Tucson Car Accident Attorneys Answer FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
Accident attorneys Mark and Alexis Breyer have devoted their entire practice to representing those injured due to the negligence of others. A major portion of their practice is defending the rights of injured victims. As a service to their readers, The Husband & Wife Law Team have answered several of the most FAQs regarding auto accident defense.
Why Should I Hire A Tucson Car Accident Lawyer?
You do not have to hire a Tucson personal injury lawyer after an auto accident. There is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer after a crash, and injured victims in Tucson and throughout the state can process their cases on their own. Therefore, those who are wondering "what is the advantage of hiring a car accident lawyer?" should know that there is no necessity that they do so.
On the other hand, in particular with serious injuries or wrongful death claims, failing to hire the best lawyer that you can find can be a terrible mistake.Tucson personal injury lawsuits are a "one and done" prospect in almost every case. To use a golf term, there are no "mulligans." There is no "do-over" if things do not go well. The reality is that a settlement of a car accident case will usually come in one lump sum, one time. Therefore, somebody who tries to handle a vehicle accident case on their own and settles the case without the help of a lawyer only to later determine that they could or should have received more compensation is out of luck. They have lost their one opportunity to receive the full compensation of their current medical bills, the full recovery of future medical bills, complete reimbursement of lost wages because of the car accident, complete reimbursement of money for future lost wages that they will never earn because of the injury they suffered, not to mention pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inability to do life's daily activities because of the injury.
Even car accident victims who try to handle the initial aspects of their cases are taking a significant risk. Not every case requires that a lawyer be hired on an urgent basis. In some cases, there is not urgency whatsoever and a lawyer could be hired months after the incident and there would be no detriment to the case. The problem is, it usually takes an experienced personal injury lawyer to know whether or not a case needs a lawyer's assistance immediately. To risk losing out completely on the right to receive legal compensation, or to jeopardize the one time recovery due to missed opportunities immediately following the case that could provide evidence that would be useful later, it is important for people to at least contact a top injury lawyer that they can trust. It is not always necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer immediately. Sometimes, it feels as though everybody is a salesman. Everybody is trying to convince people that they have to hire a lawyer that second. It is simply not the case.
Some people wonder "how long do I have to hire a personal injury lawyer after a traffic accident case?" The reality is it depends upon the statute of limitations. But the real question is not how long can a person wait. The better question is, how quickly should a Tucson car accident attorney be hired to protect your rights.
We understand that most people want a definite answer. People want to know exactly how long they should take before hiring a lawyer. Instead, what we would suggest is that you immediately contact the top car accident lawyer that you can find. Ask them whether or not they need a lawyer at all. Find out whether a lawyer needs to be hired immediately. Find out the benefits and advantages to getting a lawyer on board for that particular case prior to making a decision.
Too often, people wait too long and jeopardize their one change at recovery because they wanted to avoid hiring a lawyer. Far too often, the defendant or insurance company takes advantage of the fact that they are well prepared to collect evidence early on while the person who is suffering an injury has decided to put off discussing their case with an attorney.
If you have any questions about whether your case needs a lawyer or whether it should be pursued, please contact us at (520) 624-4228 immediately. If we do not believe you need a lawyer we will tell you. We tell people regularly when we do not believe that they have a case or we do not believe they need to hire a lawyer to pursue their case.
In many other situations, we explain to people that they need to hire a lawyer but they do not have to hire one "urgently." Sometimes, however, the facts of that case, the type of injury, the type of accident, and other factors dictate that hiring a lawyer immediately is vital to insuring fair compensation at the outcome of the case. If you would like an honest assessment of your case please feel free to contact us.
How Much Is An Auto Accident Case Worth?
Injured victims often ask this question. In fact, it's a question asked on a regular basis of any experienced personal injury lawyer in Tucson. Unfortunately, that is not an easy question to answer. We understand that people want to know whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue a claim, and to know that they'd like to have some idea as to what a personal injury case is worth.
The reason this is so difficult to answer is because it is so incredibly case specific. To over simplify the matter, the value of a personal injury case is based upon what a jury would say the accident victim is entitled to.
The reality is that there are only two ways cases conclude in almost any personal injury situation. First, and by far the most common, there is a settlement. That is where the insurance company or a corporate defendant that caused the accident comes to an agreement with the plaintiff as to what the case should be settled for. If the case never settles, a jury will decide how much money is fair compensation for the plaintiff. This means that even every settlement is basically dependent upon what the parties believe a jury would do with the case.
Too often, people get caught up in the question of "what is fair?" The reality is the better question should be "how much compensation will a jury award if this case does not settle?"
Under state law, a victim is entitled to be compensated for all damages that they suffered as a result of the negligence of the other party. This includes wage loss, medical bills, future wage loss, future medical bills, pain, suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to do activities of daily living, and every other aspect of the victim's life that was affected because somebody else was negligent.
Trying to determine the exact value of a case becomes very dependent on what the injury was. Somebody who has a torn rotator cuff from a car accident and is unable to lift their arm has a very different case than somebody who suffered a very minor injury. Somebody with a brain injury from a car wreck who is unable to return to work is entitled to far more compensation according to the law than somebody who had a small headache.
The reality is that each case stands on its own merits.
We have heard of situations where personal injury lawyers try to tell injury victims what their case is worth at the time that they first speak to their potential client. We do not do this. We do not believe anybody can honestly tell somebody what their case is worth before they have seen the very first document in the case. Until medical treatment is concluded, an honest assessment and evaluation is done, any attempt to try to tell somebody how much their injury case is worth after a car accident is merely guess work. Sometimes, unfortunately, it may even be salesmanship.
We are big believers in telling our clients and our potential clients the truth. Anybody can tell somebody what they want to hear. Anybody can tell somebody that their personal injury case is worth a lot of money. However, potential clients who call our Tucson office deserve honesty. They deserve to know the strengths of their case as well as the weaknesses. They deserve to be told what evidence needs to be compiled and what has to be done in order to determine what the case should settle for. No two cases have the exact same identical fact pattern. Every case has different issues that could affect liability, damages, and other things that may affect the settlement value of the case.
Who Pays Medical Bills After An Accident?
To some personal injury lawyers help make sure that all medical bills caused by the negligence of another driver are paid. It is the responsibility of the negligent driver to pay for the medical bills that are necessitated by the injuries that are caused from the car accident. Of course, it is almost never the actual driver of the other car that pays for these medical bills. The reason we have insurance is to make sure that those medical bills can actually be paid. It is also the goal to make sure that somebody who causes a car accident does not become bankrupt. As a benefit to that, the person who was injured in the car accident has the right to receive the medical care they need in order to get better and has the right to pursue medical bill repayment from the person who caused the car accident.
Now, it is also important to note the top injury lawyers will do everything possible to explain to clients all the different aspects of getting medical bills paid for. For instance, there is a misconception among many people that their health insurance will not cover their medical bills if they are involved in a car accident. Although every health insurance policy is different, the reality is that somebody who has been injured in a car accident and has health insurance should almost always use that health insurance in order to obtain the best possible care that they can. The fact that there is also an insurance company for the person who caused the accident that is required to pay for those medical bills is something that the personal injury lawyer can help work with later.
The law has already taken into account what should happen for the person who has been seriously injured in a crash and needs medical treatment where that person has both health insurance available to them as well as the insurance of the person who caused the car crash. Under the law, both the health insurance that the injury victim already had as well as the persons insurance who caused the accident are responsible to pay for those medical bills. Now, under this situation there are three possibilities as to what the law may allow. On the one hand, the law could dictate, in combination with the health insurance policy, that the health insurance does not have to pay anything for an auto accident or for medical bills after an auto accident. This is rarely the case. This is a common misconception that experienced lawyers help to address. The reality is that using health insurance is almost always the first line of defense. Even if the health insurance has a right to partial or even full reimbursement, using health insurance will almost always eliminate delay and afford the best possible care of all of the other options. Therefore, the possibility that the health insurance is completely off the hook and should not be used is rarely the case.
Another possibility under the law would be that the insurance for the person who caused the accident is "off the hook" and does not have to pay for medical bills if the person who is injured had health insurance. However, this would be rewarding the insurance company for the person who is at fault because the person who was hurt paid for health insurance in advance. The law does not afford any such benefit to the at fault party or insurance company.
A third possibility, and this is often the case, is that the advantage to having two different insurance companies that are required to cover the same medical bills goes to the benefit of the person who made sure they were properly insured in the first place. In this case, there is something known as the "collateral source rule." This application of the "collateral source rule," in a car accident case would meant that the insurance company for the at fault driver must still pay for all the medical bills reasonably incurred as a result of injury suffered in the car accident. At the same time, the health insurance must also cover those same bills. Since the doctors do not need to be paid twice for their services, the additional monies can often be used to help compensate the injury victim.
However, making sure that everybody is properly paid and that all the insurance contracts and laws are followed can be very complicated. That is why hiring a top injury lawyer can be so important for somebody who is trying to make sure they get the best possible medical care and also ensures that they are fully compensated for everything they ever suffered as a result of the negligent driving of somebody else.
If you want honest answers in terms of how to handle your health insurance or other medical needs, do not hesitate to contact us. We will give you an honest assessment as to the best way to try to work through your insurance issues to make sure that you are fully compensated, the doctors are fully compensated, and that you get all of the medical treatment you need.
How do I file an insurance claim after a car accident?
As personal injury attorneys who help people who have injured in car accidents, we are always happy to hear this question asked. The reason we like to hear this question asked is because it usually indicates that the person who is injured has not yet filed an insurance claim. Of course, filing an insurance claim with your own insurance company should be done as soon as practical. However, if somebody has been seriously hurt or has lost a loved one and they are going to file an insurance claim, they should first consider whether or not it would be better to hire a lawyer.
As a practical matter, filing an insurance claim is not a complicated process. In most cases, it is as simple as a phone call to set up the claim. The problem is that some insurance companies will take advantage of this situation where they have the opportunity to talk to the person that was injured as a result of their insured's negligence and they will try to gather information before that person hires an attorney. Therefore, although setting up an insurance claim can be simple, it can also be a mistake to set one up without first talking to the best Tucson auto accident lawyer that you can find.
A top personal injury lawyer will usually prevent the other insurance company from taking any statements that can later be twisted and used against the person who is injured. The best and most experienced injury lawyers will often try to limit even the statements that are taken by your own insurance company. Also, having a lawyer involved will sometimes decrease the amount of "gamesmanship" that is played by insurance companies when they believe somebody is not represented and can be taken advantage of.
How Can I Make An Insurance Claim If The Other Driver Did Not Have Insurance?
Unfortunately, many auto accidents include situations where the person who caused the accident did not have any insurance. This can be very frustrating for somebody, particularly somebody who did nothing wrong and suffered a serious injury as a result of the negligence of the other driver. The reality is that there is no magic bullet that can solve this problem. Instead, finding a skilled auto accident lawyer who helps injured victims is a vital first step.
The fact that the other driver did not have insurance does not mean that there is no insurance claim. First of all, there is always the chance that the other driver refused to admit that there was insurance at the scene but there is actually insurance available. We have seen many cases where our investigation helped uncover insurance that could help our client pay for the medical bills, lost wages, and to receive compensation for the injury they suffered even where the person who caused the accident at first denied that they had any insurance. Sometimes this is because the person just does not want to admit they have insurance. Other times, they may have been driving a car owned by somebody else and there was insurance that did cover that accident they were not aware of. In other cases, they may have been working for somebody who had insurance that covers them for the injuries they caused to our clients. Therefore, it is not safe to just assume there is no insurance coverage and it is a good idea to hire a lawyer that can help somebody after a Tucson car accident to investigate.
In addition to that, many of our clients have a coverage they are not aware of. This is called uninsured motorist coverage. This is coverage that somebody pays for in case they are ever hurt by somebody who does not have insurance. Many of our clients are afraid to make uninsured motorist coverage claims because it has not been explained to them what their rights are. First, the insurance company is not allowed to raise their insurance rates as a matter of Arizona law so they make an uninsured motorist coverage claim. Second, uninsured motorist accident coverage claims (sometimes called UM claims) are the number one way to protect your rights if the person who caused the accident does not have insurance. The express reason that you or someone else may have paid for that uninsured motorist coverage is to protect you in case you are seriously hurt.
We often point out the fact that the liability insurance coverage everybody is required to have as a matter of law protects everybody else in the world in case you are at fault in an accident. However, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM and UIM) protect you, your family, and your loved ones in case you or somebody else you love is hurt as a result of somebody else's negligence. To not pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim after paying for that policy makes very little sense after a serious car crash.
On top of that, uninsured and underinsured do not only apply to the vehicle you are in. Therefore, you could be in somebody else's car and have suffered a serious injury and the car you were in had no insurance. However, you may have insurance through your own policy that would cover you even though you were in a different vehicle. In fact, under many policies even a loved one and family member that you live with may have had insurance that covers you even though neither your family member nor you were aware of that.
Finding a top-rated injury lawyer that understands insurance coverage and insurance policies that can help determine if an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim is available is a vital first step.
Should I Sign The Paperwork The Insurance Company Sent Me After My Auto Accident?
The insurance company is not on your side. It is not the just of the insurance company to be on your side. The insurance company is not paid to be on your side. In fact, the people who work at the insurance company have a job to do, themselves. Most insurance companies are publicly traded. Those insurance companies have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit. If you invested in an insurance company on the stock market you would expect them to do everything they are allowed to do in order to make a profit. You would not want the company that you invested in to be "nice" to somebody else that they did not have to be if it caused another profit. (Maybe you would want them to be nice, but the reality is it is the profits that would drive their motivation and their obligation as a for profit company.)
Therefore, the documents that you may receive following an auto accident case from an insurance company are probably not there to help you. Those documents probably were not sent to you in order to make sure that your claim is protected. This does not mean that the insurance company is being evil, nor does it mean that the documents that you were being presented with after a serious injury claim can never be filled out. However, the reality is that filling out any documents without making sure that the top auto accident lawyer that you can find has reviewed those documents and made sure that they are not to your detriment is a mistake.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C. we have probably reviewed documents from just about every insurance company that writes auto accident work in the State of Arizona. Therefore, we know the difference between legitimate questions, and questions that are purposely made to look legitimate when they are in fact intended to cause you problems. More importantly, we know the difference between documents that you are required to sign, and those which you are not required to sign. It is important to make sure that you protect your own rights. You can count on the fact that the insurance company is well trained in making sure that they are doing everything possible to process the claims in a way that increase their profits. Similarly, after a serious injury or wrongful death case, it is important that you find the best personal injury lawyer that you can find that is the right fit for you and your family to ensure that your rights are equally protected by somebody who is well trained in personal injury litigation.
Should I Settle My Tucson Car Accident Case?
Many Tucson injury lawyers will focus on the fact that they will settle almost every case that they take. The reason this is done so commonly is that most people do not want to go to trial. People who have been seriously injured want to settle their case. They want to get the compensation they're entitled to under the law. In spite of what many people think, the reality is that most people who have suffered serious injury or who have lost a loved one in an accident are not trying to look for some kind of giant pay day. Instead, they are trying to get what is fair. They are trying to get what is owed to them. They are trying to get what they deserve for something they did not cause. Therefore, it is not in the interest of most people to have a goal of going to trial. Instead, if they can settle the case fairly that's what they want to do.
However, it is important to be very careful when looking for a lawyer who will just promise to settle a case. The insurance industry is extremely sophisticated. They know who the top lawyers are. More importantly, they know that the best car accident lawyers will take cases to trial if necessary. The willingness to take cases to trial is what makes the settlement value greater for anybody represented by that lawyer.
If the insurance company knows that somebody is seriously injured but is represented by a lawyer who settles every case and refuses to cases to trial, the insurance company has no incentive to make a fair offer. They can continue to "low ball" the attorney and the injury victim until the trial gets close and the case gets settled. Instead, what is important is to hire a lawyer who is willing to take cases to trial in Arizona. A trial lawyer who has fought for clients in front of a jury offers far more value to all of his clients.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we are very proud of the fact that we are willing to fight for our clients until the very end. This is not just a benefit for those clients who choose to go to trial. The reality is the question of whether or not to settle a case is up to each individual client. However, we do not encourage our clients to settle for less than the fair settlement value of their case. If our clients choose to settle a case even when they are not being made a great offer, that is their decision. Our job is to give advice and explain what our advice is premised upon. It is then up to each of our clients to choose whether to follow our advice or to choose whether to settle a case for less than what it may otherwise be worth. However, there is a big problem with pushing clients to settle cases when there is not a fair offer on the table. Not only does it hurt that individual client, but personal injury lawyers who refuse to fight for their clients, who do not take cases to trial, develop a reputation amongst defendants and insurance companies as somebody who will not put up a fight. If you know the other side is not willing to put up a fight, there is no reason to offer a fair value on the case. That is why we are very proud of the fact that we are not just "personal injury lawyers" but trial lawyers who fight for our clients from day one through the very end.