Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers
Any accident that causes you serious injuries and that is the result of another’s negligence is “personal injury.” These injuries tend to be financially devastating and may prevent you from returning to your current job. While insurance companies claim that they will take care of you after an accident, rarely will they cover the true costs involved with your injuries without the representation of an Arizona personal injury attorney.
Attorney Luis P. Guerra and his team can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need for a personal injury claim, no matter how your injury happened or the extent of your damages. Our Phoenix personal injury accident attorneys have years of experience handling complex civil claims for personal injuries throughout the Phoenix, AZ area, and we can apply this extensive experience to your unique case.
Are Personal Injury Attorneys Worth It?
You might believe that you can handle your civil claim on your own, or you may think your case does not warrant legal action. However, civil claims—particularly personal injury claims—can prove extremely complicated, and the full extent of your damages may not be immediately clear. You could be entitled to much more compensation than you initially expect. Hiring a Phoenix personal injury accident attorney to represent you not only increases the chances of success with your claim, but also ensures you maximize the compensation you receive.
If you attempt to handle your case on your own without any formal legal training or professional legal experience, you risk jeopardizing your recovery with technical mistakes. Common mistakes include failing to meet your procedural obligations with the local civil court, making mistakes on your court filing paperwork, or prematurely agreeing to a lowball insurance settlement before you fully realized the scope of your damages. If you want the best chance of winning your case and obtaining the most compensation possible for your losses, you need to hire a Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney to represent you.
What Percentage Do Injury Lawyers Charge?
Before agreeing to a personal injury attorney’s representation, make sure you understand their billing practices. If you are concerned about the cost of legal fees, or if you are uncertain about your chances of success with your claim, remember that most Phoenix personal injury accident attorneys use contingency fee billing. A contingency fee billing agreement means you will only pay legal fees if you win your case, and your attorney’s fee is deducted as a percentage of your total case award. If they offer contingency fee billing, ensure you are comfortable with the percentage your attorney will take from your case award.
In most cases, the amount you pay in legal fees is much less than you stand to lose if you attempt to handle your case on your own. Additionally, your legal fees are simply deducted from the final case award, so you will not need to pay anything during your case proceedings. When you ensure you are completely clear about how your attorney manages billing their time before agreeing to their representation, you will know exactly what to expect when it comes to your overall costs.
When Should I Contact an Injury Attorney After an Accident?
If you have sustained injuries and economic damages due to the negligent actions of another party, it is best to consult a Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Securing legal counsel immediately increases the chances of success with your claim.
Swift action preserves the integrity of any material evidence. In addition, if your case requires witness testimony, working with an attorney as soon as possible increases the likelihood that witnesses will clearly remember the details of the situation in question. As a result, their testimony will be legally valid for the purposes of your case.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
“Minor” is a subjective term. If your car accident only involves cosmetic damage to your vehicle, it may not be necessary to hire an attorney. However, if you sustained any injuries, however minor they appear, it is best to consult an attorney about your claim. You may be able to recover your damages by filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, but there is no guarantee that their coverage will be sufficient to fully compensate your losses. It is also difficult to deal with insurance companies on your own.
Hiring an attorney to assist you will decrease the chance of the insurer pushing back against your claim and will likely yield a more expedient settlement. Ultimately, you must use your best judgment when it comes to hiring legal representation after a car accident. However, if you believe that you will need to take the at-fault driver to court to recover the full amount of your losses, it is best to hire a Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney to represent you.
Cases Our Firm Handles
At the law firm of Luis P. Guerra, L.L.C., our personal injury lawyers handle cases involving:
- Premises liability. Property owners must ensure their properties do not pose unreasonable safety risks to lawful visitors. If you suffered an injury on private property that you believe occurred because the property owner failed to notify you of a known safety hazard, you may file a premises liability claim. Similarly, if the property owner did not take adequate steps to address such a hazard, we can help you file a premises liability claim to recover your damages.
- Slip-and-fall accidents. A “slip and fall” may sound like a minor injury, but the reality is that any slip and fall incident can potentially cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other major medical issues for the victim. If you or a loved one suffered a slip and fall injury that you believe occurred due to another party’s negligence, we can help you hold that party accountable.
- Dog bites. Arizona upholds a strict liability law when it comes to injuries caused by dogs. If a dog bites and injures another person, the dog’s owner may be fully responsible for the victim’s damages and their related costs.
- Medical malpractice. Medical errors are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths and injuries throughout the US. All medical providers have a duty to uphold a quality standard of care for every patient they treat. When medical negligence results in injury, the patient has the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the provider responsible for the injury. Medical malpractice claims are more complex than most other personal injury claims, and our team has extensive experience providing robust legal counsel in these situations.
- Injuries involving children. When a child suffers an injury at school, daycare, or while under the supervision of any adult, the supervising party is liable for injuries the child sustains while under their care. If you believe a school, daycare, or other party was negligent in the supervision of your child, we can help you hold them accountable with a personal injury claim filed on your child’s behalf.
- Electric, gas or utility accidents. Public utility providers must follow all applicable regulations when performing any utility work. If you or a loved one suffered any injuries due to the negligence of any utility provider, our team can help you hold them responsible with a personal injury claim.
- Firearms and gun accidents. Negligent discharge of a firearm is a Class 6 felony in Arizona. If you or a loved one suffered any type of firearm-related injury due to another party’s negligence, we can help you pursue compensation for your damages.
- Defective products. Product manufacturers must ensure the products they create are safe, effective, and perform as advertised. If you believe a recent injury occurred due to an unreasonably dangerous or defective consumer product, Luis P. Guerra, LLC can help you file a product liability claim against the manufacturer or other party in the supply chain responsible for the defect.
- Negligent retention. The term “negligent retention” refers to an employer knowingly keeping an employee onboard who is unfit for performing their job duties. The legal concept of vicarious liability often comes into play in these cases, which states that an employer can be liable for the actions of their employees under certain circumstances.
- Police negligence. Police officers have one of the most dangerous jobs, but they are also held to a higher standard than most other professionals due to the nature of their work. If you believe you suffered injuries due to police negligence, our team can help you explore your options for legal recourse.
- Corporate negligence. A corporation can absorb liability the same way an individual can if they were knowingly engaged in negligent or harmful behavior that results in injuries to private individuals, customers, or their own employees. Our firm is not afraid to confront the in-house legal teams of powerful corporations.
- Statutes of limitations. Arizona enforces statutes of limitations or time limits for filing certain legal actions. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is two years. This means you have two years from the date an injury occurred to take legal action against the party responsible.
- Insurance coverage issues. Dealing with insurance companies is rarely easy. After you file a valid insurance claim of any kind, the insurance company loses profits when they pay out on your claim. As a result, they will often look for any justification they can find to delay or deny a claim whenever possible. We can help you deal with insurance companies, whether you need to file a claim against an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy or make a claim against your homeowners’ insurance policy after an accident involving your home.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the types of personal injury cases we can handle at Luis P. Guerra, LLC. Rest assured that no matter what your unique personal injury claim entails, we can provide the detail-oriented and compassionate legal guidance you need to recover as fully as possible.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
Negligence is the central legal concept in any personal injury claim. “Negligence” refers to a failure to act with reasonable care or a failure to uphold a duty of care in a given situation. For example, a driver has a duty of care to refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, a medical professional has a duty of care to uphold the standard of care for a patient’s condition and medical treatment.
If you believe another party has caused a personal injury, you and your Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney must establish four elements of negligence to build a successful claim:
- Duty. First, you must identify the defendant or defendants you believe to be responsible for your damages and establish the duty of care they had in the situation in question. “Duty of care” refers to the reasonable actions an adult should be expected to take in a given situation.
- Breach. Second, you and your attorney must prove how the defendant failed to uphold this duty of care. This could be through a direct action or a failure to act when a reasonable person in the same situation could have prevented the injury from occurring. For example, a driver who operates their vehicle under the influence of alcohol is breaching their duty of care to drive safely.
- Damages. Next, you and your attorney must establish the full scope of your claimable damages. If you did not suffer actual harm, you have no claim. Your attorney can help you determine the best way to prove all the damages your personal injury claim entails.
- Causation. Finally, you must prove that your claimed damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and already had a preexisting injury, you could not claim compensation for this injury. However, you could claim compensation for your medical expenses if the accident exacerbated a preexisting injury or caused a new injury.
If you are successful in proving these four components of negligence, you are likely to succeed with your personal injury claim. Depending on the unique details of your situation, proving these four elements of negligence may require providing physical evidence, producing certain documentation, or obtaining witness testimony. Your Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney will guide you through your case and help you prepare for each phase of your proceedings.
Damages and Compensation for Personal Injuries
The goal of any personal injury claim is to provide the plaintiff with compensation to recover financial and noneconomic damages they sustained due to the defendant’s negligence. Arizona state law allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover multiple types of damages from a successful personal injury claim, including:
- Medical expenses. Plaintiffs have the right to pursue compensation for any and all medical expenses they incur due to a defendant’s negligence. This not only includes immediate medical costs like hospital bills, but also long-term medical costs. Plaintiffs may also claim anticipated future medical costs if they require extensive rehabilitation, multiple surgeries, or ongoing medical treatment following the incident in question.
- Property damage. You may also claim property damage in your personal injury claim if a defendant’s negligence resulted in damage to your personal property. For example, if a negligent driver hit your car, you can claim vehicle repair or replacement costs alongside your other damages. “Property damages” can also apply to economic losses you sustain due to a defendant’s negligence, such as lost business or lost value on assets you own.
- Lost income. Plaintiffs can claim lost income when a defendant’s negligence leaves them unable to work. If you are unable to work while you recover from your injuries that a defendant caused, you can claim your income lost during this time in your lawsuit. If your injuries leave you permanently disabled and unable to work at all in the future, your attorney can work with financial experts to determine your lost future earning potential.
- Noneconomic damages. Arizona state law allows a personal injury plaintiff to pursue compensation for noneconomic damages as well. The term “pain and suffering” refers to both the bodily pain and the emotional or psychological distress that occurred due to the defendant’s negligence. Your attorney can help you determine a reasonable value for any pain and suffering damages to include in your claim. Most attorneys multiply their client’s medical expenses by a factor of two to five depending on the severity of the client’s injuries. Personal injuries that result in long-term or permanent damage are likely to yield significant pain and suffering compensation.
In some cases, a judge may also award punitive damages to a plaintiff. This is typically reserved for cases in which defendants were outrageously negligent, intentionally harmful, or engaged in criminal behavior when they caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In the event you or a loved one suffered personal injury due to a defendant who was engaged in some type of criminal behavior, you may also receive restitution from their criminal case.
Settlement of a Injury Claim
One of the most important phases of any personal injury claim is the settlement negotiation phase. During settlement negotiations, the two parties involved in the claim meet to privately discuss the situation in question and negotiate a mutually agreeable solution. This is beneficial to both parties. The plaintiff has the chance to secure compensation for their damages much more quickly than a court trial would allow, and the defendant can put the situation behind them and avoid the publicity that may come with a public trial.
Settlement requires both parties’ participation to be fruitful. In some cases, a defendant may not contest liability at all, and the settlement negotiation process may effectively become a formality for legally resolving the matter. However, it is more likely for the defendant to contest their liability or accept liability but argue that the plaintiff’s demands for settlement are unreasonable.
Settlement Vs. Litigation
Your Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney can guide you through the settlement negotiation process and assist you in securing a favorable result. However, if settlement negotiations fail or the defendant is completely unwilling to negotiate and demands a trial, you should prepare for litigation in court. Depending on the details of your case, litigation for a personal injury claim can potentially take months before it reaches a conclusion and result in more significant legal fees.
If your case proceeds to litigation, your attorney will help you prepare for each phase of the litigation process. This will usually entail a preliminary hearing, opening statements from both parties, and presentation of evidence. Before the case really begins, however, the two parties must conduct the discovery process, in which they share their evidence and the list of witnesses they intend to call to testify. Pretrial motions, depositions, and correspondence between the two parties may continue for quite some time before the case proceeds to court. Once the case reaches the courtroom, the two sides’ respective attorneys will cross-examine witnesses and work through the proceedings until the judge allows the two sides to provide their closing arguments.
When it comes to the potential outcomes of settlement and litigation, it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits of each route for your case. Settlement negotiations often mean you are likely to receive less than you might from a jury award, but the tradeoff is that you save money on legal fees and get your settlement much faster. The litigation process takes much longer and will cost more in legal fees, but you might receive more than you would have through settlement. The drawback to litigation is that there is no guarantee the judge will see things the same way as you and your attorney, and you may end up with a smaller settlement than you initially expected depending on the details of your case.
Comparative Negligence in Arizona Personal Injury Cases
The legal concept of comparative negligence may prove an essential component in your Arizona personal injury case. In Arizona, a plaintiff may recover compensation although they are partially to blame for causing their claimed damages. For example, consider a plaintiff who files a personal injury claim against a drunk driver who hit their car and caused severe injuries. However, an investigation reveals that at the time of the crash, the plaintiff was driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. The judge overseeing the case may decide that since the plaintiff was speeding, the plaintiff was unable to avoid the other driver and was partially responsible for the collision.
Under Arizona’s comparative negligence law, a plaintiff loses a percentage of their case award equal to their fault percentage. There is no bar to plaintiff recovery above a certain threshold as there is in states that uphold modified comparative negligence laws. As a result, a plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are found 99% at fault. For example, in a $500,000 claim in which the plaintiff is 20% at fault, the plaintiff would lose $100,000 from their case award. If the plaintiff is 80% at fault, they would lose $400,000.
What to Expect From Your Phoenix Personal Injury Accidents Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered any kind of injury or economic loss due to another party’s negligence, a Phoenix personal injury accidents attorney is your best asset to begin pursuing compensation for your losses. When you work with the personal injury attorneys at Luis P. Guerra, LLC, you can expect detail-oriented and compassionate legal counsel through every phase of your case. We begin by helping you determine liability for your damages and gathering the evidence you will need to hold the defendant in your claim accountable for their actions. Next, we can help you fully establish the scope of your claimable damages.
You can rely on our team to guide you through every phase of your case. We seek expedient results whenever settlement is possible, but we are not afraid of intense litigation if that is what it takes to secure maximum compensation for your damages. If your personal injury case entails highly complex financial, legal, or technical aspects, we can coordinate expert witness testimony on your behalf to help you prove liability for your losses.
Pursue Your Claims With A Dedicated & Compassionate Arizona Personal Injury Lawyer
We know what you are going through as you try to recover from your injuries while trying to manage the legal aspects of your accident. Let our Arizona based attorneys help by taking over your insurance claim. If we accept your case, we give you the same representation as we would any member of our family.
We take your case personally. We put in the time and effort required to build a strong case to present to the jury. We do this because we know how much you need full compensation for your injuries.
Contact Us To Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation
We want you to talk to us about your personal injury case without any concern about cost. Our representation is on a contingent basis: you are only responsible for legal fees if we are successful in recovering compensation for your losses. Our Arizona personal injury lawyers serve clients throughout the entire state of Arizona.
Call us at 602-899-3236 or contact us online to schedule your appointment with a personal injury attorney. Luis Guerra speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.