If you are injured in Arizona in a traffic accident that was caused by a defective highway or street design or by improper highway or street maintenance, arrange as quickly as possible to discuss your injury and your rights with a Phoenix highway accident attorney.
Government entities – city, county, state, or federal departments or agencies – are responsible to maintain almost all of the streets and highways in the U.S. What are your rights if you are injured in an accident caused by a defective road design or by improper highway or street maintenance?
If you will keep reading this brief discussion of accidents, improperly maintained roads, and Arizona law, you’ll learn about your rights as an injured victim of negligence, and you will also learn what steps to take if you are injured due to a faulty road design or poor road maintenance.
When is a Government Agency Liable for an Accident?
Highway designers know that some streets and highways are safer than others, and they know what it takes to build safe roads and highways. But even on streets that are safely designed, those streets must also be properly maintained, with working traffic signals and accurate street signs.
Most traffic accidents in Arizona are caused by negligent motorists. Sometimes, a defective vehicle or a defective vehicle part is the reason behind an accident.
However, some traffic accidents are also caused by:
- negligent road maintenance, including objects and debris in the road
- damage to the road itself, including potholes and cracks in the pavement
- defective highway or road designs
- inadequate storm drainage
- malfunctioning traffic signals or improper road signs or lack of signage
- ongoing road construction resulting in dangerous driving conditions
- a posted speed limit that is too high or too low for the area.
A Phoenix auto accident lawyer will review the details of your accident, and if you have grounds to bring a personal injury claim, your lawyer will work aggressively to hold the liable party accountable – even if that liable party is the government.
Involved in an Accident? Take These Steps at Once
In Arizona, if you are involved in a traffic accident that was not your fault, no attorney will be at the crash site to give you legal advice, so you must take steps – beginning as soon as the accident happens – to protect your legal rights as well as your health. When an accident happens:
- If you are injured, or if someone else is injured, summon medical assistance immediately such as going to the hospital after the collision. That is the top priority.
- Dial the police. Provide just the facts to the police You will need a printout of their written accident report if you take legal action later.
- If another driver was involved, trade personal contact and insurance information with that driver. Obtain his or her name, phone number, address, license plate and driver’s license numbers.
- If eyewitnesses saw the accident, ask for their names and contact details. Later, your Phoenix highway accident attorney may need their testimony or statements.
- Take photos of the license plate numbers, the accident scene, the vehicular damages, and your visible injuries.
- Have a medical exam immediately – within 24 hours – if you are not taken to a hospital or treated at the crash scene. Even if you feel healthy, you may have suffered a latent injury, and without a medical exam, you may not be able to tie your injury to the accident.
- If you have been injured, and if you believe that a government agency may have liability for the accident, contact a Phoenix auto accident lawyer immediately after you’ve been treated by a health care provider for your injuries.
What Will an Accident Attorney Do on Your Behalf?
Your lawyer will investigate the accident to determine which party or parties have liability. If a governmental department or agency has liability, and if you bring a personal injury claim, the rules are different from bringing a claim against a private business or individual.
For example, while the statute of limitations – the deadline – for bringing an injury claim against a private business or individual is two years in Arizona. If you bring a claim against a government department or agency, you must initiate legal action within 180 days of your injury.
This means that you must reach out to an Arizona personal injury attorney as soon as a medical professional confirms that you are injured. Your attorney will need as much time as possible to investigate the accident and to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
What Are Your Rights as an Injured Victim of Negligence?
If you are injured in a traffic accident in this state because another person, a business, or a governmental department or agency was negligent, Arizona law entitles injured negligence victims to compensation for their:
- the nature extent and duration of the injury
- the pain, discomfort, suffering disability anxiety already experienced and probable to be experienced in the future
- medical expenses incurred and to be incurred in the future
- loss of earning current and in the future
- personal pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life and life style disruptions
- all other accident-related losses and damages
However, being “entitled” to compensation does not mean that compensation magically appears in your mailbox or bank account. An injury victim must prove that he or she is entitled to compensation after sustaining personal injuries in a traffic accident.
Unable to Work? You Can Still Afford an Attorney
Personal injury lawyers in Arizona work on a contingent fee basis, so you will pay your attorney nothing upfront, and you will owe no lawyer’s fee unless and until your lawyer recovers the compensation you need and deserve.
Your first consultation with an Arizona accident attorney is provided with no cost or obligation. It is your chance to receive personalized legal advice and learn how the law applies to your own case.
This cannot be stressed strongly enough: If you have been injured in a traffic accident caused by a defective highway or street design or by improper highway or street maintenance, or if you are injured that way in the future, make the call to an Arizona highway accident lawyer immediately.