You deserve compensation when you suffer injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. A car accident can put a drain on your finances due to medical bills, vehicle damage and lost wages. The first step to receiving compensation is to meet with a Phoenix car accident lawyer.
The whole process may seem overwhelming, but there are helpful ways to prepare for the initial consultation.
How Complex Are Car Accident Cases in Arizona?
Arizona is a fault state. In the case of a car accident, at-fault drivers are responsible for the medical bills and damages. Instead of your insurance paying for your injuries, the other driver’s insurance pays out a settlement. However, it can be more complex when both drivers share a percentage of the fault.
Arizona has comparative fault laws. If the other driver is 100% responsible, you may receive complete compensation. However, if you were 40% negligent, you would receive 60% of the settlement. Examples of partial negligence may include speeding at the time of the collision or not wearing a seatbelt.
The complexity of your case depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Preparing for your consultation gives your lawyer a better chance at handling the complexity of your lawsuit.
What Should You Bring to Your Consultation With a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer?
For your lawyer to be successful, he or she needs sufficient support to prove that the other driver is at fault. The sooner the firm has your documents, the sooner the attorney can start the critical work on your case.
The first people to respond to an accident are typically the police. Cops assess the scene before preparing a police report. The information in the report is vital to your claim. The following information should be included:
- Traffic violations
- Involved party information
- Witness information
- Account of the incident
To obtain a copy of the police report, contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. Try to remember the name or badge number of the officer who responded. Other details in the report include the drivers’ names, location and date. If you have trouble obtaining a copy, we can get it for you.
After an accident, make your medical care the top priority. Even if you do not see any visible injuries, there are chances you sustained internal injuries or delayed symptoms. Following a collision, your adrenaline is high and it’s typical not to notice the extent of the damage. Conditions like whiplash may take up to 24 hours to uncover.
Your medical documents show the court what you sustained due to the collision. As soon as possible, have a medical examination. The medical records you bring to the Phoenix car accident lawyer should tell a story of your healthcare journey from diagnosis to where you are in your treatment.
There are various medical documents you should provide. Bring your hospital admission record, prescription documents and any treatments provided by your primary care doctors. Additionally, if you receive physical therapy, chiropractic care or other specialized treatments, keep those records to bring with you. Save receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses and further details.
Citations or Tickets
The majority of accidents occur due to human error. Common causes include:
- Alcohol impairment
If the officers believe a violation occurred, they will give the driver a ticket or citation. We can use the citation to prove to the insurance company that you were not at fault for the accident. The police report should indicate if anyone was issued a ticket.
If you were issued a citation, bring that with you, too. Just because you received a ticket doesn’t mean you cannot prove that you weren’t at fault. Lawyers review all tickets to decide the best route for the case.
Photos tell the story of the incident. We can gain a better understanding of the scenario with relevant picture evidence. If you took pictures, bring them with you. Sometimes witnesses or other parties may take photos directly following the scene. Find out if you have access to any pictures from the day of the accident.
Photographic evidence also can include pictures of the vehicle after the fact, the roads in question and any injuries you sustained. If you do not have your own photos, contact emergency responders or tow truck drivers. They may have pictures from the scene.
In addition to evidence of the collision, take pictures of yourself and your journey. Take photos every day to establish your journey to recovery.
An accident can keep you away from work for an undetermined length of time. Unlike when you suffer injuries at work, you cannot access workers’ compensation if the incident occurred off the clock. If you had to take time away from work during recovery, you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet. When lost wages are directly connected to the wreck, you can ask for them in your claim.
Bring your pay stubs along to determine if you lost money due to your injuries. Bring the newest pay stubs, along with pay stubs from previous times when you didn’t have injuries. Your Phoenix car accident lawyer can compare the two to ensure you lost money due to the collision.
Vehicle Damage Estimates
Depending on the extent of the damages, car repairs can break the bank. Your vehicle may be a lifeline for your family. It ferries you to and from work, picks up the kids from school and allows you the freedom to shop where you want to. Unfortunately, vehicle repairs are costly. Even in a fender bender, the cost of a bumper can reach $1,500. Repairing a windshield is $1,000. A car that is totaled can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
When your car suffers damages due to the accident, you are entitled to a payment that covers the repairs you made. Before you arrive at the lawyer’s office, check the estimate of the repair costs. In some instances, you need the vehicle’s cash value. While insurance companies estimate depending on their policies, you should also receive an estimate from an auto mechanic. Use the opinion of two or three mechanics to determine the fair amount of compensation you deserve.
Driver and Insurance Information
If you could speak with the other driver after the accident, you should have collected the insurance information, phone number, and address of the other person. In some cases, you may trade social media pages and email. If you have any such information about the other driver, keep it with you and bring it to the meeting.
Be careful when conversing with other drivers, however. Stay professional and never take the blame. If you apologize, the defense can use it against you.
No driver wants to admit fault in an accident. Odds are the other driver will do anything he or she can to get an acquittal. It can be difficult for courts to find the truth when they only have the word of one driver against another. With witnesses, the claim becomes less complicated.
Witnesses can offer firsthand information about what happened. They may recall the various factors that led to the wreck. Request witness statements and do not forget the names and contact information. In some cases, the law office may need to speak with witnesses. Additionally, many witnesses also take pictures and videos. Photographic evidence from a witness can help build your case.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer?
The more you prepare for your consultation, the less likely you will feel overwhelmed. While it’s normal to be nervous about your meeting, we are here to help you.
Take notes before arriving. If you have any questions, write them down to ask during the consultation. We’ve included some of the common questions asked by clients during the initial consultation.
How Will We Communicate About the Case?
Communication is critical during your case. You have to communicate with your Phoenix car accident lawyer regularly. If you’ve never worked with a lawyer before, you may not know that different attorneys have different preferred ways of discussing the case. Likewise, you may have a particular way you would like to be contacted. Discuss who in the firm you’ll be speaking with during your case and how you can contact them. Work out whether you’ll correspond mostly by phone or email and what times you are most likely to get a hold of the firm.
How Can I Protect My Case?
Once you have your case in the lawyer’s hands, you’ve already taken the first step to protecting your capability of receiving a fair settlement. However, there still may be other things you need to do. Ask your lawyer what you can and cannot do regarding the case.
For example, your conversations with the insurance company are critical when negotiating a settlement. However, insurance adjusters may ask you seemingly benign questions about your health or ask how you’re feeling. If you say you’re feeling better, the adjuster may use it against you.
Which Deadlines Do We Need To Meet?
When you file a car accident lawsuit, there are various deadlines to track. The most important deadline is when you file the claim against the other driver. In Arizona, you have two years to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file the claim within this time frame, you have no more legal recourse. Throughout your claim, there are various deadlines to meet. Ask about which you should be concerned with and what you can do to meet those deadlines.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
In Arizona, you can request economic and non-economic damages. Direct expenses are considered economic damages. Your lost wages, cost of medical care, loss of future earnings, medical treatment and repairs may all count. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to the loss of life enjoyment, disfigurement, loss of function and emotional and physical pain.
How Can You Relax Before the Consultation?
Preparation should help you relax before you meet with an attorney. Keep in mind that your Phoenix car accident lawyer wants to help you. Consider keeping a journal after the incident. Write down any questions you have and log the timeline from the day of the incident until your consultation. Having a journal can help you answer various questions we have for you.
Following an accident, people experience shock, anger, fear or guilt. In severe cases, they cannot escape the feelings or thoughts of the collision. Ongoing feelings of uneasiness, irritability, anxiety and nightmares may indicate PTSD.
Learn How To Manage Emotional Turmoil
Try to maintain a routine that allows you to stay physically active. Activity reduces stress and improves your mood. Talk to your doctor about how you can remain physically active. Physical limitations can make it difficult to exercise or engage in activities you could before.
Sleep is critical to your physical and mental health. Make your rest a priority. Fatigue increases feelings of anxiety and fear. Likewise, exhaustion makes it difficult for the physical body to heal. Meditation and visualization techniques may help you reduce your anxious feelings.
Find Someone To Talk To
Do not forget to socialize. Anxiety and stress can cause you to isolate yourself when you need friends and family the most. Be careful about what you post on social media; limit what you say publicly about what happened. However, make sure you have close friends and family you can talk to about how you feel and what you’re going through.
Demand the Compensation You Deserve
Choosing to meet with a Phoenix personal injury attorney is the first step to receiving compensation. We will go through the documents you bring and ask questions regarding your case at the consultation.
When you need a Phoenix car accident lawyer, Sargon Law Group is prepared to fight for justice on your behalf. Most clients don’t recognize the extent of the damages they deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis and do not require you to pay out-of-pocket expenses unless we win. Contact us today to set up a consultation as soon as possible.