What You Need to Know when Handling Your Own Personal Injury Claim in Arizona
Many people think that the United States has become an extremely litigious society, but the truth is that the number of lawsuits has been decreasing each year. People who are injured are less likely to recover what is fair unless they have an experienced attorney on their side. Even if you have a legitimate claim, you still need an attorney to present the facts of your case. It is always difficult to represent yourself because you are too emotionally involved in your own injuries due to another's negligence.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Arizona, it is best to document the information of the other person involved, including their name, address, phone number, car type, make, and model. Generally, if you have been seriously injured, the police may come to the scene and you may be taken away in an ambulance.
If the police contact you or a family member, it is important to review the information with an officer. Many times, it may be difficult to read the officer's writing or he or she may have inadvertently left out pertinent information. If you want to handle your own claim, it is best to talk to an attorney at the outset so you know what pitfalls to watch out for, as the wrong move now could cost you greatly later.
Imagine this; you are in a car accident. Someone ran into your car as you were going through an intersection and smashed your vehicle. Your shoulder hurts but not badly. You get a ride from the scene to go to work because you are more concerned with getting to work than having your car inspected. You continue to work each day and do not go to the doctor for a week. By this time, your shoulder is really hurting and you cannot lift your arm above your head. It hurts to grip anything hard and you cannot carry anything. It has been a week and you are still dealing with shoulder pain, so you decide to go to a hospital. At the hospital, the doctor orders an MRI and discovers that you have sustained a rotator cuff tear injury in the car accident. Now, it has been a week and you never sought any medical treatment.
After waiting so long to see a doctor, there is no question that the insurance company is going to argue that you were not hurt at all in the auto accident. An insurance company can argue that you sustained your injury after the accident and before you visited a doctor. So you go to the emergency room after a week and end up with an expensive bill that the insurance company fights you on because of the gap in medical care.
In short, if you are involved in a car crash, make sure the police come to the scene and make sure that you seek medical care right away if you feel you are injured in any way. This will keep insurance companies from having baseless arguments that can later be turned around and used against you when you seek compensation.
Seeking medical attention can be important on a personal and legal level. Many people try to "tough it out." Don't try it or assume that an injury from an accident will heal on its own. If the injury does not heal on its own and you have no medical documentation it is not only bad for your medical condition but, as explained above, it is handing the insurance company an argument to fight you on the value of your claim and whether or not your injury was really caused by the accident.
You do not want to find yourself in a situation in which both you and the person liable for the accident do not have insurance. Depending on who caused the accident, it may be that you are not able to recover any medical bills for your injury. The fact of the matter is that many people cancel their insurance.
As it is, the insurance limits for Arizona are very low. The minimum insurance you have to have on your vehicle is $15,000 for liability purposes and $10,000 for property damage. So if you are driving a car that will cost more than $10,000 to replace, do not have collision coverage, and the person who hits you has minimum insurance, it is probable that you will not be able to get your car fixed or replaced. If you are seriously injured and do not carry the correct amount of insurance and a person hits you who has minimum insurance, it could possibly mean that the most you are able to collect is $15,000. $15,000 many times does not even cover your hospital bill.
If you have been injured and are seeking compensation, it may seem easier to simply deal with the injury case on your own or ignore the consequences of the accident altogether. However, this is an extremely complex area of law. Never forget that the insurance companies and attorneys for the liable party are trained to fend off compensation claims. If they don't fend them off entirely, then they can to try to minimize the claim. Trying to navigate this area of law without professional help is going to cost you in the long run.
The Arizona injury attorneys of The Husband & Wife Law Team have been practicing injury and wrongful death law since 1996. We offer free consultations on all personal injury claims. We can walk you through your case and legal options for your individual personal injury claim. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we can answer all your questions, so call us today at (602) 457-6222.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer