Statistics show that the average American spends more than 90 minutes every day behind the wheel. And while many of us see driving as routine, the amount of time we spend driving, plus the growing number of vehicles sharing the road in Phoenix, adds up to the likelihood of eventually being involved in an accident. In fact, estimates suggest that, over the course of a typical driving career, drivers will be involved in a total of three to four accidents. What this all means is, you will most likely be involved in at least one motor vehicle accident at some point in your life, and that is why it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a driver in Phoenix, especially if the accident is caused by someone else’s negligence. If you have been injured in a Phoenix motor vehicle accident, and you believe another person or party is at fault for the accident, do not hesitate to seek qualified legal representation. Contact our legal team at Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC today to discuss your options for legal recourse.
Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
No matter how safe you are when you drive, you have no control over the actions of the other passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles traveling on Phoenix’s busy roads, and if anyone of these drivers acts in a negligent or careless manner behind the wheel, the consequences can be catastrophic for anyone involved. When you lose a loved one or sustain serious injuries in a Phoenix motor vehicle accident, your physical and emotional health and your financial well-being are all on the line, and our personal injury attorneys are here to help guide you through the process of seeking maximum compensation for your losses. It is our top priority to take the stress of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim off of your shoulders so you can concentrate on recuperating from your injuries, and when you hire our Phoenix motor vehicle accident attorneys, we will make your claim a simple and painless as possible.
Phoenix Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles
A motor vehicle is defined as any kind of motorized, self-propelled vehicle used for the transportation of people or cargo, and this can include everything from road vehicles, such as cars, trucks and buses, to off-road vehicles, such as construction and farming equipment. Some of the most common types of accidents involving motor vehicles that take place in Phoenix include the following:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Train accidents
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Every year in Arizona, thousands of people are injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents. In 2017 alone, there were 127,064 motor vehicle accidents in Arizona, resulting in 55,474 injuries and 1,000 fatalities. According to reports, 31% of these fatalities were caused by alcohol-related crashes, but this is just one example of someone’s negligent actions ruining lives. The following are some common causes of motor vehicle accidents in Phoenix:
- Negligent drivers – When another motorist fails to obey traffic laws or drives in an unsafe or unreasonable manner, and his or her negligence causes you injury or harm, you can hold the driver liable for your damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
- Defective car or car parts – As drivers, we assume that our vehicles will operate in the way they are meant to, but if a car or car part is dangerous or defective, a serious accident can occur. If you are injured in a Phoenix motor vehicle accident caused by a defective car or car part, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company responsible for manufacturing, designing, selling or marketing the car or car part.
- Dangerous road conditions or poor road design – In some cases of Phoenix motor vehicle accidents, a collision occurs because of a poorly designed road or a dangerous road condition. If this is the case, you may be able to hold the government entity responsible for designing or maintaining the roadway accountable for your injuries.
Injuries Resulting from Motor Vehicle Accidents
Serious motor vehicle accidents can be devastating for injured victims and their family members, not just during the days or weeks immediately following the accident, but for the months or even years afterwards that they are left to struggle with chronic pain and costly medical bills, compounded by the fact that they may no longer be able to earn a living and support their family. If you suffered any of the following injuries or harm in a Phoenix motor vehicle accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the person or party found at fault in the collision:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Permanent scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent disability
- Loss of limb
- Internal bleeding
- Severe lacerations
- Permanent disfigurement
- Damage to internal organs
- Brain damage
- Road rash
- Wrongful death
Establishing Fault in a Phoenix Motor Vehicle Accident
Generally speaking, any time there has been a motor vehicle accident, someone is to blame, and proving this fact is the key to obtaining the monetary damages you are entitled to. Arizona is a fault-based state, which means victims of Phoenix motor vehicle accidents must prove fault on the part of the person that caused the accident in order to recover compensation for their injuries and other losses. The majority of motor vehicle accident claims in Phoenix are based on the concept of negligence, or a person or party’s failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another. Under Arizona law, establishing fault in a motor vehicle accident means your attorney must prove the following elements of negligence:
- The person against whom you are filing a claim (the defendant) owed you a legal duty to act in a reasonable manner to avoid causing you harm (i.e. to obey traffic laws and drive carefully),
- The defendant breached his or her duty by acting in an unreasonable manner (i.e. by running a red light or driving recklessly),
- The defendant’s negligence directly caused your injuries, and
- You incurred damages that the court can compensate you for.
Proving these four elements of fault may seem pretty straightforward, especially if only two people are involved in an accident and one person is obviously at fault, but not all motor vehicle accidents are so black and white. In fact, many motor vehicle accidents in Phoenix involve multiple parties, and if this is the case, each defendant is liable for his or her degree of fault in causing the accident. For example, if another motorist runs a red light and hits you, you may think that the motorist is 100% at fault for your accident. However, if your car’s brakes also failed and prevented you from stopping in time to avoid the collision, the company that manufactured the car or the car brakes may share blame in the accident.
Arizona’s Law of Comparative Negligence
In some Phoenix motor vehicle accidents, the injured victim filing the claim for compensation is also partly to blame for the accident. Say in the above example, you were speeding when the accident occurred, and you are therefore found to be 20% at fault for the accident and the injuries you sustained. Fortunately for you, Arizona follows the law of pure comparative negligence, which means you can still recover damages for your injuries and losses, even if you are 99% at fault for the accident, but your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, if your damages amount to $100,000 and you are determined to be 20% at fault for the accident, your total award will be reduced by $20,000. Other states follow the law of contributory negligence, which is a harsher law that prevents injured victims from collecting _any _damages if they contributed to their own injuries in any way. When it comes to injured victims pursuing compensation for injuries caused by an accident for which they are partly to blame, the law in Arizona is far more favorable.
Pursuing Compensation for Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Recovering adequate compensation in the aftermath of a serious motor vehicle accident is the first step on the path to recovery. Whether the accident is a minor fender-bender or as serious as a driver blowing through a stop sign and T-boning your car, someone is to blame for causing the collision, and that person should be made to pay for your damages. Generally speaking, you may be entitled to damages for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, vehicle loss, property damage, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, funeral and burial costs, and other losses related to the accident. When it comes to pursuing the compensation you deserve for a Phoenix motor vehicle accident, you typically have two options to recover monetary damages for the injuries or losses you incurred. You can either attempt to reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company or, if you can’t come to terms on a settlement, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and obtain your compensation in court.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
When a Phoenix driver acts in a careless or negligent manner and causes an accident in which you are injured, your first course of action will likely be to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Based on the available evidence, the insurance carrier may offer you a settlement in exchange for you waiving your right to file a lawsuit in court, and only a skilled personal injury attorney can tell you if the settlement is fair based on the circumstances of your case. If the at-fault driver in the accident that caused your injuries does not have auto insurance or if his or her coverage is not sufficient to compensate you for your injuries and losses, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, so long as you carry uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. If the amount of money the insurance company initially offers is not acceptable, your attorney can attempt to negotiate a more reasonable settlement.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may think that by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or your own insurer after a Phoenix motor vehicle accident, you can recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. However, insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests; they are more worried about protecting their bottom line than they are about offering you fair compensation, and they will attempt to pay out as little as they possibly can for Phoenix car accident claims. If your attorney is unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, your best bet for obtaining the compensation you deserve may be to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue your damages in court.
Contact Our Phoenix Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys Today
As you can see, motor vehicle accident cases can become complicated quickly, and unless you have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side when filing a claim, you could end up losing your case or agreeing to settle your claim for less than it is worth. While some of the losses resulting from a Phoenix motor vehicle accident may be relatively easy to calculate, like medical expenses and lost wages, other losses are not so easily quantifiable. For instance, how do you gauge the extent of your pain and suffering after an accident, or the emotional impact that losing a loved one will have on you and the members of your family? Our attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC have years of experience handling motor vehicle claims in Phoenix and the surrounding area, and we can help you determine the value of your claim, so you don’t settle for less than you deserve. Our main goal at Personal Injury Attorneys is to help you obtain a fair and timely settlement outside of court, but if maximum recovery isn’t possible, we are prepared to take your case to trial.