Top Asked Auto Accident Questions
Phoenix Car Accident Lawyers Answer Important FAQs
Auto accidents are swift and chaotic events, and the forces involved may render one or both drivers unable to communicate. Add to this the confusion that inevitably follows a major violent incident, and it can soon seem daunting just to figure out what happened. Unfortunately the law applies a statute of limitations on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, so it is important to seek the help of a credentialed attorney to begin to pursue your recovery.
The Phoenix car accident attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. have been representing injured drivers and passengers since 1996 in Arizona, and we often hear many of the same questions:
What should I do immediately after an accident in Phoenix?
Seek medical care first and foremost. Even if you feel generally intact and able to walk away, soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, associated with a car crash can worsen significantly in the hours and days ahead. You may also be in shock, which can briefly mask the pain of a grave injury. If you are able, however, try to collect all the information you can from people at the scene, including other drivers, passengers, eyewitnesses and anyone who arrived. The data you collect should include insurance policies, driver's license numbers and vehicle makes and models. Taking photographs of the scene can help tremendously as well, as can keeping copies of all police reports and medical records.
How can I determine who was at fault?
Determining who was at fault is a complex process, and one that will require the testimony of experts. Many collisions that seem cut and dried become less so on reexamination, and mitigating factors such as broken traffic signals or malfunctioning vehicles can also play a part. Even if you were clearly rear-ended, you will want to retain an effective auto accident attorney to ensure there is nothing left to chance as you move toward trial and assign fault appropriately.
How much will it cost?
This is the good news. Most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you never pay a dime unless you win a settlement. At that time, the attorney's fees you have incurred are taken from your recovered money.
Breyer Law Offices have been at the forefront of Phoenix's personal injury attorney community since 1996, and today we offer a level of resources and preparation without peer in the region. If you have been injured in an auto collision and need incisive advice, please call Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 267-1280 or CLICK HERE to submit a Simple Case Form.
How do I handle my property damage, car repair, and car related issues after an auto accident?
First, it may not be your choice whether or not your car is repaired or replaced. It is very common for people to feel as though they know that they want a good car fixed as opposed to replaced or, in the alternative, like a car that they never felt ran well to be replaced instead of repaired. The reality is that state auto accident law leaves it up to the tortfeasor - the person who caused the crash or the insurance company - to make this decision. There are times that a good lawyer can be of help in getting the other insurance company to do what the client prefers. However, there is no guarantee. The reality is that most insurance companies set an internal limit as to how much they are willing to spend on repairing a vehicle before they simply replace it. Therefore, the value of the car versus the amount it will cost to repair that car will be, by far, the most important factor in determining whether the car is repaired or replaced.
A very common question is how the value of the vehicle is determined. Many people believe they can rely on the Kelly Blue Book. The reality is that state law says that it is the "market value" of a vehicle that determines how much a car is worth after a crash. Therefore, simply looking in the newspaper, the Auto Trader, Cars.Com, Auto Trader.Com, or other resource that shows similar cars listed for sale will establish the market value of any given vehicle. This is the primary resource that is used. In the industry they refer to these other vehicles as "comps." In other words, trying to find other comparable vehicles and what they are selling for. This is the best way to determine what a car is worth. If a car is replaced, the insurance company will not actually go out and buy a similar car, but will instead be required to pay the "market value" of the vehicle to the owner of the vehicle that was damaged in the collision.
Many people want to know what they should do if they are "upside down" on their vehicle. In other words, what happens to the person who owes more on their car than the car is worth. The reality is that this is a very common occurrence. For instance, every time somebody buys a new car and they drive that car off the new dealer lot, they are "upside down." In other words, they have a loan on the vehicle for more money than that vehicle is now worth. It can happen with used cars or new cars that somebody can be "upside down." In any event, it is very unfortunate that Arizona law does not do as much as we believe it should to help those people out. The reality is that the person who causes the collision is not responsible to fix the situation for the person who was injured, but is only required to pay the market value of the car. This can leave someone who is "upside down" in a very unfair position.
Finding the best personal injury lawyer in Phoenix to help try to rectify that by contacting the company that made the original loan or by trying to increase the amount of the payoff from the insurance company can be vital. Many people want to know if they can choose their own auto repair shop to get their vehicle fixed after a crash. In almost every case the answer to this is a resounding "yes." Far too often, insurance companies tell people a list of automotive and body repair facilities that they can go to. The reality is that somebody who has had their car in a wreck is not limited to those shops that are preferred by the at-fault driver's insurance company. Any reputable repair facility - dealership, local facility, or otherwise - is allowed to do the repairs on the vehicle.
If I need to get a rental car after a car accident in Phoenix, who has to pay for it?
The person who causes the crash - through their insurance company - is responsible for paying for a substitute vehicle - a rental car - during the time that the vehicle is being fixed. Or, if it takes a while for the adverse insurance company to do a pay off on a vehicle that is a total loss, they are supposed to supply a rental car during that time period.
Coordinating the car repair and the car rental can be some of the most difficult and trying times for somebody who is not represented by an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer. While we wish this was not the case, the reality is that we often see insurance companies drag their feet on these property damage issues that could be easily resolved with the proper help.
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a collision and needs assistance with getting their car fixed, replaced, or getting a car rental, please do not hesitate to give our Phoenix injury lawyers a call.