Dos and Don’ts of an Accident Claim in Arizona
What to Do After a Phoenix Accident
Have you been injured in an accident that you believe someone else caused? Arizona law may entitle you to compensation for the suffered losses.
Though one of your first priorities should — of course — be to contact a Phoenix accident law firm for professional guidance on how to proceed with your claims, there are a number of “dos and don’ts” of which you may not be fully aware.
Let’s take a look.
Do Seek Timely and Adequate Medical Treatment
Your health is the top priority in the wake of an accident. Seek timely and adequate medical treatment. If you believe that you may have suffered an injury, then you should go to a healthcare facility and have the injury evaluated and potentially treated.
It’s worth noting that the failure to secure timely and adequate medical treatment could have legal ramifications, too. Defendants in Arizona can minimize their liability by claiming that the injured plaintiff was also at-fault. Delayed treatment for a truck or motorcycle accident, for example, could lead to an assertion of contributory fault. This means that the defendant will almost certainly argue that your injuries were caused or exacerbated by the delay, thus making you responsible for the harm (and minimizing their damages liability).
Do Secure Timely Legal Assistance
It’s critical that you secure the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as is practicable under the circumstances — an experienced Phoenix accident attorney is an invaluable ally at every stage of the personal injury lawsuit, from the initial factual investigation to the nuances of a courtroom hearing.
Attorney assistance is often useful in ways that may not be immediately perceived by the client. For example, your personal injury attorney will serve as a communication middleman between you and the relevant insurer. During such communications, your attorney will not only be able to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information that could undermine your claims, but may also be able to apply significant pressure and secure a favorable result before the case develops further.
Timely legal assistance is critical. The general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is just two years from the date of injury. Failure to bring an action before the deadline passes could lead to an automatic dismissal of your claims, preventing a full and adequate recovery.
Do Take Steps to Preserve Evidence and Identify Relevant Parties
If you are not in need of emergency medical care following an accident, you can take steps to preserve evidence and improve your likelihood of success in litigation. For example, if you are in a car accident, then it’s possible that the design of the roadway contributed to the accident in a way that could lead to an independent claim for damages against the City. Take photos of the roadway, signage, and environmental hazards before the City steps in and makes any changes. These photos could be introduced as evidence to support your claims.
You’ll also want to identify relevant parties: potential defendants and eyewitnesses. Record their contact information so that you can get in touch with them when necessary (as the case progresses). If you are unable to do so, all is not lost — your attorney will just have to take additional steps to identify and contact the appropriate parties.
Do Not Leave the Accident Scene Prematurely
Unless you have suffered grievous injuries that require instant medical assistance (i.e., you have to go to the hospital immediately for emergency medical care), then you should not prematurely “escape” a serious accident scene until you have had a chance to speak to authorities. Leaving an accident scene prematurely could not only expose you to criminal charges, but could also weaken your eventual case against the defendant (as the jury is likely to assume that you were somehow at fault for the accident, as evidenced by your premature escape from the accident scene).
Do Not Communicate Extensively With Insurers
Insurance companies have interests that are in opposition to your own — and yes, that includes your own insurer as well. If you find yourself in communications with an insurance company before you have consulted an attorney, make sure to reveal as little as necessary to end the conversation. Do not provide a statement (regarding the accident). Let them know that law enforcement are investigating the accident and that you cannot provide any further information. It is not your responsibility to speak to an insurer and negotiate with them on your own — that is the responsibility of your attorney. If you speak to an insurer on your own, they will attempt to manipulate you into making disclosures about certain aspects of the accident that they will subsequently use to de-value or even deny your subsequent claims.
Do Not Exaggerate Injuries
Exaggerating your injuries is not a good idea. Defendants (and insurers) typically use investigators who will take a number of steps to monitor your condition — monitoring your social media pages, following you around town, etc. — and if they discover behavior that is inconsistent with your claimed injuries, it could significantly undercut your case. Further, when you bring an action in personal injury, you must be able to support your assertion of damages with sufficient evidence (documentary/record evidence and expert testimony, for example). If you exaggerate your injuries, the evidentiary record will not match the claimed impairments and asserted damages, thus creating a disconnect that could create serious doubt about your overall case.
Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Comprehensive Legal Assistance After an Arizona Accident
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience working with injured plaintiffs in Arizona in a variety of disputes, from car accidents to product defect-related accidents, and more.
Since our founding, we have helped plaintiffs secure favorable results that compensate them for their losses, whether through a negotiated settlement or aggressive trial litigation. We are committed to practical, results-oriented representation — unlike many of our competitors, we have experience handling cases all the way through to trial, giving us a significant advantage in pressuring defendants at an early stage.
Ready to speak to a seasoned Phoenix accident attorney about your injury claims?
Call us at 602-598-4786 or complete an online intake form on our website to setup a consultation with a member of our team today. Consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation to continue (if you decide against pursuing compensation). During the initial consultation, we will evaluate your claims and identify potential next steps.