extent of your injuries. This can be done through medical invoices, pay stubs for lost wages, and proof of any anxiety or depression you have suffered as a result of the crash.
Car Accident Claims Tip #2:
Every serious motor vehicle collision in Arizona requires a comprehensive investigation. A proactive investigation will help to ensure that key evidence is not lost. Consult with an experienced Phoenix, AZ auto accident lawyer right away after a crash.
Steps to Take after a Phoenix Car Accident
It’s perfectly understandable if you feel overwhelmed following an accident. Many motorists are in intense pain, while others cannot move at all. Nonetheless, if you can move around, we highly recommend that you take certain steps that will improve your chances of obtaining compensation. It’s not an exaggeration to say some cases are won or lost in the hours following a crash.
Here are some simple steps you should take following a wreck in Phoenix:
- Call the police to the accident scene so they can generate a police report. Your insurer will want to see a copy. A police report serves many purposes and can establish the date/time/location of the crash.
- Get medical attention if you need it immediately. Use your phone or ask someone to call for you. Call if anyone hurt at the scene needs an ambulance.
- Take pictures of the scene, if you can. Most people have a smartphone which they can use to get pictures of every vehicle involved in the crash. Try to get one picture of each side of the vehicles. This lets us see where the cars impacted each other. Take pictures of other things that seem relevant, like missing stop signs.
- Speak to witnesses and ask what they observed. Witnesses can be passengers in cars on the road, or they could be bystanders. Ask for their contact information in case they need to testify later.
- Refuse to accept responsibility for the accident. Your words might be used against you later. Although you can express concern for anyone hurt in the wreck, avoid saying anything that sounds like you are admitting fault for the crash.
- Go to the hospital or doctor when you are done at the accident scene.
The Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims
The personal injury process is governed by many different procedural rules and laws. One of the most important of these is the statute of limitations(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-542). The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file your claim. If you do not file within this time, you will lose your legal right to file a claim against the liable party and claim any damage at all.
In Arizona, you have only two years from the date of the car accident to file your claim. Although this sounds like a lot of time, it is not. Usually, accident victims are surprised to find how quickly time passes after a crash. For this reason, it is critical to speak to a Phoenix car accident lawyer who can provide the sound legal advice you need.
Car Accident Claims Tip #3:
The best way to deal with the statute of limitations is to ensure that it is not an issue in your case at all. Be proactive in initiating your claim. At the same time, there are some limited exceptions to the statute of limitations in Arizona, do not assume that your claim is time-barred without first consulting with an experienced Phoenix auto accident attorney.
When to Reach Out to a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
Many accident victims don’t know if they need an attorney following a car accident. Sometimes, it is possible to negotiate a settlement on your own without legal help, but it’s not advised in some situations. Whether to call a lawyer or not depends on many factors.
For example, take stock of the damage caused by the accident. If you only suffered car damage without physical injuries, then you can probably negotiate a settlement on your own. The value of car repairs is less subjective than determining the value of bodily pain. Odds are good that you could negotiate a fair settlement for your property damage.
Next, consider the extent of your bodily injuries. If they are truly minor—a few bruises or scrapes—then you might also be able to handle your own claim. Any moderate to serious injury, however, probably warrants a lawyer’s help. You should call an attorney if you incurred even a few thousand dollars in medical care.
Finally, you should also consider how comfortable you are handling paperwork and negotiating with giant insurers. Some people have a hard time standing up for themselves, so they should consult an attorney.
Most Car Accident Claims are Handled By Insurance Companies: Six Tips to Know
For the most part, auto accident injury claims are processed by commercial insurance companies. It could be your own insurance company, it could be another driver’s insurance provider, or it could be the insurer of a trucking company or other corporation. Regardless, it is crucial that you know how to handle the big insurance companies. Many injured victims end up running into problems in the claims process because they are not ready for insurers. Here are some actionable tips to help you navigate the insurance company and insurance adjusters after a vehicle collision in Phoenix, AZ:
- Know How Insurance Companies View Car Accident Claims: First and foremost, it is useful to understand that insurance companies are businesses. It is their aim to make a profit. Of course, one way they do this is by settling car accident claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Even when liability is clear, they may try to minimize the amount they pay out to you. They could even deny your claim altogether. Regardless, it is crucial that you remember that the big insurers are not on your side. They look out for their interests.
- Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement: You have the right to take your time, recover from your injuries, and organize your thoughts after a crash. You do not need to give an immediate statement. Yet, insurance companies may request a recorded statement from you about the details of the accident and your injuries within a few days (or weeks) of the crash. Not only are you not obligated to give such a statement, it is not in your best interests to answer any questions from insurance adjusters. Anything you say can be used against you later on in the claims process. You have the right to work through a Phoenix lawyer.
- Never Speculate About Your Crash or Your Injuries: When discussing the accident with the insurance company, it is important to avoid speculating about the cause of the crash or the extent of your injuries. Stick to the facts and avoid making assumptions or guesses. If you are unsure about something, it is better to say that you do not know rather than to speculate. No matter where you are in the legal claims process, speculating can get you into trouble.
- Do Sign a Full Release of Your Medical Records Without Legal Counsel: The insurance company may request a full release of your medical records. Why would they do this? The reason is that they are looking for any piece of information—perhaps something related to a pre-existing condition—that can be used to reduce their liability or even deny your claim. Your medical records can contain sensitive information, and releasing them to the insurance company can have unintended consequences. An attorney can help you understand the implications of releasing your medical records and advise you on the best course of action.
- Beware of a Quick (Low) Settlement Offer: Insurance companies are not eager to pay out full and fair settlement offers to victims and families. One common strategy that they use to try to resolve claims for less is leading with a quick—and unfairly low—settlement offer. These offers may not cover all of your expenses, and accepting one could limit your ability to seek additional compensation later on. Beware of the quick settlement offer. Make sure you understand your damages. If you are offered a settlement, it is best to consult with a Phoenix car accident lawyer who can help you understand the true value of your claim.
- Work With the Insurer Through a Phoenix Auto Accident Lawyer: Dealing with an insurance company after a car accident can be a complex and challenging process. These companies put an immense amount of resources into training their insurance adjusters to try to limit their own liability. The right Phoenix auto accident lawyer on your side can make all the difference. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, negotiate with the insurance company, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
Why You Should Choose Us
Car accident injury claims are complicated. After a serious crash, you undoubtedly want the very best attorney on your side. At Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, we are committed to going the extra mile to provide the highest quality of personalized representation to our clients. Of course, Phoenix has hundreds of lawyers who have handled car accident cases. What makes us stand out?
- We have represented clients in a variety of car accidents and understand the unique wrinkles of each.
- Our track record illustrates our passionate commitment to our clients’ wellbeing. We truly put our clients first and take pride fighting for the maximum compensation available in a case.
- We always negotiate with an eye toward what our clients can probably receive if they go to trial. We are unafraid to file a lawsuit if we do not think a settlement offer is fair.
- We provide compassionate representation to our clients. We recognize this is a stressful time and do not add to the stress by ignoring your calls or providing confusing information.
- Our team believes in open and clear communication. We take the time to explain your legal options so you can make an informed choice.
These are only some of the ways we have separated ourselves from the rest of the Phoenix legal community. Contact us if you have questions or want to learn more about how we help accident victims like you following a car crash.
Phoenix Car Accident FAQs
What if the police report states I am at fault?
Sometimes officers make a finding of fault. However, this is only their opinion. They don't have all the facts. Indeed, critical information sometimes comes out later which the officer has no way of knowing at the time they wrote the accident report. We can still seek compensation even if the officer believes you are at fault.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance adjusters?
We recommend that you wait until you hire our firm to represent you. These statements can be a little like a fishing expedition, with the insurance adjuster asking questions to show you are partially to blame for your injuries. Many of our clients are in intense pain when talking to the insurance companies, and it’s easy to say something you don’t mean because you didn’t hear the question properly or couldn’t think straight. If you hire us, we’ll sit beside you when you give your statement. We can clarify confusing questions and clarify your answers.
How much time do I have to sue?
Arizona has a statute of limitations, found atA.R.S. § 12-542. It gives accident victims two years to bring a lawsuit from the date of the crash.
Can I receive compensation if I am partially at fault for the crash?
Yes. Under Arizona law, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. So if you were 40% to blame for the crash, you will only receive 60% of the money you otherwise would. If your claim is worth $50,000, then the most you would receive is $30,000. Fault is sometimes disputed. A good Phoenix car accident lawyer can minimize your contribution.
What if my car was defective?
If you believe a defect caused a crash, you might sue the manufacturer. If a mechanic did shoddy repairs, you might also sue the mechanic. A question in cases like this, though, is whether you knew of the defect. If you did but chose to drive, then you bear some fault for the collision.
What if a defective or dangerous road led to the collision?
In some situations, you can sue the government for a poorly maintained road. For example, you might have lost control when you hit a pothole, or the shoulder was uneven or even crumbling. Other road defects include missing or obscured signs, missing road markers, or defective guardrails. The state of Arizona and its municipalities are usually immune from a lawsuit. But there are exceptions that often apply for car accidents. Contact us to analyze whether you can sue.
Can I sue the government if a state or city worker hit me?
Yes. In most cases, an employer is automatically liable for an accident if their employee was driving negligently for work. The key is whether they were actually working. If not, then they are no different than any other motorist on the road. But if they were traveling for their job, then you can probably sue the employer.
Can I sue if a loved one died in a car accident?
Yes. Arizona has a wrongful death statute for this situation. Certain survivors have the right to sue—spouse, children, parents, or a legal representative of any of them. When no one survives, then the estate can bring the claim. A wrongful death provides compensation for certain damages, such as funeral burial expenses and the income a deceased would have earned.
Can I receive compensation if the driver who hit me fled the scene?
Possibly. If you have uninsured motorist insurance, you can typically use that policy for a claim. There are other options, such as using collision insurance to pay to fix your car.
Can I post about my car accident or my injuries on social media?
You should not post about your crash on social media. While certainly not illegal to do so, it recommended that you avoid posts about your car accident or your injuries on social media. Insurance companies can access your social media profiles and use any information you share to dispute your claim or minimize the amount they pay out. From a legal perspective, everything on social media could potentially be used as evidence in your case. Posts can be taken out of context and used against you. Wait until your Phoenix, AZ car accident claim is fully resolved.
You Can Always Afford a Top-Rated Phoenix Auto Accident Attorney (Contingency Fee)
Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, is a top-rated Phoenix auto accident attorney offering contingency fee services to victims and families. How does this type of arrangement work? It means you pay nothing upfront or out of your own pocket. Our clients only pay a fee when we win their case. With the expertise and experience that you can trust, we will fight for the compensation you deserve. Don't let financial concerns prevent you from seeking legal representation. We offer free, no obligation, and comprehensive consultation to car accident victims in Phoenix and throughout the surrounding area in Maricopa County. Do not settle for less, choose the best.
Call Our Phoenix Car Accident Attorneys Now
A car accident will cause serious injuries and other losses and you deserve compensation for all of them. Unfortunately, obtaining it is not usually as easy as it should be. At Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, our experienced car accident attorney will determine who is liable for your injuries, and hold them accountable for paying the full and fair settlement you are justly entitled to. Call us now at 602.402.5207 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys and to learn more about your legal options. With an office in Phoenix, we represent car accident victims in Maricopa County and throughout the surrounding region in Arizona.
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