Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer
Were you a victim of a car accident in Phoenix? Did you lose a loved one due to another driver’s negligent actions on the road? If so, you may be eligible for compensation, and we can help you recover the damages you deserve. To file an auto accident claim, contact Hirsch & Lyon today. Our attorneys care about your rights as a victim of a car crash and will help you obtain justice for your losses.
How Our Experienced Lawyers Help Victims
Car accidents are an everyday part of life. Drivers, passengers and pedestrians are seriously injured on a daily basis in automobile accidents that are not their fault. While countless factors ranging from speeding, to drunk driving, to poor weather conditions can cause accidents, distracted driving is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Whether the driver is texting, eating, talking on a cell phone or engaging in other activities that take his or her eyes off of the road, distracted driving is a very serious problem that injures thousands of innocent people each year.
An auto crash involves a lot more than just the collision itself and an insurance claim. In a perfect world, the at-fault driver would willingly stop after an accident, ensure everyone involved in the crash was safe, exchange insurance information with the parties involved, and take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t always happen.
Many times, drivers leave the scene of the accident, do not have auto insurance, and – worst of all – try to avoid liability for any damage to the victim’s property or injuries suffered. Victims are then left to fend for themselves. They either take out a claim against their own insurance policy (which may not always cover the full extent of the damages or medical bills) or are left with no choice but to pay for accident expenses out of pocket – an accident that wasn’t even their fault. While these situations are common, car crash victims need to know they are not alone. Help IS available. That’s where an experienced attorney can step in and make all the difference.
The car accident lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon have over 60 years of combined experience successfully representing injured auto victims. We know you are already dealing with the pain of your personal injuries and the costs of fixing your car, bicycle or motorcycle. The last thing you need is to struggle with the burden of filing a claim or figuring out how you will pay for medical bills or property repairs. Our attorneys take care of all the technical details after your accident. We contact insurance companies, file your paperwork, investigate the scene of the accident, and even help you obtain medical care for your injuries.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Arizona?
In Arizona, car accident lawsuits (brought by an injured plaintiff against one or more negligent defendants) are rather common — reflecting the relatively high frequency of motor vehicle accidents in the state overall, and to an extent, indicative of the significant, potentially life-altering damage that a car can inflict upon the victim. According to a recent report conducted by the Arizona Department of Transportation, for example, there were 126,845 total motor vehicle crashes in the state of Arizona for 2016, with 962 fatalities and 56,636 injuries. Causes of injury were varied, with a significant proportion of accidents accounted for by driver intoxication, among many other factors. If you have been injured due to the fault of another — whether a driver, manufacturer, or public/private landowner — you may be entitled to recover damages to compensate you for your injuries, pursuant to Arizona law. It’s not always easy to understand whether you have an actionable accident injury claim, however. What may seem to be a dead-end claim to the layperson may actually be worth litigating. A skilled lawyer will be able to assess your injury claims and determine whether you have an actionable claim through which you can recover.
For example, suppose that you are injured in what first appears to be a straightforward car accident lawsuit. The defendant-driver injured you in a rear-ending incident at a stop sign. Further investigation reveals that your airbag failed to deploy, thus resulting in injuries that could have otherwise been prevented. Your case may therefore involve multiple defendants, including the airbag manufacturer, and may involve product defect claims, too. An experienced attorney will parse the incident and your various claims and help you move forward with an effective legal strategy.
Arizona Car Accident Statistics
Every year, several thousand people in Arizona are involved in a car accident. In fact, on average, 155 people are injured, and two people are killed every day in motor vehicle crashes in Arizona. According to a 2016 Arizona Department of Transportation report, there were a total of 126,987 motor vehicle accidents in the state that year – 856 of which were fatal and 38,616 of which resulted in injuries. The total number of car accidents in 2016 rose by 8.70% from the previous year, which suggests that roadways are becomingly increasingly dangerous. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that anyone involved in a collision turn to an experienced lawyer for assistance after a crash.
Out of the total number of auto accidents in 2016:
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim After a Car Accident?
In Phoenix and throughout Arizona, as in other states, you have a limited period of time during which you can file your claims against the relevant defendants. According to Arizona Statute Section 12-542, motorists who suffered a personal injury in an auto accident only have two years to file a claim. As such, it is critical that you consult with a qualified attorney if you’ve been involved in an auto crash in Phoenix as soon as possible. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we are dedicated to our clients and committed to litigation on their behalf. Our team is not only experienced, but has a track record of success in obtaining compensation for our clients (with over $100M in damages recovered for our clients and their families). To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call 602-535-1900 today.
Top Factors Contributing to Auto Crashes
Several factors can contribute to a car crash. Although some auto collisions occur due to unforeseen circumstances, such as hazardous weather conditions, the vast majority are caused by another person’s negligence. Negligence can take on many forms. It can mean a motorist failing to abide by proper roadway safety standards, an auto manufacturer failing to properly test vehicle parts for defects, or even a ride sharing company like Uber or Lyft failing to thoroughly vet their drivers for experience.
The most common factors that can lead to a car accident include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Intoxication (DUI)
- Driving while exhausted or fatigued
- Unlicensed driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop
- Improper lane changes
- Failure to inspect the vehicle
- Improper cargo loading
- Car defects
- Road hazards, including debris and roadway defects
- And more
Common Types of Personal Injuries Following a Car Accident
Depending on the type of vehicle and severity of the collision, an auto accident can lead to a range of injuries. If lucky, a car crash victim may walk away from the accident with just a few minor bumps and bruises. Sadly, numerous victims sustain severe and life-threatening personal injuries. Those involved in accidents with large commercial trucks tend to suffer some of the most catastrophic injuries. Given the sheer size and weight of trucks, such as 18-wheelers and fuel tankers, the force of the impact can lead to permanent disability or even death.
When a car accident involves a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian, the results are even worse. Even when wearing a helmet, bikers stand no chance when hit by a truck or car. Pedestrian injuries are by far the worst. A regular bystander crossing the street or even walking along a sidewalk has no protection to shield them from an impact with a motor vehicle, regardless of how slow the driver is traveling.
Some of the most common motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Lacerations, Scarring or Road Rash
- Neck Injuries or Whiplash
- Disc Injuries
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Head Injuries, Including Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Limb Loss
- Vision Loss
- Burn Wounds
- Wrongful Death
Arizona Comparative Fault: What This Means for Auto Accident Victims
Arizona implements the doctrine of pure comparative fault — otherwise known as pure comparative negligence. So, what is pure comparative fault, and how does it affect a plaintiff’s accident claims?
In Arizona, pure comparative fault is a means by which the court can allocate liability among multiple parties, including the plaintiff. Many cases are complicated by various factors, and do not implicate just one party — in fact, multiple parties may each have contributed to the accident at-issue by engaging in negligent behavior. Each faulty party will be assigned a portion of the total fault.
The concept of “pure comparative fault” can be confusing without some additional context. Let’s walk through a quick example for clarification.
Suppose that you are injured in an accident on the highway. The defendant-driver was driving while distracted, and was talking on their mobile phone at the time — their negligence led to a collision with you on the highway. The facts reveal that you might be partly to blame as well, because at the time of the collision, you were speeding. Had you not been speeding, you may have been able to brake or turn in time to avoid a collision with the defendant-driver.
Application of Arizona pure comparative fault will require that the court assess each party’s respective fault contribution. Ultimately, the court may find that the defendant was largely to blame for the accident. The court may — after presentation of the facts — determine that the defendant was 80% responsible, and that you were 20% responsible. Under a pure comparative fault system, the fact that you contributed to your injuries does not prohibit you from recovering damages. Instead, your damage recovery will simply be reduced to match the actual liabilities. Here, if your claim was worth $500,000 in total, you would only be entitled to recover $400,000.
When multiple parties are at-fault (i.e., multiple drivers in a car pileup on the highway), each party will have a fault percentage assigned to them. Each party will be held liable for their percent contribution.
What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Crash
For many, the first reaction after being involved in a motor vehicle accident is panic – and rightfully so. Even if you don’t sustain any injuries, the sheer trauma of the collision alone can be traumatizing. In the moments immediately following an auto crash, it is imperative to remain as calm as possible and assess the situation – if you are physically able to do so. Why? Because the more information and evidence that can be gathered right after the accident can mean the difference between obtaining considerable compensation and receiving minimal – if any – monetary damages.
In all our years handling accidents, we’ve seen far too many collision victims miss out on their rightful recovery because of a lack of evidence. If you did not suffer any serious injuries, it is crucial to document as many details of the incident as possible – and as quickly as possible. By the time police arrive and witnesses disperse, crucial evidence can be tampered with or destroyed due to natural elements, passing vehicles or other unforeseen circumstances.
Below are 5 steps to take after an automobile accident, if you have not suffered debilitating injuries:
- Take pictures – Photograph your car, motorcycle, bicycle, your injuries and the other motorist’s vehicle, the driver, and vehicle license plate as quickly as possible in the event the motorist moves their automobile or leaves the scene of the accident.
- Obtain the at-fault driver’s insurance information – If the motorist is uninsured, ask to see their driver’s license or some other form of identification and jot down the details.
- Call 911 – Even if you don’t feel like you incurred any injuries, it is always best to contact paramedics to ensure you did not suffer a concussion or other physical injury. The adrenaline rush that follows a collision can often mask the full extent of your injuries and other times, severe injuries can manifest hours later, so it is always better to play it safe and seek medical attention immediately.
- Contact law enforcement officials – Contact police as soon as possible so an officer can document the scene and provide you with a written record of the incident.
- Call an attorney – A lawyer can get started on your case before police even arrive at the scene. At Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law, we do not waste any time in assessing the details of the accident and begin your legal defense the moment you contact us.
Facts That Contribute to Auto Collisions
Population and Land Area
The Phoenix metro area consists of a sizable amount of land and people. The City of Phoenix proper has 1.6 million people, making it the 6th largest city in the US. Maricopa County has roughly the land area of New Hampshire and includes Phoenix, Mesa (nearly 500,000 people), Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, and Scottsdale (each with about 250,000 people), and Tempe and Peoria (each with almost 200,000 people). The fast-growing county has a total population of 4.5 million people (up from 4.1 million in 2010 and 3.2 million in 2000).
With lots of people and land, and very little public transportation, Phoenix has an extensive – and very busy – highway system including US Interstate 10 (running east and west), US Interstate 17 (running north and south), US Route 60 and Arizona State Routes 51, 101, 143, 202 and 303.
All of that traffic on congested roads means there’s no shortage of car, truck and motorcycle accidents in the Phoenix area. In fact, a recent study based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s fatality data concluded that US Interstate 10 is the deadliest highway in America. Another study commissioned by The Daily Beast concluded that I-10 and I-17 rank first and second on the list of the five most dangerous roads in Arizona. If you drive in the Phoenix metro area, you will probably need a team of accident attorneys at some point during your driving career.
Phoenix’s Infrastructure Needs
Better roads in Phoenix would likely reduce the number of accidents. The American Society of Civil Engineers in their annual infrastructure report card gives Arizona’s roads a grade of D+, citing a significant level of under investment. The Arizona Department of Transportation has estimated that the state will need to spend a minimum of $24 billion over the next 25 years just to maintain Arizona’s roads in their current subpar condition. Investment of $49 billion over that period would bring the state’s roads up to an acceptable condition, but close to $200 billion would be needed if Arizona embarks on an aggressive growth strategy.
Nice Weather = More Driving
Phoenix is well known for its desert climate that produces less than 10 inches of rain and almost 300 sunny days per year. Americans from all over the country relocate – and retire – here to escape the colder, wetter climates in the rest of the USA. All of that good weather means that people in Phoenix drive more miles – and they drive those miles faster unhampered by rain, snow, fog and ice. Like the metro area’s crowded highways, this is a recipe for car, truck and motorcycle accidents.
Offered a Settlement? Speak to an Arizona Auto Accident Lawyer First
Many accident victims just want to be done with the ordeal as quickly as possible. They want to put the incident behind them and move on with their lives. For this reason, many people who are involved in auto collisions tend to opt for an insurance settlement without questioning the payout or how much money they are actually entitled to. Sure, we can understand that. No one wants to drag on a traumatic event any longer than necessary. Unfortunately, settling for an insurance payout can leave victims high and dry.
Insurance companies are looking after their own interests. They don’t want to lose any more money than they have to. As a result, they may reach out to victims directly and offer a settlement. Upon first glance, the offer may seem generous. Insurance providers may even try to put a time limit on the settlement offer so victims feel rushed to settle or risk not getting any compensation at all. Tempting as it may be, we urge victims to speak to a accident lawyer prior to making a decision.
An attorney with experience handling auto claims will take every piece of evidence into account. They will evaluate the accident, what caused the crash, the extent of the victim’s injuries and property damage, potential loss of wages, short and long-term financial costs, as well as the settlement offer itself. Many times, these settlements are low-balled. By working with a knowledgeable auto accident law firm, victims stand an exponentially higher chance of recovering thousands – or even millions – more than the car insurance company was willing to offer.
Auto Insurance Disputes
Aside from settlement issues, motor vehicle accident victims can often find themselves in a lengthy and difficult dispute with insurance companies. From undervaluing damage appraisals to delaying payment for repairs, going up against auto insurance providers can be an uphill battle.
A lawyer can help crash victims in the event that a dispute arises with an insurance company. Whether the issue involves the victim’s own insurer or that of the at-fault driver, an attorney who has experience with insurance claims can help negotiate a better – and oftentimes faster – solution.
Injured in an Auto Wreck? Contact Hirsch & Lyon Today
Hirsch & Lyon is focused entirely on providing top-tier legal advocacy for the victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience, with a long track record of success in obtaining favorable results for clients, whether through settlement negotiations or at trial.
At Hirsch & Lyon, we understand that client engagement is crucial to success. Our staff is available 24/7 to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. For your convenience, we are also available to make hospital and home appointments. As we are confident in our ability to serve our clients, our injury lawyers provide legal services at a discounted rate (our contingency fee is 25%, and up to 30% if the case proceeds to trial, plus costs). When you win through Hirsch & Lyon, you keep more of it for yourself!
Call 602-535-1900 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers today. Our legal team will assess your claims and help you navigate the challenging landscape of litigation.
Car Accident FAQs
Q: What recovery options are there if the negligent driver is uninsured or underinsured?
A: If the negligent driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can make a claim against your own insurance company (you can stack your own coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, for example). Alternatively, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to file a claim against other liable parties who contributed to your injuries.
Q: What is the statute of limitations deadline for a car accident claim?
A: In many cases, the statute of limitations for any Arizona personal injury lawsuit — including car accidents — is two years from the date of injury, though in some instances, the statute of limitations period may be different depending on the defendant(s), among other factors. For example, if you have been injured by a public entity or public employee (i.e., a bus driver), you’ll have to serve a claim within six months of the date of injury. If you fail to serve a claim before the applicable statute of limitations deadline passes, you will be prohibited from recovering for your claims under Arizona law. Trying to decipher the correct statue of limitations for your case can be extremely complicated. Do not rely on general information about the laws you may find online.
Q: What compensation can a victim expect?
A: You can claim both economic and non-economic damages for personal injuries suffered. These include damages for wage loss, medical expenses, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, quality of life deterioration, and more.
Q: What types of injuries can auto accident victims suffer?
A: Auto accidents can lead to a variety of serious injuries, which can often be fatal. Some of the most frequently experienced personal injuries following a car crash include: lacerations, head injuries, neck injuries and whiplash, fractures, herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, limb loss, and paralysis.
Q: Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident?
A: If you’d like to recover the full compensation you deserve for injuries and property damage you suffered in an auto wreck, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced lawyer. Your attorney will provide a range of services — from the investigation of the facts, opening up negotiations with the responsible parties, filing your claims, handling communication with other parties, including insurance providers, and much more — that are invaluable as you begin the process of litigation.
Q: What should I do after a car accident occurs?
A: If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident, your priority should first be to seek emergency medical aid. Once you have been provided adequate medical care for your injuries, you should follow-up on your care and have qualified physicians assess your injuries in full. Further, after your immediate medical needs have been met, it’s critical that you consult with an attorney so that your claims can be litigated.
Q: How long do I have to report the accident to my insurance company?
A: Arizona law does not require you to report your accident to your insurance provider, but your auto insurance policy contract will likely require you to do so within a specified period of time. Generally, you’ll have a few days to report the accident to your insurer. Your insurance provider is not your ally, however, so don’t accept a settlement offer until you have consulted with an attorney.
Q: Do I need to file a police report if I was involved in a car crash?
A: If you or someone else involved in the accident has suffered an injury, then one of the drivers involved in the accident will have to report the incident to the relevant law enforcement authorities. Filing a police report is especially important if the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence. The auto accident report can help substantiate your claim and serve as evidence in your defense. Still, it is no substitute for hiring legal representation. While the police report can significantly help your claim, the experience of a personal injury attorney who focuses their practice on car accidents can mean the difference between getting little or no compensation after your crash and getting the maximum damages you deserve and are rightfully entitled to.
Q: What makes Hirsch & Lyon the best accident lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona?
A: There is definitely an advantage to hiring Hirsch & Lyon. We not only have over 65 years of experience and know-how, but we have a proven track record of success, having recovered millions for our clients. We are also proud of the fact that we will always be there to take your call, whether it is 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon or 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Unlike other firms that may practice in numerous areas of the law, we have limited our firm’s focus to personal injury and we work hard to get our clients the just compensation they deserve.
Q: What steps should I take after being involved in an auto accident?
A: The first thing accident victims should do is contact 911 – even if you do not believe you suffered injuries. Many times, injuries like whiplash can develop several hours or even days after an auto crash. The initial shock after the accident can also cause an adrenaline rush, preventing victims from realizing they are hurt. In addition, serious head injuries often go unnoticed by the victim, but can quickly turn fatal. For these reasons, it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident and request a full examination.
It is also important to contact police and take photos of the accident scene – if you are able to do so. Record as much evidence as you can from the scene, including the other driver’s license plate number, driver’s license information, make and model of their vehicle, and other useful facts that can corroborate your case, such as whether the motorist appeared intoxicated.
Finally, contact an accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ to get started on your personal injury claim. A lawyer with experience handling personal injury cases can immediately begin assessing the incident and gathering evidence that will give you the best possible accident injury settlement.
Q: What should I do if the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts me?
A: Try to avoid speaking with the insurance company directly because agents may try to trap you into a subpar settlement or give you the runaround when you ask questions. Your accident lawyer will handle all communications with insurance providers on your behalf and negotiate the appropriate damages you deserve for your injuries or property damage.
Q: How much compensation am I entitled to after a car accident?
A: Every accident case is different, however, the attorneys at our accident law firm work diligently to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Damages can include compensation for personal injuries, pain, suffering, mental distress, property damage, lost wages, lost past and future earnings, and the wrongful death of a loved one.
Q: What types of injuries do accident victims suffer?
A: Accident victims can suffer a range of injuries, including fractures, head injuries, whiplash, limb loss, paralysis and even death. Victims can also experience emotional trauma from the accident that can lead them to avoid ever getting into a vehicle again. Because auto collision injuries can often be catastrophic, it is important to reach out to an experienced team of accident lawyers in Phoenix as soon as possible. Your attorney can evaluate the extent of your injuries and help you obtain just compensation.
Q: What if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?
A: If an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, in most situations, victims can file a claim through their own insurance provider. You may also be able to file an additional claim against your own under insurance motorist coverage. Because these types of claims can be extremely complex, it is best to seek legal counsel before taking matters into your own hands.
Q: What happens if I don’t have auto insurance?
A: If you don’t have auto insurance, but the at-fault driver does, you can file a claim against their insurance provider.
Q: Why do I need a lawyer after being in a car crash in Arizona?
A: Car accidents happen daily in Phoenix – the majority of which result in severe injuries. Auto insurance companies may try to give you the runaround and attempt to settle for less than you deserve for your injuries or property damages. Retaining a team of accident attorneys who focus on auto crash claims can help you recover the full amount of damages you are entitled to. Your lawyers will carefully review the details of your accident, speak to witnesses and police, and even consult with medical professionals to make sure you obtain just compensation.