Published on November 14th, 2019
Phoenix is a large city, which means auto wrecks are common. The city actually does a fairly good job of creating safe roadways and maintaining roads, but accidents can still occur. Most accidents are caused by human error, so they will likely continue to occur for some time to come.
If you’ve recently been in an accident in Phoenix, you are probably wondering what you’re supposed to do after your accident. You probably realize that your crash is affecting your life.
You might have serious injuries that are costing you a lot in medical expenses. You could be missing out on work income because you need to heal from your injuries before you can return to work. There are many losses car crash victims face, and these issues won’t go away on their own.
If you want to put your accident behind you, you will probably need to file a car crash claim. Whether you file your claim with your own insurance provider or someone else’s will depend on who is at fault for the vehicle accident.
Understanding Fault in a Car Wreck
Fault laws in Arizona hold the person who caused the crash accountable for the expenses related to the accident. For instance, if a distracted driver hit you, you could file your injury claim with their insurance company. This saves you from having to file a claim against your own insurance policy, which could raise your insurance premiums.
Whoever caused the crash can be made to pay for your car crash damages.
How Do You Get Started on an Auto Wreck Claim?
1. Investigate Your Car Accident
The first step you should take after being injured in an auto collision is investigating the accident and collect evidence that proves what happened. You may not be able to do this on your own, but you can have others assist you with this step. Many car crash victims will hire a car accident lawyer in Phoenix to help them investigate their auto wrecks and prove their cases.
You will need to collect evidence, such as crash reports, statements from witnesses, photo evidence, video evidence, physical evidence, medical evidence, and anything else that can show what caused the crash and who is at fault for it.
Once you have your evidence, you can proceed to the second step.
2. Gather Medical Evidence
In addition to proving who was at fault for the accident, you will also need to prove your injuries and losses. You should collect evidence that shows how serious your losses were and how much your car crash cost you financially and nonfinancially. You could be struggling to pay medical bills, and you could be losing out on income if you can’t work.
You might be dealing with pain, mental trauma, lost life enjoyment, and scarring. You should collect proof of these losses. Medical records often work to prove medical injuries and financial losses associated with your injuries. You can also gather receipts and other documents that prove your total losses.
3. Put Your Claim Together
After you have evidence of fault and you can prove your losses, you will need to put all of this documentation into a claim. You want to make sure you don’t take too long to get everything together, because you have only two years in the state of Arizona to bring a personal injury claim for a car accident.
There are basic requirements when preparing claim paperwork, so you may want to talk to an attorney about what to do.
4. Deal with Insurance Companies
Once you have prepared your case and you’re confident it’s a good case, you can present it to the at-fault person’s insurance company.
The insurance company will be paying your settlement, so you must be able to convince them that their insured caused the car crash. That’s what all the evidence is for.
If you can show the insurance company that they owe you money, they should offer you a settlement that corresponds to the losses you’ve suffered. Remember, you’ve proven your losses to them, as well, so they know how much money you’re owed.
Some insurers will take issue with some of your calculations, so they may try to offer you a lesser settlement amount than what you first requested.
They might use the excuse that your medical bills “aren’t reasonable” for the injury you sustained. They might say that the car replacement cost you have listed in your claim isn’t within the fair market value range for your type of vehicle. They might come up with a lot of different reasons why they’re offering a lower settlement.
It’s important for you to know that they are doing this to decrease their own costs. You should know that insurance settlements could require some negotiating.
However, at the end of the day, if you aren’t happy with the amount of money the insurance company is willing to pay you for the car crash, you could always go to court.
5. Take Your Car Crash Case to Trial
It’s not usually necessary for car crash cases to go to trial. They can usually be settled outside of court. You should know that you have the option to go to court, though. You shouldn’t let an insurance company bully you into accepting less than what is fair for your car crash claim.
Going to court can be scary for some people, but it’s really not so bad. You will bring your same case and evidence that you’ve already gathered to court.
Witnesses might be required to testify in person, and you will present all of your documentation and evidence in court to prove that you are owed compensation for a car crash you didn’t cause.
The court will then examine your case and your evidence and come up with an amount of money in damages that they believe fairly compensates you for your suffering and for the accident.
Remember, if any of this sounds intimidating, car accident lawyers are available to help you and make this process easier on you.