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Being Involved in a Hit and Run Car Accident in Phoenix

When a driver crashes with another vehicle, pedestrian, person riding a bicycle or property and then flees the scene, it is called a hit and run accident. These drivers often flee due to fear of responsibility or charges of some sort. They leave without identifying themselves, helping the injured or otherwise taking care of the responsibilities drivers have under the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 11 percent of all auto accidents are hit and run. This includes 4.3 percent of the accidents that result in fatal injuries.

When a driver is involved in an auto accident, the law requires them to remain on the scene and render aid as needed to other parties. This aid is general help to injured people, calling 911 for help and otherwise doing one’s personal duty to others involved in the accident. It is also the responsibility of each driver to provide their identifying information, contact details and insurance policy information to other drivers and the police.

Hit and run is a crime in every state of the United States. It may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the magnitude of the accident and other circumstances. Resulting judgments may involve jail time in a county facility or even time in a state prison. Substantial fines are also often applied to drivers that caused the injury. Community service is sometimes offered as an option versus jail time.

The majority of hit and run drivers get away with their crime. They quickly hide their vehicle and evidence of the accident. Because car accident victims are often stunned or in shock after the wreck, it is hard for them to remember identifying information about the vehicle that hit them. Most often, victims do not even see the make, model, year or color of the offending driver’s car.

Luckily, video cameras are more common on roadways and business now than ever before. So these cameras can be quite useful in identifying hit and run drivers.

Why Drivers Hit and Run

Drivers hit and run because they fear responsibility for the accident or being held accountable for other actions, such as being under the influence of a drug or alcohol. They do not want to be caught for something and act selfishly without concern for others involved in the accident. Hit and run drivers cross all demographics, age groups and social classes. These drivers are not necessarily the criminal “type,” but may be someone like a school teacher, doctor, accountant, or other average citizen without other crimes on their record.

According to the article on USA Today, crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that over the years of 2009 – 2011, the number of fatal hit and run accidents had increased year over year. That state with most fatalities in by car California with a staggering 2,833 fatal crashes in 2014.

We have found that the most common reasons why the types of accident occur include:

  • Driver intoxication
  • Lack of auto insurance
  • A stolen vehicle or vehicle borrowed without permission
  • Unlicensed driving
  • Excessive driving citations
  • Company car use in the accident
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Suspended license
  • Illegal immigration to the country
  • Transporting of illegal substances or stolen property at the time of the accident
  • Fear of arrest or repercussions of negligence in the accident

Identifying the Hit and Run Driver

Police will provide support in trying to identify a hit and run driver. This does not usually fall on the shoulders of accident victims and police actively pursue these drivers through investigations. All 50 states consider hit and run a criminal offense.

The problem is that the police are overburdened with more pressing types of cases and hit and run accidents often fall into a low priority category. But if the case is serious enough, police will start a criminal investigation to try to find and interview the offending driver. If this driver can be identified, an arrest may occur. But an arrest is sadly rare in these types of investigations.

It is difficult for hit and run victims to identify the fleeing driver or their vehicle. Most victims are still in the process of being injured or recognizing that they have been in an accident, when the driver is fleeing. If an uninjured witness can be found, such as an observer on the street or in a nearby business, this type of witness can be very helpful in locating the hit and run driver.

Ways that you may be able to identify the hit and run driver include:

  • Eyewitness identification
  • Canvassing the neighborhood and area businesses with car information
  • Business video cameras
  • License plate information

Criminal Penalties after Hit and Run

In most cases, only the vehicle’s driver is criminally charged. If the vehicle has a separate owner who was not the one behind the wheel, that person will most often escape criminal penalties. That is, unless the owner had some sort of criminal participation in the hit and run accident, in which case the owner could be held criminally liable, too.

Victims may gain reparation from a victim’s compensation fund managed by the prosecutor’s office, if the criminally charged driver does not have insurance or money to compensate the victim for injuries and damages. Some criminal offenders are held accountable through probation, during which they must gain employment and pay the victim out of their own compensation as part of the terms of probation. If these payments are not made according to the agreement, the driver may be imprisoned.

There are a multitude of directions a hit and run case may go through claims, court and other processes. If you have been injured or endured property damage as part of a hit and run accident, gaining the help of an experienced auto accident attorney will provide the best possible results for your case.

Civil Penalties after Hit and Run

Through a civil case, both the owner of the car and the driver can be held accountable for the driver’s actions. This opens the door for multiple parties from whom the victim can gain compensation for injuries and property damage. When a company car is used for hit and run, the company can be sued in court. An experienced auto accident attorney can advise whether your hit and run victimization is a good case with potential for positive outcome through a civil suit.

Engaging an Attorney’s Help in Hit and Run Claims

Even though some hit and run drivers are identified by victims through license plates, it can be difficult to get the driver to admit that they were involved in the accident at all. If the driver will not admit his or her role, you will likely not be able to gain their insurance policy details.

If an attorney feels your particular case offers enough potential in court and to make the case worth their time and investment, you may be able to gain an attorney’s support for a hit and run claim. A lawsuit may be filed and the owner of the other vehicle can be subpoenaed for deposition. Such a deposition is a delicate matter for anyone daring to try to cover up their involvement in a hit and run accident, as lying under oath is a felony throughout the United States. This alone makes drivers confess in depositions in many instances and also helps victims gain the driver’s insurance information for a claim.

Experienced Legal Support for a Hit and Run Accident

Enlisting the help of an experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer will help you navigate the processes and claims associated with being a victim to such an accident. Call the attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602-786-7039 for a free, no-obligation consultation and assessment of your hit and run accident claim.

All terrain vehicles, also known as an ATV or “quad”, are small vehicles primarily used by one or two people for recreational purposes. They can be driven on rough courses with off-road conditions or across vast areas of land. Although they are not street legal in America, ATVs are very popular in rural environments for both work and play.

Owners and riders of ATVs are required by law to follow their regional regulations for operation, as well as in use of safety equipment. When passengers or others are injured due to driver negligence or the vehicle itself is flawed, personal injury attorneys can help ATV accident victims.

Side by Side and ATV Design and Safety

Once designed as “three wheelers,” known as an ATC, ATVs now usually feature four wheels which attributes to the nickname “quad”. A ten year ban on three wheelers in the United States was enforced beginning in 1988. This ban was enacted due to the high number of accidents resulting from three wheeler use through the 1980s. The Consumer Product Safety Commission later determined that driver error and lack of proper technique were at the root of most of these accidents, not necessarily any design flaws.

ATVs use low-pressure tires to navigate rough terrains. These tires feature deep grooves more adequately suited to muddy, rocky conditions than standard automobile tires. Some ATVs have two seats in a side-by-side configuration, but most are one seat above the engine.

Despite a rough start with three wheel versions, ATVs are now considered safer than motorcycles. This is attributed to their stability inherent in the four wheel design. But drivers often gain a false sense of security mixed with bravado and expose themselves to conditions as dangerous as those of other vehicles at high speeds. Rollover accidents are one of the biggest dangers of ATV use, during which seatbelts and a passenger compartment do not exist to protect the driver and passenger, unlike four wheeled automobiles with these features.

Some ATVs have roll cages. But these still lead to injuries such as severe crush accidents causing serious damage to arms, legs, torsos and the head. Traumatic brain injuries are not necessarily uncommon in ATV accidents. Most roll cages are aftermarket and do not come standard on these ATVs.

Age is frequently a contributing factor in ATV accidents. ATV design is oriented to specific age groups. But misuse of some demographics can lead to intense injuries. Riders younger than 16 years are most affected by ATV accidents and injuries, accounting for more than one third of all injuries resulting from these vehicles’ use.

Common injuries of  side-by-side and ATV accidents include:

  • Abrasions
  • Bruising
  • Burns
  • Concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Whiplash

Most injuries are caused by unavoidable circumstances. But the results of these unavoidable accidents are far more injurious than they could be, due to non-use of helmets, poor judgment, vehicle size versus age and improper seating of a passenger on a single-person ATV.

Common Causes of ATV Rollovers

ATVs frequently rollover onto their drivers and passengers. There are a multitude of reasons why this rollover may happen, with the most common being:

  • High center of gravity of the ATV
  • ATV narrow track width
  • Sudden acceleration by the driver
  • Poor steering by the driver
  • Improper handling or maneuvering

By ATV design, both rear wheels travel at the same speed. This helps the vehicle get in and out of muddy, rough terrain. But when turning an ATV, this can cause great instability. Regular four-wheeled vehicles like passenger cars feature back wheels that turn at different speeds to accommodate turns. So when drivers maneuver turns too quickly or due to mechanical problems, an ATV’s outer wheel drags and may cause the ATV to rollover.

An ATV Rollover Attorney Can Help You After an ATV Accident

When you are in an ATV accident, an experienced ATV rollover accident attorney can provide the assistance and support needed to gain compensation for injuries suffered in the rollover. Much as they would conduct an investigation into an auto accident to help victims receive appropriate compensation, experienced ATV rollover accident attorneys may use investigation methods, expert witnesses, scene witnesses and others to determine the exact cause of your ATV rollover related injuries.

Call the experienced Arizona ATV rollover accident attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602-737-0532 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

According to statistics, there are more automobile drivers than motorcycle riders on the road. While weather conditions often prohibits bike riding, injuries and deaths due to motorcycle accidents are up in the United States. One of the most common injuries that motorcycle riders and passengers sustain is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sometimes, motorcycle accident injuries cannot be prevented; however, there are several precautions that riders can take to avoid a brain injury from a bike wreck.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle accidents can be life-shattering. In the most serious cases, the accident victims who suffer these injuries may face physical, emotional, and social disabilities that will last for the rest of their lives. Effects of traumatic brain injuries can include paralysis, seizures, loss of motor abilities, and loss of memory. Victims may experience concentration loss and cannot return to work. Such devastation can cause anxiety, depression, and mood swing disorders.

Minor motorcycle accidents usually cause scrapes, cuts, or broken bones. The time and cost of repairing such injuries pale to how much motorcycle accident victims pay for traumatic brain injuries. Financial burdens can be overwhelming for these victims. They have to pay for hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation. Sometimes, they must pay for permanent medical care at home or be placed in a long-term care facility.

How You Can Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury from a Motorcycle Accident

  • Helmets: Your best defense against getting a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle wreck is a helmet. According to medical studies, you reduce your chances of receiving a TBI by 85% by just wearing your helmet. Helmet laws are different in each state. Some states require that only passengers and drivers under 21 have to wear a helmet. While there are many states that mandate helmets for all riders on a motorcycle, some states do not have any requirements. Currently, the state of Arizona only requires that motorcycle operators who are under 18 have to wear helmets. You may have heard riders complain that helmets are uncomfortable and that they “mess up my hair”. Nothing could be more uncomfortable or messed up ones hair than a permanent brain injury. So, your best safety bet is to wear your helmet.
  • Safety Information: Most states require motorcycle operators to complete a safety course in riding. They must also pass a knowledge and skills test to get an operator license. However, most of these laws only pertain to street riding. If you want to stay safe while you ride, be sure that you know all the safety rules. You should also be very familiar with your motorcycle and how it reacts in various weather conditions and terrains. Read your owners’ guide thoroughly and keep your motorcycle in good condition.
  • Practice Defensive Driving: People who are driving cars are protected by metal all around them. Cars run on four wheels and drivers do not have to worry about balancing themselves. When you are on your bike, you have virtually no protection. Except special motorcycles with three or four wheels, most bikes require you to balance on two wheels. In light of these differences, cars clearly have the upper hand when it comes to power and safety.

As a motorcycle rider, remember that your bike is much smaller than a car and is easier to crash. Maintain safe distances between you and other motorists and drive carefully. Often times, car drivers cannot see you. If you have to pass a car, do so carefully and make sure that the driver is aware of you. Be wary of speeding motorists and cars that are passing you. Do not speed and weave in and out of traffic. If you see a car doing this, let him drive far away from you. Use extreme caution when riding in rain or snow.

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries due to a motorcycle accident can face incredible physical and financial catastrophe. If you, a friend, or loved one have been injured and need a motorcycle accident lawyer because you suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to be compensated for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and loss of income. There may be other losses for which you are entitled for remuneration.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today at 602-786-7093.

When you are injured in a car accident, your medical bills will undoubtedly inconvenience you at the least and could possibly be financially damaging to you and your family. Most people rely upon the insurance settlement to help them pay for their medical expenses.

An important thing to realize is that the insurance company only offers the minimum amount to get an injured accident victim to settle. They try to pay as little as possible, so they can still profit as a business. You need compensation for all of your losses as related to the accident, but these losses will be more than the insurance company is willing to pay.

Because of this huge gap between what you deserve for your damages and the insurance company’s likely offer, it is best to have an aggressive Phoenix car accident lawyer on your side. The law firm of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law will fight to gain the highest possible settlement for your injuries.

Statistics of Medical Bills After an Auto Accident

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) conducted a study called the Auto Injury Insurance Claims Study. The resulting report reflects that medical expenses after auto accident injury are increasing more rapidly than the rate of inflation. From 2007 to 2012, expenses for medical care, lost wages and other injury-related out-of-pocket costs grew eight percent among those paid through personal injury protection claims.  There was a four percent increase in bodily injury claimant payouts.

ISO, a Verisk Analytics organization, reported that in 2013 auto liability claims for bodily injury averaged $15,443 per injured accident victim. Private insurance companies typically cover only about 50 percent of medical and property damage costs from accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means that the injured victims of car accidents are left holding big bills for medical and property damage expenses, if they do not utilize the services of an experienced lawyer to help them gain the compensation needed for their accident-related costs.

Receiving Compensation for Medical Bills Following an Auto Accident

Regardless of the type of accident, an individual person or an entity are always at fault when vehicles collide. Many single-car accidents are not the fault of the driver, instead being due to faulty mechanisms of the vehicle or traffic signals, as examples.

Clear evidence of negligence leads to the ability to gain compensation for injuries and damages suffered due to a car accident, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage. When a legal claim is established for compensation after an accident caused by a negligent party, the claim includes reimbursement for all of these expenses from the time of the accident to present day, as well as into the future for some costs.

Medical bills covered when such a claim is settled or won include expenses arising from treatment methods, ambulance transportation, hospital and clinical expenses, lab tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, assistive devices, medical providers, prescriptions and other costs. Any expenses related to your treatment and recovery will be written into the claim. The total claim amount may also include a valuation of pain, suffering and emotional distress.

Is there a legal claim for medical expenses?

Regardless of fault when you are involved in a car accident, your insurance company is the first entity that holds responsibility for medical expenses. This coverage is to the extent of their policy limitations.

For a legal claim to be warranted, injuries to an individual, property damage or death must have occurred as a result of the accident. For medical expenses to be paid through a legal claim, there are three primary criteria that must be met. Those criteria are:

  • Another driver caused the accident through recklessness or deliberate actions
  • The victim suffered injury or death as a result of the accident
  • The injuries caused financial damages

When these three criteria are met and a legal claim is initiated by an accident attorney for the client, negligence of the other party or parties must be proven. To prove negligence, there are several sources of evidence. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Accident scene photographs
  • Vehicle damage photographs
  • Expert witness assessments of the accident
  • Proof of the other driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Other types of evidence

A medical expense legal claim after an auto accident may include medical bills, lost compensation from work, caregivers required in the home due to your injuries and other costs. In Arizona, there is also no limitation on the amount that victims can receive for pain and suffering. Covered medical bills, other expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering may be for present costs, costs from the time of the accident and into the future.

When the negligent party does not have insurance as required by law, criminal charges can be brought. Civil charges are also frequently produced to gain compensation for the injuries, damages and expenses they caused.

Common Types of Auto Accidents Leading to Medical Expenses

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime and in a multitude of ways. There are some common types of auto accidents and each provides its own set of potential injuries frequently experienced by accident victims. The most frequently seen types of accidents and their common injuries include:

Rollover Car Accidents

The National Automotive Sampling System Database provides data reflecting that during a rollover accident injuries typically affect five main areas of the body: head and neck, chest and upper back, abdomen, arms, and legs. In rollover accidents, most victims have multiple injuries in these areas. The head and neck are the most heavily damaged region of the body for these accidents, with the following results:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Contusions
  • Scrapes

These injuries carry additional repercussions, including:

  • Speech impairment
  • Vision loss or blindness
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of teeth or dental injuries
  • Arm or leg amputation
  • Chronic back problems and pain
  • Internal organ, nerve and vascular damage

Rear-End Accident

When vehicles, motorcycles or even bicycles are rear-ended in traffic, the following injuries typically result:

  • Broken or crushed facial bones
  • Broken jaw
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Dental injuries or loss of teeth
  • Whiplash
  • Other neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed arms and legs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Contusions
  • Road rash and burns
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

These injuries often result in very high medical bills. Required services often include:

  • Emergency trauma care
  • Hospital stays
  • Medical equipment use
  • Surgeries, often multiple
  • Medications
  • Home nursing support
  • Long-term assisted living
  • Rehabilitation
  • Other treatments

T-bone (Broadside)

During T-bone accidents also known as broadside accidents, vehicles are often impacted by a first vehicle, then knocked into a second impact with another vehicle. Often, these broadside wrecks cause one or more cars to be knocked into oncoming traffic, stationary objects or even pedestrians.

Traumas often result from each impact separately and as compounded injuries. Once T-boned, a car can easily rollover, be involved in a separate head-on collision or spin out of control. Passengers are often partially or fully ejected from their vehicle in these accidents. All of the injuries seen in other types of accidents can be part of a long list of injuries suffered by broadside collision victims.

Head-On Collision

Known for the sheer violence and catastrophic results such an accident brings, head-on collisions are feared by most drivers. This is with good reason. Although these types of wrecks only account for about two percent of all auto accidents, 18 percent of all fatal wrecks not occurring at intersections are head-on collisions.

People involved in head-on collisions suffer a high-speed jolt of stopping due to the impact with another vehicle, then the immediate jarring backwards that increases the significance of their injuries.

Injuries suffered in these wrecks largely depend upon the vehicle’s safety devices and which ones are in use at the time of the collision. When fatality does not occur, the following injuries are common:

  • Concussions
  • Head trauma, including traumatic brain injury
  • Lacerations
  • Fractured bones
  • Contusions
  • Whiplash
  • Neck trauma
  • Back trauma
  • Dental injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Airbag-related injuries

Pedestrian

Pedestrians hit by a car are also particularly catastrophic. The average vehicle weighs over 3,000 pounds. When this weight impacts the unprotected human body, little can be done to prevent disastrous results.

Over 69,000 American pedestrians are injured each year and over 4,000 are killed by motor vehicle operators, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This is one pedestrian injured every eight minutes. About 40 percent of the deaths are children.

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, there are two sets of injuries incurred. The first set are caused by the impact from the vehicle, itself. The second set are derived from impact with the solid object where the pedestrian lands. That second set may be from hitting the ground, being thrown into a telephone pole, being knocked into a wall or hitting other cars, as examples.

The most common injuries seen in pedestrian accidents include:

  • Scalp lacerations
  • Body lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Hemorrhages
  • Hematomas
  • Contusions
  • Abrasions
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Torn and sprained ligaments
  • Bone fractures
  • Dental injuries

Getting the Help You Need for Accident Related Medical Bills

When you are injured in an auto accident, you need experienced legal help in dealing with insurance companies and negligent parties. Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today for a free, no obligation consultation at 602-786-7093 to discuss your case with an attorney who can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Anytime a pedestrian is hit by a car there is a good chance that they are going to sustain an assortment of injuries. While some injuries might not be that serious, others could be life-threatening. Even if the person is doing nothing more than backing out of their driveway, there is a good chance that the injuries sustained are going to be significant. However, that chance of being severely injured is going to rise tremendously if the vehicle was traveling at a significant rate of speed.

According to the CDC, over 150,000 people were treated for injuries at the hospital for crossing the street in 2013. Close to 5,000 people were fatally wounded. That averages out to one death every 2 hours across the US.

According to the Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law team, an injury lawyer from Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law, Pedestrians that have been hit by a car can end up experiencing injuries to their abdomen, chest, extremities, and head. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining the severity of the injuries, such as how fast the driver was going, what type of vehicle they were driving, where they were hit and how old the pedestrian is. Some of the more common injuries sustained from pedestrian accidents are:

  • Head trauma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pelvic injury
  • Spinal injury
  • Fractures
  • Death
  • Internal injury

Recovery can often be a long and drawn-out process. The intense pain of recovery coupled with the rise of medical costs can leave the individual struggling just to make it through from one day to the next. When injured in a pedestrian accident, there is a chance that the individual is going to have to go through some type of physical therapy.

Understanding Driver Negligence

When injured in a pedestrian accident, you have to first establish that the individual who was driving the vehicle was supposed to provide you with a certain duty of care. What does this mean for you? It means that the individual was expected to drive their vehicle with a reasonable amount of care to prevent causing injury to someone else.

There are a number of different factors that could end up causing a car accident to occur that involved a pedestrian, such as:

  • Being inattentive or distracted for any reason. Distractions can come in an assortment of different forms. It could be that the driver was messing with their cell phone or other electronic device.
  • The driver was speeding. Not only is speeding dangerous for a pedestrian who might be walking along, but it is also dangerous for the driver. Injuries are far more severe when the driver is going at an increased speed

There is no way to determine what might be ahead. A patch of ice or an object in the road could cause the driver to lose control and end up crashing into someone else.

Pedestrians are often hit by a car when they are simply trying to get across the road. This could be because the driver did not yield when they were making a turn. Drivers are supposed to yield to the pedestrian. They need to make sure no one is walking across the crosswalk before speeding through.

If a driver disobeys a traffic sign or signal, there is a good chance an accident will occur. This is neglect on the fault of the driver. They know that when a light is red, they need to stop. If there is a stop sign present, it is up to them to follow the traffic laws properly. Drivers who do not use turn signals also end up causing accidents. There is no way for a pedestrian to know if that driver is going to be coming their way or not. They cannot predict what the driver’s intentions are. This can end up leading to a lot of accidents from negligence on the driver’s part.

If the traffic conditions are bad, the driver should take their time and slow down. They should not be driving at an accelerated rate of speed under snowy and icy conditions. Exercising caution can go a long way in preventing a pedestrian from being injured. Any driver not paying attention to driving conditions and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could end up finding themselves in serious trouble with the law. These individuals have a duty to drive with care, especially when the weather outside is less than desirable.

Make Sure to Seek Legal Counsel if Hit By a Car

The best thing you can do when you are injured in any type of pedestrian accident is to speak with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. They will go over what happened with you and determine whether they believe you have a valid case or not. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Do not assume that you have no other option than to try to handle it on your own. There is always someone out there who is willing to fight for your rights and investigate the specifics of the accident to determine what happened and what went wrong.

The time after an accident can be very confusing. You have to decide what to do next regarding your expenses and damages. According to principles of tort law, if an injury is caused due to another party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the damages suffered as a result of that negligence. Accident victims have a choice between settling a case or pursuing a lawsuit against whomever is responsible for injuries. Understanding how this process works in personal injury cases can help in making the best decision for your case.

Retaining Legal Help

It is always best to gain the help and advice of a lawyer as early in your personal injury case as possible. This means that you should call an attorney promptly after a car accident or other incident from which you sustain injuries. By talking to a lawyer early in the process, you can learn more about your legal rights and how to gain the compensation you need for costs incurred and damages suffered.

Having an injury lawyer on your side early also helps to prevent you from making any mistakes that may negatively affect your case. Examples of such mistakes include making statements to the defendant that can later be used against you. Personal injury lawyers are highly experienced in personal injury claims that include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Premises liability
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Other personal injury cases

Filing a Claim

The victim must often file a claim against the defendant’s insurance provider. If injuries were sustained due to an auto accident, the defendant’s auto insurance policy will be involved. When the case is because of an accident on the defendant’s property, the homeowner’s or property insurance company will be involved. For other types of accidents, commercial insurance carriers may be party to the case.

Personal injury attorneys assist the victim throughout the case, including for filing of the claim. The lawyer may also help the victim prepare a statement about the accident and advises the victim of things they should not do, such as allowing an insurance company to record a statement from them without the lawyer being present.


Stages of Claims

Claims go through case stages after an accident, which may include some or all of the following:

— Investigation
The insurance company of the negligent party will conduct an investigation after a claim is filed against them. This investigation will determine who or what caused the accident, where responsibility lies and if the victim is responsible in any way.

The victim’s attorney may also conduct their own investigation to compile evidence to back up the claims of the victim. This investigation may include taking photos of the scene of the accident and documenting injuries suffered by the victim.

— Negotiation
After the investigation, the victim’s lawyer will likely negotiate with the insurance company and/or the defendant.

— Demand Letter
A demand letter is often sent by the personal injury lawyer to specify why the victim is entitled to compensation after the accident. This written notice will provide details of the accident and the victim’s injuries. A specific valuation of the damages may be specified in the letter.

— Counter Offer
Demand letter amounts are rarely accepted by insurance companies without a counter offer. When the insurance company provides a counter offer, the victim’s lawyer will help the victim decide if that amount should be accepted, negotiated further or rejected.

— Settlement
If the victim and the insurance company come to an agreement regarding claim value, the case may be settled out of court. The victim will likely have to sign an agreement stating that he or she will not make any further claims against the defendant or their insurance company. Settlement money can then be exchanged.

— Filing a Lawsuit
When negotiation fails to bring all parties to an agreement, the victim has the right to sue. Filing a lawsuit starts the litigation process with a complaint filed with the court by the plaintiff’s attorney on his or her behalf. This complaint specifies who the parties in the case are, the victim’s residential address, jurisdiction of the court and legal basis for claim recovery.

A filed lawsuit makes a request for damages in a specific dollar amount. A sheriff, private process server or other mechanism recognized by rules of civil procedure in the state then serves the defendant with the complaint. A specified time period is provided for the defendant to respond. If the defendant does not respond before the deadline, a default judgment is made. Each jurisdiction provides its own time period for a default judgment, with the most common time period being thirty days.

Filing a lawsuit does not automatically send a case to a jury trial. The defendant can still opt to settle the case with an acceptable settlement offer. If the parties come to an agreement, the case is removed from the court docket. Cases are dismissed for other reasons, such as:

  • Case is without legal basis for recovery
  • A judge’s summary judgment is made based on state law

If you have been the victim of an accident or personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can advise you regarding options in your case and whether it may be best for you to settle the claim with the insurance company or pursue litigation based upon the circumstances of your particular case.

It is an unfortunate fact of life: at some point or another, you may be involved in a serious car accident. If you or a loved one is injured in a collision, you are encouraged to contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer. According to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 6,734,000 police-reported auto accidents in the U.S. in 2018, resulting in 36,560 fatalities and 2,710,00 persons injured.

A car crash can take just a few seconds to unfold. That said, in the moments and days that follow an accident, you may be wondering what you should do next. While each accident situation can vary, here are a few things to remember:

Call the police.

Even in accidents in which there appear to be no serious injuries, the police should be notified as quickly as possible. Resist any offer by the other driver merely to “exchange identification information.” You’ll need a police report for insurance purposes. What may at first appear to be an amicable situation can later turn ugly. The police are specially trained to make an initial investigation. Use them.

When the police arrive, be clear and specific in your statements.

The officer arriving at the scene must rely upon the witnesses to set the scene. Be courteous, clear, and as specific as possible about how the accident unfolded. If you don’t know the answer to one of the officer’s questions, say so—don’t guess. You may also find it helpful to speak with a Phoenix car accident lawyer prior to giving any statements to the police.

Take photos.

Nowadays, most of us carry a smart phone with us. They have excellent cameras. If you have one, use it. Document the damage to all vehicles. Take photos of signposts and other identifying landmarks. If you have injuries, take photos of them as well. Recognize that you are not allowed to interfere with the police in their investigation, but you can make a record of the event as best you can.

Get medical attention for any injuries.

Recognize that in many cases, injuries sustained in car accidents may not be immediately apparent. If you have suffered a cut or broken bone, that is usually obvious. However, bear in mind that a host of medical issues may not manifest themselves until much later. Unless you are certain that you have not sustained injuries, you should seek medical attention at a nearby emergency room, urgent care center or your family physician. This is particularly important if you struck your head or if you have any lapse of memory regarding the circumstances of the accident. In many situations involving injuries, time is of the essence.

Report the accident to your auto insurance company.

Your auto policy requires you to advise the insurance company as soon as possible about any accident involving an insured vehicle. Determine if you have special medical coverage, sometimes referred to as “medpay,” which can pay for immediate medical bills without regard to who was at fault. In speaking with insurance company representatives, be cooperative, accurate and truthful, but recognize that the insurer may be searching for information to support a later claim denial. Don’t give a statement to the insurer unless you are represented by a competent Phoenix car accident lawyer.

Keep a journal and “open a file.”

Carefully maintain a written or electronic record of all relevant information concerning your car accident. Keep information related to the other driver’s name, the identity of any passengers, the names and claim numbers of your auto insurance policy. Keep receipts of cars that you may be required to rent.

Consider hiring a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer to represent your interests.

Accident victims often comment about how difficult it is in the days following an accident to keep a proper perspective, to think clearly and to make sure that valuable evidence and information is preserved. That is why many individuals involved in car accidents choose to work with a skilled team of accident attorneys like those at Hirsch & Lyon. With more than 60 years of combined experience representing auto victims, we are equipped to help you through trying times. Any Phoenix car accident attorney at our firm can take care of all the necessary and intricate details in handling your claim.

Injured in an Auto Wreck? Contact Hirsch & Lyon today!

Hirsch & Lyon is focused entirely on providing top-tier legal advocacy for the victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our car accident attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience, with a long track record of success in obtaining favorable results for clients, whether through settlement negotiations or at trial.

At Hirsch & Lyon, we understand that client engagement is crucial to success. Our staff is available 24/7 to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. For your convenience, we are also available to make hospital and home appointments. As we are confident in our ability to serve our clients, our injury lawyers provide legal services at a discounted rate (our contingency fee is 25%, and up to 30% if the case proceeds to trial, plus costs). When you win through Hirsch & Lyon, you keep more of it for yourself!

Call 602-535-1900 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a top Phoenix car accident lawyer today. Our legal team will assess your claims and help you navigate the challenging landscape of litigation.

Experienced Accident Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

If you have been involved in a car accident, but were lucky enough not to sustain physical injuries, then you may be wondering whether you are entitled to sue the defendant(s) responsible for the accident.

In Arizona, plaintiffs who (by chance) avoided physical injury can bring a lawsuit, assuming that there are “some” measurable damages.  These damages need not be associated with a physical injury — Arizona law entitles plaintiffs to recover property damage caused to their vehicle, and for any emotional distress that they may be experiencing in the wake of an accident.

Let’s take a closer look.

Property Damage is Sufficient to Make for an Actionable Claim

You do not have to have suffered physical injuries in order to sue and recover damages from the liable defendant.  In Arizona (and other jurisdictions), a tort action — here, one arising from a car accident — can be pursued even without damages based on physical injury-related losses.

Suppose, for example, that you are involved in a car accident where you are miraculously left unscathed, but your car is totaled. The defendant-driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and as such, can be held liable for the damages.  Under such circumstances, you would be entitled to bring an action against the defendant to recover compensation for whatever losses you did suffer: here, property damages for the car getting totaled (along with replacement costs for renting a car in the meanwhile, or purchasing a new car).

Emotional Losses May Give Rise to Damages

Worth noting is the Arizona may also give you a right of action to recover damages that are linked to “emotional distress” or “mental anguish” caused by the car accident.  In the wake of a car accident, for example, you may experience nightmares and PTSD-like episodes that can have an impact on your quality of life.  In extreme cases, you may be impaired at work or in your social life.

Emotional distress damages fall under the “pain and suffering” category, and as such, form a key component of any car accident dispute.  You may also bring a separate action for emotional distress — either intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction of emotional distress, and thereby recover for damages that do not necessarily flow from a physical injury.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Comprehensive Legal Representation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of Phoenix accident attorneys has extensive experience working with clients in a range of injury disputes, including car accident cases.  We strive to engage clients early and often in the litigation process so that we can gain insight into the specific circumstances surrounding their dispute, as well as their goals and limitations — by doing so, we are better equipped to tailor our legal representation to the particulars of their case.

Over the years, this approach has helped us secure significant results through negotiated settlement and in trial litigation, alike.

If you’d like to have your claims evaluated, contact us at 602-598-4786 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free consultation.

What to Do After a Phoenix Accident

Have you been injured in an accident that you believe someone else caused?  Arizona law may entitle you to compensation for the suffered losses.

Though one of your first priorities should — of course — be to contact a Phoenix accident law firm for professional guidance on how to proceed with your claims, there are a number of “dos and don’ts” of which you may not be fully aware.

Let’s take a look.

Do…

Do Seek Timely and Adequate Medical Treatment

Your health is the top priority in the wake of an accident.  Seek timely and adequate medical treatment.  If you believe that you may have suffered an injury, then you should go to a healthcare facility and have the injury evaluated and potentially treated.

It’s worth noting that the failure to secure timely and adequate medical treatment could have legal ramifications, too.  Defendants in Arizona can minimize their liability by claiming that the injured plaintiff was also at-fault.  Delayed treatment for a truck or motorcycle accident, for example, could lead to an assertion of contributory fault. This means that the defendant will almost certainly argue that your injuries were caused or exacerbated by the delay, thus making you responsible for the harm (and minimizing their damages liability).

Do Secure Timely Legal Assistance

It’s critical that you secure the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as is practicable under the circumstances — an experienced Phoenix accident attorney is an invaluable ally at every stage of the personal injury lawsuit, from the initial factual investigation to the nuances of a courtroom hearing.

Attorney assistance is often useful in ways that may not be immediately perceived by the client.  For example, your personal injury attorney will serve as a communication middleman between you and the relevant insurer.  During such communications, your attorney will not only be able to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information that could undermine your claims, but may also be able to apply significant pressure and secure a favorable result before the case develops further.

Timely legal assistance is critical.  The general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is just two years from the date of injury.  Failure to bring an action before the deadline passes could lead to an automatic dismissal of your claims, preventing a full and adequate recovery.

Do Take Steps to Preserve Evidence and Identify Relevant Parties

If you are not in need of emergency medical care following an accident, you can take steps to preserve evidence and improve your likelihood of success in litigation.  For example, if you are in a car accident, then it’s possible that the design of the roadway contributed to the accident in a way that could lead to an independent claim for damages against the City.  Take photos of the roadway, signage, and environmental hazards before the City steps in and makes any changes.  These photos could be introduced as evidence to support your claims.

You’ll also want to identify relevant parties: potential defendants and eyewitnesses.  Record their contact information so that you can get in touch with them when necessary (as the case progresses).  If you are unable to do so, all is not lost — your attorney will just have to take additional steps to identify and contact the appropriate parties.

Don’t…

Do Not Leave the Accident Scene Prematurely

Unless you have suffered grievous injuries that require instant medical assistance (i.e., you have to go to the hospital immediately for emergency medical care), then you should not prematurely “escape” a serious accident scene until you have had a chance to speak to authorities.  Leaving an accident scene prematurely could not only expose you to criminal charges, but could also weaken your eventual case against the defendant (as the jury is likely to assume that you were somehow at fault for the accident, as evidenced by your premature escape from the accident scene).

Do Not Communicate Extensively With Insurers

Insurance companies have interests that are in opposition to your own — and yes, that includes your own insurer as well.  If you find yourself in communications with an insurance company before you have consulted an attorney, make sure to reveal as little as necessary to end the conversation.  Do not provide a statement (regarding the accident).  Let them know that law enforcement are investigating the accident and that you cannot provide any further information.  It is not your responsibility to speak to an insurer and negotiate with them on your own — that is the responsibility of your attorney.  If you speak to an insurer on your own, they will attempt to manipulate you into making disclosures about certain aspects of the accident that they will subsequently use to de-value or even deny your subsequent claims.

Do Not Exaggerate Injuries

Exaggerating your injuries is not a good idea.  Defendants (and insurers) typically use investigators who will take a number of steps to monitor your condition — monitoring your social media pages, following you around town, etc. — and if they discover behavior that is inconsistent with your claimed injuries, it could significantly undercut your case.  Further, when you bring an action in personal injury, you must be able to support your assertion of damages with sufficient evidence (documentary/record evidence and expert testimony, for example).  If you exaggerate your injuries, the evidentiary record will not match the claimed impairments and asserted damages, thus creating a disconnect that could create serious doubt about your overall case.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Comprehensive Legal Assistance After an Arizona Accident

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience working with injured plaintiffs in Arizona in a variety of disputes, from car accidents to product defect-related accidents, and more.

Since our founding, we have helped plaintiffs secure favorable results that compensate them for their losses, whether through a negotiated settlement or aggressive trial litigation.  We are committed to practical, results-oriented representation — unlike many of our competitors, we have experience handling cases all the way through to trial, giving us a significant advantage in pressuring defendants at an early stage.

Ready to speak to a seasoned Phoenix accident attorney about your injury claims?

Call us at 602-598-4786 or complete an online intake form on our website to setup a consultation with a member of our team today.  Consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation to continue (if you decide against pursuing compensation).  During the initial consultation, we will evaluate your claims and identify potential next steps.

If you have been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages under Arizona law.  Plaintiffs often forego pursuing litigation, primarily because they are uncertain about whether it is worthwhile to go through the effort for a small recovery.

Until you consult a qualified Phoenix accident attorney about the case, you will not have an accurate appraisal of the damages.  We therefore encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for a case evaluation so you can learn more.

For now, let’s explore some of damages typical of a personal injury dispute.

Identifying Losses and Gathering Evidence

In the context of personal injury, your losses are likely to vary significantly on a case-by-case basis.  For example, if you suffer injuries in a car accident that are not “catastrophic” and you are able to return to your career after a few months without any significant impairments in your ability to perform your job responsibilities, then you may have a significant damages claim for wage loss accounting for those few months of being unable to work, but not for the loss of earning capacity, as your earning capacity was not, in fact, diminished.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and subsequent injuries, your losses may include the following:

Medical Expenses

In the wake of an accident, injured plaintiffs may recover for all their health-related expenses, including doctor visits, prescription drugs, diagnostic exams, counselor appointments, chiropractic exams, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and alternative medical treatment.  The defendant may attempt to argue that some of the treatment is not “reasonably necessary” under the circumstances.  You can counter this argument with supportive testimony from your treating physicians and other medical experts.

Lost Wages

Our skilled Phoenix accident attorneys know that injured plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for their lost wages/income.  This includes all missed work time due to their accident, missed job opportunities, missed interviews, missed client meetings, and all other lost income (i.e., lost sales for a commission-based earner).

Loss of Earning Capacity

If you are injured severely enough that your future earning capacity is limited in a significant manner (i.e., you are blinded, and are therefore unable to continue working in as a lab technician), then you are entitled to damages for the lost earning capacity associated with that impairment.  You will have to compare your new earning capacity with what you would have earned in the future — this will require a lifetime analysis of future earnings.  Loss of earning capacity is more difficult to prove than lost wages, but you can effectively do so by introducing supportive vocational expert testimony.

Property Damage

As a personal injury plaintiff, you are entitled to recover for any damaged property and incidental expenses associated with the accident, including the cost of repairs or replacement (for your vehicle), rental car expenses, travel expenses, household assistance, and childcare expenses.  For example, if your car is totaled in an accident, then you may need to pay for a rental car.  That rental car is an incidental expense that could be claimed in the ensuing litigation.  Speak to a Phoenix accident attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages comprehensively accounts for the suffering that a plaintiff experiences in the wake of an accident.  For example, if you fracture your pelvis in a car accident, then you can recover for the subjective pain that you experienced due to that injury.  Intense pain leads to greater damages.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can best be described as the psychological pain sustained in relation to one’s injuries.  For example, if you have received burn injuries on your face and hands, then you may experience significant emotional distress due to the social stigma associated with your aesthetic losses.

Proving emotional distress damages will require extensive psychological diagnostic records and expert testimony supporting the fact that you have not only experienced such distress, but that it is as severe as you are claiming it to be.

You’ll have to do more than merely assert damages in order to successfully recover.  In personal injury litigation, documentary evidence (i.e., medical records, work payment records, contracts, etc.) and testimonial evidence (i.e., expert testimony regarding your pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc.) are both extraordinarily valuable in supporting your claim for damages.  If you are claiming medical expenses, for example, you will have to introduce evidence of the treatment that you have received and how much the procedure costs.

Are Punitive Damages Available? Our Phoenix Accident Attorneys Will Review the Case and Advise

An award of punitive damages can significantly boost your damages, as they act as a multiplying factor on the compensatory damages total — for example, if you recover $100,000 in compensatory damages (i.e., medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, etc.), then the court may award you punitive damages of up to seven times that amount, for a total of $800,000.

Unfortunately, punitive damages are not often available.  The plaintiff may only qualify for punitive damages if they can prove that the defendant acted willfully, maliciously, and/or with reckless disregard for the safety of others.  Further, even if the plaintiff “qualifies” for punitive damages, the court may exercise its discretion in awarding them. Our Phoenix accident attorney can further explain this during the initial consultation.

The fundamental reasoning behind an award of punitive damages is quite different than what many plaintiffs initially expect.  Simply put, punitive damages are not intended to compensate you for your various losses but are meant, instead, to punish and otherwise discourage the defendant (and other similarly situated parties in society) from engaging in the sort of willful and malicious behavior that the case is centered around.

If you could potentially access punitive damages, your recovery could be striking.  Many multimillion-dollar personal injury lawsuits are actually reliant on punitive damages to reach those significant dollar amounts.

How “Certainty of Success” Impacts Damage Recovery

Most disputes are resolved through settlement.  Each party compromises, agreeing to an amount that is less than the maximum claimed damages in an effort to avoid the cost and uncertainty of trial litigation.  As such, understanding what you are likely to recover through settlement is fundamental to understanding the true damages potential of your claims.

In a settlement, the amount that the defendant will agree to offer depends largely on whether your claims are likely to succeed (should the case proceed to trial) and whether the claimed damages are likely to be awarded by the jury.

For example, if the defendant concedes that they are at fault and caused your injuries, then you have a 100 percent chance of “winning” the case at trial.  Suppose, however, that the evidence for your claimed $200,000 damages is rather scant, and in fact, there is a 50 percent that the jury will award you $100,000 in damages instead.  Given these risks, a reasonable settlement amount might hover around $150,000.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Setup a Free and Confidential Consultation With a Phoenix Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right of action for damages.  The pursuit of litigation may seem intimidating, but it’s important to understand that the damages you’re owed may be recoverable with the aid of a skilled legal advocate.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys has decades of experience working on behalf of those who have been injured in various personal injury scenarios — primarily motor vehicle accidents (car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian).  This focus affords us substantial insight into the unique issues likely to be encountered over the course of litigation in such disputes and helps us to maximize our client’s damages.

Ready to speak to one of our experienced Phoenix accident attorneys about your claims?  Send us a message online to arrange for an initial consultation today.  Consultation is free and confidential.

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