Car Accident Attorney Phoenix, AZ
A Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix, AZ at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC understands that in most scenarios car accidents end up being very serious. You may suffer from lacerations, bruising, and whiplash. Other times, you may have gotten into a minor fender bender that did little to no damage to your car or the other driver’s car. What should you do when this is the case? Should you report the accident to the police or to your insurance company? Should you get the help of a car accident attorney?
Speaking with a Phoenix, AZ Car Accident Attorney from our law firm can be helpful in these situations because you may not be sure what the best thing to do is after a car accident that does not result in an injury right away. It is important to take note of whether your car was damaged during the fender bender even if it only suffered from minor scratches. Just because it may not seem like there is damage immediately, does not mean you shouldn’t report the accident.
Should I speak with local law enforcement about the accident?
There are many different factors that can help you determine if you should report the accident to local law enforcement. For example, even if the accident was a fender bender and only caused minor injuries, there are many states that require you to report an accident regardless of the severity of the injuries. In addition, even if someone was not injured in the accident and there is only vehicular damage, you may still need to report it. Depending on your state, you will need to report the accident if the property damage is at or above a certain amount. A Phoenix Car Accident Attorney can give you more information about the laws for Arizona.
What is the most important thing to do when I am at the accident scene?
The most important thing you can do before contacting anyone else is to gather the information of the other driver and anyone else who was involved in the accident. A Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix recommends obtaining information such as:
- Their name
- The phone number
- Their insurance information
- Their driver’s license information
In some cases, the other driver may be uncooperative because they do not want to report the accident to law enforcement or to their insurance company. Especially when this is the case, you should call local law enforcement so that you can get this information from the other driver in a peaceful way.
Should I report the accident to my insurance company?
Regardless of who your insurance is with, every insurance policy in the United States requires drivers to report an accident—no matter how small the accident is—once it has occurred. If you choose not to report an accident, even as small as a fender bender, you may find that you are suffering from penalties later. It is also best to speak with an insurance agent as soon as possible to report your side of the story. You may have spoken with the other driver and come to a verbal agreement on what happened, but that does not mean anything to an insurance company.
What Expenses Can You Claim in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Most people will go through their life without having to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, some will, and when this happens, questions may arise. As a car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ, one of the most common questions we receive is regarding what expenses can be claimed. Unlike workers’ comp claims, personal injury claims and lawsuits allow more than just financial losses to be claimed. This guide will explain the simple answer to this big question.If you have further questions, you can consult a Phoenix, Arizona car accident attorney from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC.
The Goal of Your Lawsuit
Before you start thinking about what you can gain from your lawsuit, it is best to put yourself in the right mindset. The goal of any lawsuit is to gain what is rightfully yours. Justice being served takes the form of you being returned to the financial situation you were in prior to the injury. This may mean receiving exactly how much you paid in medical bills and no more, it may mean receiving funds to cover your lost ability to earn for yourself, or it may mean being compensated a huge amount for the exceptionally painful injury you had to experience. Personal injury lawsuits are not a method to get rich quick, but a way to receive a fair compensation for what you lost, no matter how big or small that value may be. The best way to ensure you recover a fair amount is to consult a car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ.
Types of Damages
There are three types of damages that will determine what you can claim in your suit. They are:
- Special compensatory damages
- General compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
Special compensatory damages refer to all financial losses. If a loss has an objective and exact dollar value, such as a $1,000 hospital bill or a missed $600 paycheck, it falls into this category. These damages are intended to compensate for the exact amount of money you lost and not a dollar more. A good car accident attorney Phoenix, AZ recommends can assess the total amount of damages to ensure they are taken into consideration.
General compensatory damages refer to non-financial losses. The most common type of damage in this category is “pain and suffering.” However, it can cover any type of loss that does not have an objective monetary value. It is even possible to be compensated for a divorce if it can be shown to be the result of the injury. If you suffered in some significant way, the judge will decide what the dollar value of that suffering is.
Punitive damage refers to payment assigned to the defendant strictly as punishment. It is not compensation at all, and has no connection to what the plaintiff lost. Punitive damages are very rare in personal injury cases, but they do get assigned occasionally. To get a better understanding of the amount you should expect to receive, you should speak with a Phoenix, AZ car accident attorney from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC.
Car Accidents and the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
Car accidents can lead to injuries, and often, the extent of those injuries are not fully realized until days or weeks after the initial event. For that reason, many experts suggest that people hold off filing personal injury claims until after they know the extent of the damage and the medical costs associated with treatment and recovery. However, that begs the question of how long you have until suing is no longer possible because, unfortunately, every state places a statute of limitations on such claims, which means once you are involved in an accident, you are on a clock. To learn about the statute of limitations for your case now, call a car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ.
Typical Statute of Limitations
Most states allow for up to two years to file a claim, but there are circumstances that may extend or shorten that timeline. However, for a typical personal injury claim, a victim can expect a minimum of one year to file. Therefore, they should contact a car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ soon after sustaining the initial injury, so that the claim can be submitted as quickly as possible. The timeline does not include the case itself; it spans from the date of the accident to the date the claim is filed.
As stated, there are situations where an individual may have more time and not be limited to the standard statute. For example, if the injured party is a minor, then the one to two-year timeline does not begin until they have turned 18, meaning that a 15-year-old victim would actually have five years to file a claim. Also, if the injured party is in a coma or dies due to the injuries, some extra time might be allotted to allow for alternative representation.
Shorter Timelines with Public Entities
While the general statute of limitations is observed in most situations, there are times when that timeline is sped up. For example, when dealing with public entities or governmental services, you might only have three months to file a claim. Therefore, it is vital that you speak to a car accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ immediately following an incident to speed up your claims process.
For Further Advice, Call A Phoenix, Arizona Car Accident Attorney
While the statute of limitations serves a purpose, it also can make victims feel like they are being hurried through recovery. Don’t concern yourself with the bureaucracy of legal regulations. Contact a local car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ to discuss your options for making and moving forward with a claim. They will be able to guide you through the process while making sure that your case isn’t swept under the rug because of a timing issue.
For more information on the best protocol after a car accident, reach out to a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney in AZ from Kamper & Estrada, PLLC promptly for a free case evaluation!
What You Should Tell Your Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been hurt in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is talk to a car accident attorney Phoenix, AZ residents trust. He or she will thoroughly assess your case and determine if you have a good chance of getting a settlement. Here is some of the information your lawyer will want to know:
- Clear Description of the Accident: During your initial consultation, your car accident lawyer will want you to describe the accident. Tell your lawyer everything you remember about the accident. Where did the accident happen and what were you doing just before it occurred? Did you notice the other driver’s behavior before the accident? For example, if you noticed the driver was texting beforehand, you should mention that to your lawyer.
- Information About the Police Report: If the police came to the scene of the accident, they should have made a report. The report will include importation details about the accident, such as who may have been at fault. If you don’t have the police report, your attorney can obtain it.
- Types of Injuries You Suffered: Your lawyer will definitely want to know about the full extent of your injuries. Whether you suffered a head injury or broken bones, you should let your lawyer know about it. Describe the symptoms you’ve been experiencing and how the injuries have affected your life thus far.
- Where You Sought Medical Treatment: Your car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ will also ask where you received medical treatment. Provide the full name of the hospital and address. Also, tell the attorney the type of tests you were given.
- Whether or Not You Spoke to the Insurance Company: If you spoke with the defendant’s insurance company, your attorney will want to know about it. Insurance companies often contact car accident victims to obtain information from them. They may even try to offer you a low settlement. Tell your attorney everything you said to the insurance company.
- Previous Injuries You’ve Had: It is also important to tell your car accident attorney Phoenix, AZ about injuries you’ve suffered in the past. The insurance company may try to claim that your current injuries are related to your past injuries. If your attorney knows about your previous injuries upfront, he or she will be more prepared to defend you.
Types of Emotional Injuries in Car Accidents
When most people think about car accidents, they imagine physical injuries. While these accidents certainly result in a wide range of physical injuries, they can also cause emotional injuries. Here are the most common types of emotional injuries a car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ sees.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleeping problems
Experiencing these kinds of emotional injuries can negatively affect your life in many ways. You may have trouble focusing on your job and withdrawing from family members and friends.
How to Prove Emotional Distress
Broken bones, lacerations and other physical injuries are easy to prove. However, if you’ve experienced emotional distress from a car accident, the court may be more skeptical. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prove emotional injuries.
- Keep Your Prescriptions: If you’ve suffered depression, anxiety or another mental health condition from a car accident, your doctor may have prescribed you medication for it. Be sure to keep records of these prescriptions to show the court.
- Have Your Therapist Testify: If you’ve been seeing a mental health therapist for the emotional injuries you endured in a car accident, you should ask him or her to testify on your behalf. Your therapist can thoroughly explain the emotional injuries you’re suffering and will be viewed as a credible witness.
- Write in a Journal: If you’re dealing with emotional injuries from a car accident, your car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ may advise you to write how you’re feeling in a journal every day. If you’ve had any sleep problems or nightmares, you should jot that down as well. This can all be used as evidence of emotional distress in a trial.
- Ask Your Loved Ones to Testify: Have there been family members or friends that have observed the emotional distress you’ve gone through after a car accident? If so, you should have them testify to the court about what they’ve noticed. For example, your family members could testify that you were always a happy-go-lucky person, but the head injury you suffered has made you very depressed.and irritable.
How Much Emotional Distress is Worth
It’s quite simple to calculate how much physical injuries are worth from medical bills. With emotional injuries, however, it isn’t so clear cut. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced car accident attorney in Phoenix, AZ on your side. He or she can help you obtain fair compensation for your emotional distress.