Auto Accident Injury Attorney Phoenix, AZ
I Was Injured in an Auto Accident, What Will My Insurance Cover?
Being injured in an auto accident is a life-altering event, just ask any auto accident injury attorney Phoenix, AZ recommends. On top of the emotional and physical recovery, you might also have to deal with insurance claims and lawsuits. Overall it can be an extremely stressful experience. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, read to learn more information about what factors might influence what your insurance might cover
WHO IS AT FAULT FOR THE AUTO ACCIDENT?
First things first, the insurance will want to know who is at fault for the auto accident. Determining fault in a car accident can be difficult. There can be a lot of factors that contribute to an accident, including other vehicles, weather conditions, traffic conditions, and even your own negligence. So how exactly is fault determined in a car accident?
Evidence will play a large role in determining who was at fault. A top auto accident injury attorney Phoenix, AZ trusts will usually insist that after any accident, always make sure to contact the police immediately. An officer will come to the scene and create an accident report. The officer will often indicate on the report who they determine to be at fault and why, this could become a very important piece of evidence in a personal injury case. In addition, make sure to gather other evidence, such as:
- The contact information of other parties involved
FAULT VS NO-FAULT
Depending on where you live, it may not matter who was at fault. Some states have “no-fault” insurance laws, which means that each driver’s own insurance company pays for the driver’s medical expenses, up to a threshold.
Most states have “at-fault” insurance laws, which means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver helps pay for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses of the injured party. As any experienced auto accident injury attorney Phoenix, AZ relies on will attest, Arizona has “at-fault” insurance laws. In these states, most car accident cases will fall under the tort law principle of negligence.
Fault in a car accident usually boils down to one question, “which party acted negligently?”. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. Under this sort of claim, you would need to prove the following:
- Duty: The driver owed a duty to drive responsibly and safely.
- Breach of Duty: The driver breached that duty when they failed to drive in a reasonable manner.
- Causation: The driver’s breach of duty caused the accident.
- Damages: You suffered a personal injury as a result.
Often, accidents are not purely 100% someone’s fault. There can be a lot of factors that contribute to an accident, including other vehicles, weather conditions, traffic conditions, and even your own negligence. An auto accident injury attorney Phoenix, AZ endorses can explain that partial blame often looks like one of two type of negligence:
- Contributory Negligence: If the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for the accident, they are said to be contributorily negligent. Contributory negligence is often an affirmative defense used in accident claims. Contributory negligence occurs when a party acts negligently and ends up injuring themselves as a result.
Example: Driver 1 failed to drive in a reasonable manner when they were speeding through the neighborhood. Driver 2 failed to yield to oncoming traffic when backing out of their driveway, causing Driver 1 to slam into Driver 2. Because Driver 1 was speeding, they contributed to the severity of their injuries with their own negligence.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: Many states, including Arizona, consider pure comparative negligence, a type of contributory negligence, when processing an accident claim. Pure comparative negligence states that, when an accident occurs, the fault (or negligence) or each party involved is based upon their respective contributions to the accident. The percentage of fault is often used when determining damages.
Example: Using the situation above, let’s say Driver 1 pursued a personal injury claim against the Driver 2 and was awarded $100,000. However, the Driver 1 was found to be 30% at fault for the accident, therefore Driver 1’s damages will be reduced by 30% to $70,000.
WHAT WILL MY INSURANCE COVER?
If you contact a car accident attorney Phoenix, AZ trusts, they’ll tell you that what your insurance will ultimately cover depends not just on who was at fault, but also on what type of coverage you have. Auto insurance is usually a combination of many different types of coverage, such as:
What it is: Protects the driver from claims arising from negligence
Affect: Standard car insurance, reimburses for personal injury and property damage. Policy limits put a cap on how much the insurance company will pay out.
What it is: Helps pay for the repair to your damaged car if you are struck by an uninsured (or hit-and-run) driver.
Affect: Be aware that this coverage only applies to the property damage to your vehicle, NOT to any personal injuries sustained.
What it is: Covers damage to your car from an incident that is NOT a collision, like fire or vandalism.
Affect: Since it does not cover collision, it will not apply in a car accident case.
UNINSURED DRIVER COVERAGE
What it is: Helps protect you in the event the other party is uninsured.
Affect: If you are unable to make a claim against the other party, you can make a claim with your own insurance company and be offered coverage by this policy. There is often a cap to this coverage, so it won’t always cover everything, but it can be better than nothing!
UNDERINSURED DRIVER COVERAGE
What it is: Helps protect you in the event that the at-fault party does not have ENOUGH coverage to fully compensate you.
Affect: This coverage is often offered as a bundle package with uninsured driver coverage, so it often also has a cap.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE
What it is: “Med Pay” can help pay for the medical expenses (including funeral costs) for both drivers and passengers.
Affect: Helps provide coverage when health insurance is limited.
What it is: Cars depreciate quickly, so this insurance helps cover the amount owed on a car loan after a total loss or theft.
Affect: If the property loss settlement isn’t enough to cover an auto loan, gap insurance can kick in.
HIRE AN AUTO ACCIDENT INJURY ATTORNEY
If you have been injured in a car accident in Phoenix, AZ, then you may need an auto accident injury attorney. At Kamper Estrada, LLP we offer free one-hour consultations with our experienced lawyers. Our knowledgeable staff can help determine if you are eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and guide you every step of the way. If you’re in need of an auto accident injury lawyer Phoenix, AZ has faith in, contact Kamper Estrada, LLP today for a free initial consultation.