It is always a frightening experience to be involved in a car accident in Arizona. Without the proper knowledge about the statute of limitations and state auto accident laws, you may not receive the compensation you are entitled to for damages to your vehicle, medical expenses and damages. Arizona car accident laws can be confusing and difficult to understand, which is why the personal injury lawyers at SGP Law in Mesa have come up with a list of some frequently asked questions to help you be prepared in a worst-case scenario.
What are the first steps I should take if I am involved in a car accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident that results in damage to a vehicle or injury to an individual, auto accident law in Arizona (ARS-28-661) mandates that you stop immediately and move out of the way of other motorists if possible. You must administer aid to anyone involved in the accident that may require medical attention, which includes calling 911. It is important to never move anyone who may been have been struck by a vehicle or thrown from a vehicle unless there is an immediate danger of fire.
Car accident reports must be filed with the governing police department where the accident occurred if the accident involved any injuries (ARS-28-667). Make sure to exchange information with any other individuals involved in the accident including your name, address, driver’s license number, car registration number, and license plate number (ARS-28-663). Take pictures of the damages to vehicles involved, the scene of the accident and any injuries you may have sustained.
What constitutes as “damages?”
Arizona personal injury laws allow you to collect compensation for both economic and non-economic damages that include:
- Medical bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Mental anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Discomfort and disfigurement
- Deprivation of a loved one
How is compensation for damages determined?
Compensation is typically awarded based on the at-fault party’s wrongdoing or negligence. The amount of compensation you are awarded is dependent upon the amount of damages and who is at fault in the car accident.
How is fault determined in Arizona?
Fault is assigned on a comparative basis in Arizona car accident laws. This means that every individual involved in the accident is given a percentage amount for the part that they played in the incident. The percentage of fault you are assigned is then deducted from the total amount of damages paid out. If you are assigned a 10 percent fault on a $100,000 payout, you would be entitled to $90,000 in damages.
Who determines fault percentages for Arizona car accident victims?
It is an insurance adjuster’s job to determine who is at fault in a car accident based upon the circumstances of the incident. Contributing factors in this decision include traffic laws and other influencing factors such as weather conditions. In the vast majority of car accident cases in Mesa, Arizona, a skilled lawyer can lower your fault percentage through careful negotiations. Lawsuits are typically only filed if a lawyer cannot achieve a lower fault percentage for their client. Simply filing a lawsuit can oftentimes result in a lower fault percentage or improved settlement proposals.
How long do I have to pursue a personal injury claim in Arizona after a car accident occurs?
It may be necessary to file a lawsuit should your lawyer be unable to reach a settlement with the insurance adjuster or with the other individuals involved in the accident. The statute of limitations on your case depends on what type of car accident laws you are challenging. Negligence cases must be filed within two years of the injury you sustained, while cases against a city, state or county must be filed within 180 days of the incident. Check with your personal injury lawyer for statute of limitation laws in Mesa and throughout Arizona.
Auto accident laws can be confusing and intimidating. The car accident lawyers at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience PLC in Mesa, Arizona, encourage all victims to contact their professional and experienced team to take steps towards winning the compensation they deserve for their damages. For more information and a free consultation, reach out to SGP Law today.