What is “At-Fault” Car Insurance?
Arizona is an “at-fault” state for automobile insurance. This means that in Arizona, the driver who is responsible for causing an accident is also responsible for paying for the damages. If you are injured by a negligent driver in Arizona, contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer at once.
If you’ll continue reading this brief introduction to automobile insurance in Arizona – and your rights if you are injured by a negligent driver – you’ll find answers to the following questions:
- What automobile insurance are motorists required by law to carry in Arizona?
- What are your rights if you are injured because another motorist was negligent?
- How can you recover compensation if you are injured by a negligent motorist?
How Much Automobile Insurance Does Arizona Require?
Arizona requires drivers to carry these minimum automobile insurance coverage amounts:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage liability: $15,000 minimum
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage protects you if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It is not required coverage under Arizona law, but it is highly recommended you purchase it with your liability coverage. Insurance carriers are required to offer Uninsured/Underinsured up to the liability limit being provided in the policy. It is estimated that twenty percent of Arizona drivers are uninsured or underinsured.
If you are found liable for a traffic accident in Arizona, you will be held personally accountable for any damage amount that exceeds your policy’s limits. You should consider purchasing higher liability coverage to protect your savings and assets in case of a catastrophic traffic accident. For example, if you only purchase minimum limits of $25,000 per person and an individual’s damages are $500,000, you are personally liable for $475,000 of the remaining damages, after the $25,000 is paid by the insurance carrier.
How Do At-Fault Insurance and No-Fault Insurance Differ?
In at-fault states like Arizona, if you are injured in a traffic crash, you are compensated after you submit a claim to the negligent driver’s auto insurance company. Your attorney will typically need to identify the negligent driver and offer proof that the driver was at-fault.
In no-fault car insurance states, drivers seek compensation after an accident through their own car insurance companies without regard to fault. A no-fault insurance policyholder does not have to prove another driver was negligent or at-fault to receive an insurance payout after an accident.
How Is Fault for Traffic Accidents Determined?
Assigning liability for an accident often requires scrutiny of events that happened immediately prior to the crash. Your attorney will review the physical evidence, the eyewitness statements, the police report, and any photos or video to determine which motorist or motorists are at-fault.
If you are injured in an Arizona traffic collision and you know or believe the other motorist was negligent, promptly contact a Phoenix traffic accident attorney for a free case evaluation.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
A Phoenix car accident lawyer will not be at the accident scene to provide legal advice. If you are injured in an accident in Arizona, take these steps to protect your health and to your legal rights:
- Call 911 for medical and police assistance. Making this call is the paramount priority.
- If you are able, take photographs of the general location, the damage to the vehicles, and your visible injuries. Ask any witnesses for their names and contact information. Photographs and eyewitness statements is critical evidence at a personal injury trial.
- Unless you are treated at the accident scene or taken to a hospital, obtain a medical exam as quickly as possible, preferably a hospital. Without a medical exam, it may be hard to prove you were injured in that particular accident.
- As soon as you have been treated initially by a medical professional, schedule a case evaluation immediately with a Phoenix traffic accident attorney to learn more about your options and rights and to receive personalized legal representation.
How Are Personal Injury Claims Resolved in Arizona?
Your traffic accident attorney will negotiate with the negligent driver’s auto insurance company for a reasonable settlement sum. Most personal injury cases based on traffic accidents are resolved when both parties privately reach an agreement outside of the courtroom.
A trial will happen if fault for the crash is disputed or if a reasonable settlement offer is not made in the negotiations. At a trial, your lawyer will show a jury how you were injured, how extensively you were injured, and will ask the jury to award payment for all of your damages.
What’s the Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is two years from the date of the injury. If the claim is against a governmental entity, the statute of limitations is one and requires a notice of claim to be filed against the governmental entity within 180 days of the accident. However, the law allows several narrow exceptions, so if two years or more have passed, a personal injury lawyer can determine whether your case may qualify as an exception.
However, if your injury was recent, or if a negligent driver injures you in the future, contact an attorney immediately. Generally speaking, your claim is much more likely to prevail if your attorney examines the evidence while it’s fresh and questions the witnesses before their memories fade.
What Will It Cost to Take Legal Action?
If you can’t work due to your injury, you may have mounting medical bills along with your regular obligations. How will you pay for the services and advice of a personal injury attorney? Personal injury attorneys in this state represent their injured clients on a contingent fee basis.
That means you pay no lawyer’s fee upfront. A free case evaluation is provided without any obligation. If you proceed with a personal injury claim, you pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your attorney recovers you compensation with a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
What Can Victims of Negligence Expect to Recover?
An injured victim of negligence is entitled under the law in Arizona to recover compensation for:
- the current and projected future cost of medical care and treatment
- lost wages and projected future lost wages
- pain, mental anguish, and personal suffering already experienced and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future
- related losses and damages such as loss of enjoyment of life, that is, the participation in life’s activities to the quality enjoyed before the injury
If you have been injured – or if you are injured at some point in the future – because another driver was negligent, and if you and your attorney can prove it, you will be compensated. The first step – calling the law offices of a Phoenix car accident attorney – is yours to take.