Drivers travel the highways, county roads and city streets of Arizona. They work, go to tourist destinations, visit friends and relatives, and take leisurely scenic drives, as well as commute. But along the way, drivers face safety risks. There are new roadway challenges such as defective tires, attention to navigation systems, texting while driving, distracted drivers and speeding electric scooters, as well as long-standing challenges that include drunk drivers, inexperienced drivers, and underinsured and uninsured motorists.
If you are injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you need an experienced lawyer. We want to work with and guide you and your family through a legal system that can be intimidating and confusing. Luis P. Guerra is well-seasoned. With almost a quarter century representing clients in personal injury cases, we are experienced, aggressive, hardworking, assertive and understanding, and we won’t back down. As you and your family face lost wages because you cannot work and mounting bills and medical costs, you need a legal advocate in your corner. We will pursue the most favorable settlement or outcome in your personal injury case.
No One Should Face Mounting Bills Or Medical Costs After An Accident
If you have been injured or suffered financial damages in an Arizona car accident, you should speak with a Phoenix car accident lawyer as soon as you are able to. Even if the accident was a minor one, there could be many legal details you cannot handle on your own or complications that prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. When the other party is at fault in your accident, you should never have to foot the bill for repairs, medical expenses, and missed time from work. However, getting a settlement for the full amount of all these expenses is a daunting task. A skilled lawyer is always the best person to have on your side as you enter this process, as it will take the stress and pressure off of you and help ensure you get the maximum settlement for your damages.
Negligence Can Be The Cause Behind Life-Changing Car Accident Injuries
Car, truck or motorcycle accidents come in all forms and shapes. Two vehicles can collide head-on or T-bone or run over each other, or a defective tire may fail and lead to death or severe injuries for the vehicle’s occupants. Careless driving may turn into tragedy. Drowsy, inattentive or reckless truck drivers, who work long hours, may cause accidents that are preventable. And faulty brakes or a defective steering component can transform a relaxing ride into a life-changing accident.
When any of these happens, we will do our utmost to ensure that the parties responsible are held accountable. And if they don’t settle, we will take your case to the courtroom and seek a verdict from a judge or jury. We represent clients throughout the Phoenix metro area, around the state and even across other states. We know our community and region, and we know personal injury law.
Is it Worth it to Get a Lawyer for Minor Car Accidents?
When an individual is involved in a minor accident like a sideswipe or fender bender, they often wonder if it is really necessary to hire an attorney. Although there are some situations in which a lawyer is not necessary, a majority of cases will benefit from the expert knowledge of an experienced attorney. There are many unique details to every automobile accident. The specifics of who is at fault, vehicle damage, and possible injuries all contribute to determining whether an individual should consult a lawyer.
When an accident occurs, and the resulting action is very cut and dry, a claim is filed with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, and they make a settlement payment to the injured party, based on damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages resulting from time missed from work
- The cost of repairing the vehicle
- Prescription medication costs
- Expenses from hospital stays and doctor appointments
- Medical bills
In an ideal world, every circumstance would be solved this easily. However, it is very rare for an insurance company to accept a full claim. Even in the case of minor accidents, the insurance company will typically try to make a settlement offer that is far less than what the victim actually deserves.
If the damages you sustain are truly minimal, it is possible an insurance company may accept and pay the full claim. There are also situations in which the accident victim may be able to settle the case in small claims court if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance or the insurance company denies the claim. In most small accident circumstances, however, the injured party will benefit from a skilled attorney’s expertise. If you wonder whether you should hire a lawyer for your minor car accident, there are a few key instances in which the answer is yes. These situations include:
- Any circumstance in which you need to take the other driver to court
- You are handling your own claim, but you become doubtful or stressed out
- You can’t agree with the other party on fair compensation
- You disagree with the other driver on who is at fault for the accident
- You suffer serious injuries that require long-term treatment
Remember that insurance companies are a business. Their goal is to always pay out as little as possible. This is why so much focus is on who is at fault and just how much compensation an individual deserves, even in minor accident cases. These insurance companies are so heavily focused on paying out as little as possible that they employ entire teams of attorneys and adjusters who work to get the result that is most beneficial to the company. Remember, though, that no matter how small your accident was, you should never have to pay for the expenses you suffer in a situation that was not your fault. This is why you should always have a trusted attorney on your side to help you get the full compensation you need to pay for your expenses.
Many accident victims mistakenly assume that they don’t have any serious injuries after an accident. This could be because they are in shock or experiencing an adrenaline rush that suppresses the pain from an injury for hours and sometimes days. This typically applies to whiplash, which can increase in severity and become more painful over time. Injuries to the neck, back, and head can occur, even in minor accidents, and may require a great deal of treatment and a long recovery period. For this reason, it is essential to visit a doctor after a car accident and get an accurate diagnosis of any possible injuries.
Besides seeing a doctor, there are several things any accident victim should do immediately after the accident occurs that could protect them legally as the claim progresses. To best protect yourself, even after a minor accident, some of the things you should do at the accident scene include:
- Call the police, and be sure that the responding officers file an accident report
- Speak to any witnesses, and get their names and contact information
- Get the other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance information, and make, model, and license number of their vehicle
- Take pictures of your vehicle damage, any visible injuries, and the entire accident scene from various angles
- Check other passengers or individuals involved in the accident for injuries
When you have collected all of this information, you can confidently hire a Phoenix car accident injury attorney to help you build a strong insurance claim. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, which help determine whether their services are necessary. You can ask all of the questions you have at the consultation. They will offer an expert opinion on the strength of your case and your ability to receive compensation. When you work with an attorney, you have peace of mind in knowing that they are going to work hard to prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
The short answer to this question is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you have been involved in an accident. The claims adjusters and attorneys that work for the insurance companies begin working on insurance claims immediately after the accident to pay as little as possible. Many times, they will go so far as to try to shift the fault from their insured party to the victim to avoid making a fair settlement.
You should never speak with an insurance adjuster before discussing your case with a lawyer because they will inevitably try to get you to say something that they can use to their own benefit. Even when it seems that they are making small talk or expressing concern about you, they are likely fishing for details that they can use against you. Situations in which you should hire an attorney to guide you through dealing with insurance company representatives include:
- You lost a loved one as a result of injuries they sustained in the accident. If you have experienced this unfortunate situation, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to receive the compensation you deserve.
- The negligence of a government agency caused your accident. Getting compensation for damages caused by the wrongful acts of employees of local and state government agencies is a very complicated process that involves even more legal knowledge than other accidents.
- You sustained severe and permanent injuries. A skilled attorney can help you to obtain the money you need to pay for the lifetime of expenses your injuries may cause. This may include a decrease in your income earning capacity, modifications you must make to your home, hospitalization, and future surgeries you may require.
These are just a few of the circumstances in which you will definitely want an experienced lawyer on your side. Hopefully, if you have been in a minor accident, it was not severe enough to cause any damages this severe. There are still many ways that you can benefit from the help of a Phoenix car accident lawyer. Attorneys can handle many tasks for you that you may not be able to do on your own, such as:
- Putting a dollar figure on the amount you are owed. Knowing just how much your settlement should be is difficult to determine. Experienced attorneys have the skills to place a value on every damage you have suffered, including immediate and future out-of-pocket costs, damage to relationships, and your pain and suffering.
- Collect the money that you are owed. When your case is settled, whether in court or otherwise, you still can’t pay your expenses until you actually have the money. Lawyers know how to collect the award when the at-fault party avoids making payment.
- Filing lawsuits and handling litigation. No one should ever attempt to represent themselves in court, as it is easy to make mistakes. Neither the judge, jury or the other party’s attorneys will take you seriously.
- Negotiate with insurance companies. It is never easy to get the maximum settlement from an insurance company. Still, a reputable Phoenix car accident injury attorney will be able to handle everything the insurance company tries to use to reduce the settlement amount.
- Navigating laws and planning legal strategy for your case. Attorneys are able to determine all parties who may have legal liability for the damages you suffered and the details of how to take legal action that is more likely to increase your chances of getting the largest settlement.
Since all of the details involved with seeking the maximum compensation for the expenses you have suffered through no fault of your own is a complicated process, it is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as you are able to after your auto accident.
What Questions Should I Ask an Attorney for a Car Accident Case?
In the aftermath of a car accident in Arizona, no matter how small, an individual is often faced with a situation in which they have no experience. The stress can be overwhelming. It is essential to work with a Phoenix car accident lawyer who has an abundance of experience handling these types of cases to ensure that you are properly compensated for the expenses and injuries you incur as a result of the accident. However, most people don’t even know where to begin and don’t know what they should be looking for in an attorney. If you are involved in an accident, consider these important questions to ask your lawyer.
- How does your legal representation work in my accident case?
This vital question will help you to get a grasp on the way your attorney approaches the process and their relationship with you. It gives the attorney a chance to explain exactly what they will do to get you the compensation you deserve and detail their legal plan for your particular case. Knowing how your lawyer handles accident cases will help you to develop a trusting relationship with them.
- How can I best protect my interests in this case?
Most individuals don’t know what they should and shouldn’t be doing to protect their case. There are deadlines that must be met and insurance companies to deal with. Since this is often a complicated process, your attorney will be able to walk you through it.
- What information do you need me to provide to you?
Since there are so many factors involved with every specific case, it can be difficult to know just what is important and what is not. Your attorney will be able to detail exactly what witness information, evidence, photographs, documentation, and other items they will need to best assist you with your case.
- Do I need to file my lawsuit within a certain time?
There are statutes of limitation on filing lawsuits in accident cases. If your claim is not filed within the appropriate period of time, the statute of limitation may expire. It is crucial to know these details because failure to file a case against the defendant in time means that you will never be able to bring a claim against the person who is responsible for your injuries and damages.
- How long will the claim settlement process take?
It may take time to secure the full and fair compensation you deserve for the damages sustained in a car accident. Some cases are settled in a few weeks, while others may take more than a year. Your attorney will be able to give you an idea of how long this will take once they have taken all of the factors involved into consideration. Insurance companies often take a great deal of time to examine and analyze information related to your health issues and injuries, photos, and records, and to conduct interviews with witnesses.
- How much will my settlement be?
Your attorney will not be able to tell you exactly how much compensation you will receive for your claim, but they can give you a general idea after they know the details of your damages and injuries.
- Can I get compensation for future expenses if my injuries require continued medical attention?
Even in a minor accident, a victim may suffer injuries that require medical care for many months or years. The recurring issues that may result from your injuries may require compensation that goes beyond the amount that is offered for the initial medical expenses involved. Depending on your specific situation, you may have an injury that could get worse and need surgery, or you may have to visit a physical therapist or chiropractor for a significant period of time.
- Should I accept a settlement or sue the other party for damages?
Depending on the details of your car accident case, you may be able to settle with the insurance company without getting involved in a lawsuit. In fact, most cases do settle outside of court. You may decide to sue the insurance company, but even if this is the case, there is typically an option to settle with them before going to court. Your attorney will help you analyze your case’s specifics and determine whether it is best to accept a settlement or take the case before a judge and jury to have them decide on the matter. However, always keep in mind that if you accept a settlement, you cannot sue for your injuries.
- If the insurance company makes an offer, what should I do?
You should always let your attorney deal with the insurance company when possible, but if they ask you to accept a settlement, give a recorded statement, or fill out paperwork, always consult your lawyer first. Most importantly, if you do speak with them, keep everything in general terms, keep answers short, and do not get lured into in-depth conversations.
- How often will we be in communication?
Some attorneys have their paralegal handle communications with clients, so you will want to ask how often you will be speaking directly with them. Whether it is weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly will often depend on the specifics of your case. It is not uncommon for it to be infrequent, but you will feel better knowing how they handle this and what they are doing during the time that you are not being updated. You can also discuss your preferred means of communication, such as telephone calls, emails, or in-person meetings.
- How are your fees and the legal expenses of my case paid?
This is an important question because you want to be sure that hiring an attorney isn’t going to cost you more than it’s worth. Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they take their fees and your legal fees out of your settlement. You are charged nothing upfront, and they take a percentage of your settlement in the end. This gives many individuals peace of mind because it ensures that the attorney is working hard on their case since their livelihood depends on it. Contingency fees are typically 25% to 30% of the damages you receive. Some attorneys charge a flat fee or get paid by the hour, so it is always important to know how your attorney will charge you.
Do You Really Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Case?
Every car accident is different, and it can be difficult to decide whether you need an attorney or not. For this reason, it is always best to seek a consultation with an attorney to discuss the details of your case. Consultations are typically free and can give you some clarity on your particular situation. There are, of course, some situations that do not require the assistance of an attorney. These may include accidents in which:
- You caused the accident. If you know that you are at fault for an accident, your insurance company should handle the situation and provide you with a defense attorney if necessary. They should not charge you for this attorney, as it is typically a benefit of your insurance policy.
- You are an attorney. If you are experienced in personal injury law or a similar field that gives you insight that most individuals don’t have into your claim, you may choose to handle the case yourself if you have the time.
- You are an insurance agent or adjuster. Just as attorneys have knowledge of how to handle their own cases, individuals who work in the insurance field may have the necessary knowledge and experience to handle their own claim. In this case, you may be able to resolve the issue without litigation.
- You aren’t interested in being compensated for your losses. If the accident was extremely minor with no damages to speak of, you may wish to just go on your way and not seek compensation.
- You weren’t injured. If the accident happened at such a slow speed that you are certain you were not injured, you may choose to forgo hiring a lawyer. At times, an attorney will even tell you this if you call them to inquire. Remember that their income often depends on their ability to get your compensation, so if there is no reason to be compensated, it would be foolish of them to take the case. Always be aware, however, that you may have injuries that you don’t realize right away.
Contact Us: We Exclusively Work On Personal Injury Cases
We understand personal injury law. If you have been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and need legal assistance, Luis P. Guerra, LLC, wants to represent you. We have exclusively worked with personal injury cases for almost a quarter century. Our experience and determination will help gain the best outcome for you and your family as lost wages, bills and medical costs are mounting. Since you or someone in your family may be living with injuries for the rest of your life, you need top-notch representation. We will advocate for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Phoenix car accident attorneys, contact us at 602-381-8400. Hablamos español.