Few things are as traumatic as being involved in a car crash. Even if you are not hurt, there is the fear and uncertainty the accident leaves in its wake.
If you are injured in the crash, the results can be far worse. You may have to take time off for work or even take a leave of absence. You will have to deal with significant property damage, the cost of a rental car and and endless stream of medical bills. In many cases the best way to protect yourself from financial ruin is to pursue an accident claim. Here are some key things you need to know about filing a car accident claim in the state of Arizona.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Arizona?
The statute of limitations for car accident claims depends on the nature of the accident. For standard car accidents you have two years from the date of the crash to file your claim. If the driver is uninsured or under-insured the statute of limitations is three years.
If the other driver involved in the crash is a police officer or other public official, the statute of limitations is much shorter. In such a case you have only six months to file your paperwork and a single year to file any lawsuit.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Death in Arizona Car Crashes?
Nearly 800 drivers and passengers were killed in vehicular crashes in 2014, and the statistics for other years have been largely the same. Crashes have risen and fallen as the number of people taking to the roads has changed, but vehicle accidents remain a significant cause of death for Arizona residents.
The injuries caused by these car crashes varies depending on the nature and severity of the crash, but head trauma, brain damage and blunt force trauma are some of the most frequently cited causes of death. It is significant to note that some 34 percent of fatalities involved people who were not wearing available safety devices – i.e. seat-belts for drivers and helmets for motorcyclists. Single vehicle crashes accounted for an out-sized number of fatalities – 37 percent of all fatal car crashes involved a single vehicle, compared to just 17 percent of all crashes.
How Do Car Accident Injury Claims Work?
If you are involved in a car accident, you have a number of decisions to make. You have to decide how you will get back and forth to work, who will fix your car and who will pay for the repairs and how to collect for any out-of-pocket medical expenses you may incur.
You also need to decide if you will pursue a personal injury case against the other driver and their insurance company. If you were injured in the crash, retaining a car accident injury lawyer in Mesa Arizona is always a smart move.
Once the car accident injury case has been submitted, the insurance company will complete an investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible for the accident and to ascertain the extent of your injuries. If you have already sought medical care, you will want to retain all of your bills and documentation, as these items can be extremely valuable as your case moves forward.
The insurance company may make a settlement offer at any time during this process, but it is important to not talk to them directly. Instead, you should refer all calls from insurance company personnel to the attorney you have hired. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to determine the fair value for the injuries you have sustained and get you the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Car Crash?
If you are involved in a car accident, whether in Arizona or elsewhere, it is important to take the right steps. Becoming the victim of a car accident can be very traumatic, but you need to stay calm and take the steps outlined above. Doing so is the best way to protect your rights and preserve your ability to recover for your property damage, medical bills and pain and suffering. Here are the critical steps you need to take after a car crash.
- Make sure no one is hurt. Call an ambulance if there are any injuries.
- Record the license plate number, make and model of the other vehicle(s) involved in the crash.
- Get out your insurance card and offer it to the other driver. Ask the other driver for their insurance card and record the policy number, company name and the full name of the driver.
- Document the scene with lots of pictures. Take photos of the damage to each car and wide-angle shots of the place where the crash occurred. Be sure to document any signage in the area, including stop signs, red lights and yield signs.
- Make sure your car is drive-able and call for assistance if it is not. Contact the police and get a police report if anyone is injured or if one or more vehicles is disabled or not safe to drive.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the crash. Submit the pictures you took and the name and insurance information of the other driver.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights to recover damages. There is a limited amount of time to submit car accident claims in Mesa, Arizona, so it is important to act quickly.
How Do Experts Calculate Damages from Car Accidents?
A number of factors go into determining the value of a car accident injury settlement, and no two cases are the same. Even so, it its helpful to look at the things the experts take into consideration when valuing claims and determining settlement amounts.
One of the most significant factors in determining damages is your actual medical expenses. Medical expenses can be a good proxy for the severity of your injuries, and severe injuries typically translate into higher settlements.
Other factors that help determine the value of a car accident injury claim include lost wages for time away from work, property damage, loss of future earnings as a result of temporary or permanent disability and the estimated cost of future medical expenses.
Of course these are only guidelines, and it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case in detail and determine the extent and nature of your damages. Calling an attorney as soon as possible is the best way to preserve your rights and ensure you get the just compensation you deserve.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.