A motor vehicle accident is among the most disruptive events that can happen to you. The potential consequences of a car accident include personal injuries, damage to your vehicle, loss of transport, loss of income, or a disability affecting your ability to earn an income.
Unfortunately, many car accidents occur because of the negligent conduct of other road users – for example, failing to obey the rules of the road or driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you have suffered damages due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to claim fair compensation. Our Mesa car accident lawyer at Bryson Law Firm, PLC can provide you with all the legal advice and representation you need to pursue a claim for compensation after a car accident.
Don’t take on a car accident claim on your own. Call us today at 480-813-0444 to schedule an initial consultation so we can start working on your claim.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Various factors can contribute to road accidents, such as inclement weather, animals crossing the road, or sinkholes. However, in many cases, a car crash is the result of someone’s negligence. Below, we discuss some of the common forms of negligence causing motor vehicle accidents.
- Speeding: Driving at high speeds is dangerous because the vehicle requires more space to stop. The driver also needs a quicker reaction time to identify and avoid hazards, and a speeding car is more difficult to control.
- Disobeying the rules of the road: Drivers checking their phones, tailgating other cars, and skipping red lights are all examples of negligent driving that can cause car accidents.
- Drunk driving: Drivers have a duty of care to ensure that they don’t get behind the wheel of their car while under the influence of alcohol. Even though alcohol consumption affects a person’s accountability, a reasonable person is expected to understand that drinking and driving can put others in danger.
- Driver fatigue: When the driver gets behind their car’s wheel, and they didn’t get sufficient sleep, they increase their risk of an accident. A typical example of driver fatigue is trucking companies forcing their drivers to make several long-distance deliveries within a short period. When these drivers are involved in accidents, their employers might be liable.
- Insufficient vehicle maintenance: Failing to replace worn tires, wiper blades, and suspension may constitute negligence and increase a driver’s risk of causing an accident.
- Insufficient road maintenance: State and local governments are responsible for maintaining roads. If a pothole causes an accident, the party responsible for repairing the pothole may be liable.
When Filing a Lawsuit Is Necessary
In most cases, the parties involved in a motor vehicle accident settle the matter with their insurance company. When this happens, nobody files a lawsuit or continues with a trial before a court.
However, some circumstances warrant a lawsuit to pursue fair compensation for the damages you suffered after a car accident. For example, suppose an accident resulted in wrongful death or left you or a loved one with severe injuries or a long-term disability. In this case, you may not receive all the compensation you need for damages, such as loss of companionship or loss of the ability to earn an income.
You may also need to file a lawsuit if the insurance adjuster fails to provide reasonable compensation or depreciates your coverage, which prevents you from seeking the medical care you need to recover from your injuries.
In the above cases, you need the legal solutions of a reputable Mesa car accident lawyer. At Bryson Law Firm, PLC, we go the extra mile to protect your rights. Our injury law attorneys will negotiate with insurance providers on your behalf to help you claim the compensation you require to recover from the car accident and move forward with your life.
The Types of Compensation You Can Claim After a Motor Vehicle Accident
The damages from a car accident can be comprehensive. In the case of a severe accident, you may need immediate medical care, long-term therapy, and rehabilitation. You also need to replace or repair your car. If the accident left you disabled, you might no longer be able to earn an income and require long-term financial support for you and your dependents.
Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay full compensation for damages in personal injury claims. As experienced personal injury attorneys, we have extensive experience with the methods insurance companies use to reduce compensation amounts, and we will negotiate with them for a reasonable settlement.
If the insurer is unwilling to pay full compensation, we can move forward with a personal injury lawsuit, claiming compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages have a monetary value and include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning ability
- Vehicle damage
Non-economic damages are subjective and don’t have a monetary value. These types of damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
When filing an insurance claim, your policy limits impact your award amount, and you can’t claim compensation exceeding the at-fault driver’s coverage. However, when filing a lawsuit, these limits don’t apply.
Wrongful Death Claims
Under Arizona law, survivors such as spouses, children, and parents may seek compensation for losses arising from the death of a loved one. If your close family member died during an accident, you might be eligible to recover compensation from the at-fault party. These damages include:
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant
- Grief and mental anguish
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income and future income
- Loss of benefits or inheritance
- Loss of care or protection
- Loss of consortium and companionship
If a car accident results in the loss of a loved one, our personal injury attorneys at Bryson Law Firm, PLC can help you pursue compensation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Arizona State Law: Comparative Negligence and the Statute of Limitations
In some cases, a motor vehicle accident is the result of two or more parties’ negligence. For example, if you drive over the speed limit, you may not be able to avoid a hazard resulting from another party’s negligence, such as a pothole. In this case, under Arizona law, the rule of “comparative negligence” applies.
Using the comparative negligence rule, jurors assign a percentage to your level of fault and apply this to your compensation claim. For example, if you are 10% responsible for an accident, your claim amount will be 10% lower.
Statute of Limitations
Under Arizona state law, a personal injury victim has two years from the date they sustain an injury to file a compensation claim. If you wait longer than two years, you are no longer eligible to claim for damages.
The exception to this rule is if the injury takes a long time to present symptoms, in which case the statute of limitations starts on the date you discover the injury.
Proving Liability After a Car Crash
For your compensation claim to be successful, you need to prove that the other party was negligent and that their negligence was the cause of your damages.
Your claim should include the following elements:
- Duty of care: The other party had an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner that ensures the safety of other road users.
- Breach of duty: The other party failed to exercise their duty of care, and a “reasonable person” would have foreseen and taken steps to avoid the accident in a similar situation.
- Damages: You suffered damages in the form of personal injury, monetary loss, or emotional harm.
- Causation: Your damages are the result of the other party’s negligence.
In some cases, the chain of causation can be complex. For example, suppose the ambulance taking an injured person to the hospital is in a collision, and the patient on board the ambulance dies. Is the at-fault party responsible for the person’s death? Various legal rules determine the presence of the above elements.
At Bryson Law Firm, PLC, our personal injury attorneys have the legal expertise and experience to deal with complex cases, including accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists, and trucks.
What to Do After You Were in a Car Accident
If you were in a motor vehicle accident, don’t drive away, even if the accident seems like a minor fender bender. Taking the steps below will ensure the best possible outcome for your health and potential claim.
- Seek medical treatment: The first step is to seek emergency medical care. Even if you feel okay, you could have a late-onset concussion, internal bleeding, or another injury that is not apparent. Seeking immediate medical care also makes it easier to prove your injuries and causation when filing a claim. If you wait too long before seeking medical care, the at-fault party or their insurer may downplay your injuries.
- Call the police: After seeking medical treatment for an emergency, the next step is calling the police, who will visit the scene and complete a report. If you don’t have injuries that are immediately apparent, you should contact the police before leaving the scene to get medical care. You may need the police report to file a claim with the insurance company. Don’t move the vehicles that were involved in the accident unless they disrupt traffic.
- Take pictures and exchange information: If you have a phone or camera, take pictures of the vehicles’ positions and the damage to your vehicle. If possible, take pictures of your injuries as well.
Get the names, contact details, and addresses of the people involved in the accident and any witnesses.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Contact your insurance company to report the accident once you have the police report and other relevant information.
- Schedule a consultation with your attorney: If your insurance company doesn’t offer to pay the full amount of your claim, the next step is scheduling a consultation with your Mesa car accident lawyer. At Bryson Law Firm, PLC, our personal injury attorneys are standing by to provide you with professional legal representation.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Dealing with the repercussions of an accident can be challenging and stressful, especially if you also need to deal with severe injuries or the loss of a loved one. You may not have the energy or time to deal with unwilling insurance companies or the at-fault party’s legal representative.
By hiring our legal team at Bryson Law Firm, PLC, you partner with professionals who have the qualifications, skills, and experience to help you pursue fair compensation. We offer a wide range of legal solutions, and our attorneys will:
- Consult with you to discuss the matter in-depth
- Conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence relating to the case
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company to pay your compensation
If the insurance company doesn’t cooperate, we will prepare your personal injury lawsuit. Then, we will draw up a complaint, file it with the civil court, and serve it on the defendant. During the pre-trial phase, we will correspond with the defendant and their attorney on your behalf and represent you in court and during settlement conferences.
Our objective is always to reach a favorable settlement before trial so that you can focus on recovery and living a normal life.
Call Us to Schedule a Consultation
After sustaining an injury in a car accident, you have two years to file a compensation claim. Taking early action and working with a Mesa car accident lawyer is critical to resolving the matter as soon as possible.
At Bryson Law Firm, PLC, we can help you calculate all past and future expenses resulting from the accident, determining a fair compensation amount to claim. Then, our team will consult with you and help you navigate the claims process, reducing the stress and uncertainty of this legal process.
Partnering with us increases your chances of a successful outcome, and it will free up your time to focus on recovering from your injuries.
Don’t wait before claiming compensation for damages due to another’s negligent conduct. Call us today at 480-813-0444 to schedule an initial consultation.