Auto accidents can cause debilitating and permanent injuries that often result in significant financial loss. Individuals injured in auto accidents have the right to recover damages from the responsible party to include: medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and economic losses. Certain circumstances are eligible for the recovery of funds by family for loss of consortium and relationship. Although nothing can repair the emotional turmoil of a personal injury, recovering monetary loss can ease financial stress.
An investigation by the insurance company will immediately follow the accident as it is their responsibility to limit the recovery of the injured person to the lowest possible amount. Because of this, insurance companies have established specific procedures to handle auto accident claims, especially in the early stages.
During this time (typically within the first week following the accident and, in most cases between 2 and 48 hours), the insurance company will:
- Take recorded statements from those involved,
- Have the vehicles examined and photographs taken
- Obtain the police report to establish the extent of injuries suffered
Insurance companies try to reach a quick settlement with the injured person to avoid responsibility for future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages likely to develop. This is a trap that the injured party needs to avoid as it typically takes months to completely assess the injuries from an accident. Sometimes, surgery or extensive treatments are required for injuries that may leave permanent disability or require further corrective surgery. Because of this, the value of a claim can only truly be assessed after a firm prognosis by a doctor. There is no need to rush a settlement with an insurance company if it is not in your best interest.
Other significant issues develop from auto accidents. For example, if your health insurance pays for your medical bills then they will often seek reimbursement from your settlement despite significant limitations on their right to do so. Similarly, worker’s compensation insurance will try to obtain reimbursements for medical expenses as well as lost wages, also despite limitations. This is why it is vital to understand your rights prior to agreeing to any settlement.
The State of Arizona requires individuals to maintain liability insurance coverage for their automobiles. The minimum requirements for bodily injury liability insurance coverage in Arizona are $15,000.00 per person and $30,000.00 per accident. Since these insurance limits may be insufficient to cover the claim of an injured person, very often the injured person must explore what other insurance is available to the responsible driver or the extent of the driver’s personal assets. The responsible driver may have the right to coverage from insurance policies of family members, an employer, a rental car company or from an “umbrella” policy. In addition, other unknown persons or entities may also have liability for the auto collision. For instance, if the road or a light was defective, a government agency may share responsibility for the collision. In addition, your own insurance policy may provide you with coverage for your injuries.
Determining the value of a claim is complicated as it is based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Evaluation of the nature and extent of the injury
- Consideration of any potentially recoverable economic losses and liability issues
- The location of the trial
- Prior injuries suffered by the claimant
Because insurance companies are skilled in obtaining the lowest settlements possible, it is vital that you have someone experienced to help you navigate the settlement process. The professionals at The Arnold Hirsch Law Office of Scottsdale provide expertise in auto accidents and personal injury claims and will work on your behalf to ensure a fair settlement.
If you or a loved one has been injured or in a car accident in Scottsdale, Glendale, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction, Santan, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, Ahwatukee, or anywhere in Arizona, call The Arnold Hirsch Law Office of Scottsdale at (480) 788-8082 to schedule your free consultation.