When do you need a personal injury attorney? You should seek expert legal assistance when you’ve been physically hurt by another’s recklessness or negligence. A lawyer experienced in negotiating and litigating insurance claims can help you with more types of injuries than you may realize.
When You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
Some of the most common injuries occur during the course of regular daily activities, such as driving to your job or performing your normal work. You might be hurt visiting someone’s home, going to a store or seeing your doctor, or simply using a product you’ve purchased.
1. Vehicle Accidents
Automobile collisions are probably one of the first things to cross your mind when you think of personal injury claims. This is especially reasonable considering roadway safety statistics in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle-related fatalities hit a 16-year high in 2021. There are a staggering number of accidents on our roads nationwide. Not all of them result in death, fortunately, but many do lead to serious and sometimes life-altering harm to those involved.
Car accidents are often caused by poor driving habits like speeding or drinking and driving. As well, they can sometimes be the result of problems with the roadway itself. Some roads are in disrepair, poorly designed, or part of an overall infrastructure that has not kept up with population growth over the years.
2. Workplace Injuries
An on-the-job accident is another common reason that people consult with a personal injury attorney.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there were over 2.5 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020 alone. In the same year, there were over 4,700 fatal injuries. Partly due to how much time most people spend at work every year, it’s a likely place to get hurt.
3. Premises Hazards
Accidents and injuries that happen on private property or in a retail establishment can involve pools, chemical exposure, negligent security issues, dog bites, and slip-and-fall mishaps. These are common problems but can cause grave injuries.
4. Medical Malpractice
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States. Doctors make mistakes, and even when an errant medical decision doesn’t lead to the loss of the patient, it can cause irreparable harm.
As a patient, you trust the medical caregivers and institutions to provide for your health and safety. When doctors or hospitals are careless, you may be severely affected.
5. Product Liability
Product-related injuries can result from a product that contains defective parts or presents a hazard that the manufacturer fails to disclose or fully explain. If warnings are inadequate or missing, the item can cause danger to consumers.
Pharmaceutical products are included in this category. Drugs may cause unexpected side effects or interactions, directly or indirectly resulting in harm to the user.
6. Wrongful Death
If a family member dies due to someone’s negligence, close relatives can seek compensation in a wrongful death claim. In Arizona, very few people are permitted to file this type of claim; it is mostly reserved for parents or guardians of a lost child or children who lose a parent.
The compensation is intended to address the loss of financial support, love and care, companionship, medical and funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
If you find yourself hurt in any of the above situations, you would be wise to consult with a personal injury attorney rather than attempting to deal with an insurance provider on your own.
Insurance companies serve their shareholders. It is their job to keep claims to a minimum and produce the highest profits possible. Unfortunately, this obligation can be entirely at odds with your best interests.
An attorney experienced in injury claims knows what to expect from the process and how to handle insurance adjusters on your behalf. They know the laws and how to best prepare and present your case for a successful outcome.
It is beneficial to have professional legal assistance when preparing a claim. A personal injury attorney knows the nuances of the law and all the relevant timing involved. They can support you and protect your interests at a time when you are vulnerable and should be focused on recovering from your injuries.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Arizona is two years if you are injured by an individual or private entity. If you are filing a claim against a city, county, or state, you only have 180 days. Any claim not filed within this time period after an accident or other injury will not be considered valid except in very rare cases.
Each claim must be filed on time with the right entity. You will need to be sure to have met the legal basis for filing a personal injury claim and that you have provided all necessary information in order for your claim to proceed.
In Arizona, there is a fault-based insurance system that requires that you establish who is legally at fault or negligent in an accident. If the accident was not due to another driver but occurred because of a road hazard, you may be filing a claim against a public entity, like the city or county.
Proving fault can be complex, particularly if both drivers involved may have been at fault. The law in Arizona requires that you must prove that the other driver was not driving carefully or was not obeying a traffic rule. For example, they may have been looking at their phone or perhaps they were speeding or running a red light.
The injured party in Arizona has the obligation to prove negligence by the other party. There are four elements required to establish negligence:
1. Duty of Care
You must establish that the party owed you a duty of care. In other words, the person should have exercised some caution to avoid causing you harm.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
You are required to show that the other party breached this duty of care. To accomplish this, you must show that they didn’t exercise caution or care in avoiding causing you harm.
The third element is causation, which means that you need to show that the breach (i.e. the careless behavior of the other party) actually caused the injury or damages you sustained.
You’re legally required to demonstrate the resulting harm that you have suffered, which can be physical injury and/or damage to your property.
Vehicle accidents are often complicated and they almost always happen very quickly. Establishing who was at fault may require traffic reports or accident reconstruction for evidence.
A personal injury attorney has experience in assembling witness statements, finding out whether the driver who hit you has a record of speeding tickets or other accidents, and going over medical records for relevant details.
It can be an elaborate and costly process to prove negligence, so you’ll want a professional who knows what to look for and how best to present the findings.
What a Good Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You
Your attorney can provide sound advice, help you determine the value of your claim, and give you a realistic idea of how long each part of the claim process will take.
Knowing What To Expect
A personal injury attorney can anticipate what the insurance company is likely to do at each step of the way. They are familiar with the strategies that insurance providers utilize to lower settlement payments, and they know how to counter these techniques. They may even have worked through other claims with the same adjusters before.
All of this makes for fewer surprises and a less traumatic process for you, at a time when you are probably not feeling your best.
Preparing for a Positive Outcome
To settle your claim for the maximum amount that you are due, your attorney will coordinate with your medical providers to properly document the full extent of your injuries. They know what questions to ask to evaluate what your long-term health requirements are likely to be, and how to ensure that this critical information is incorporated into your legal claim.
With the timely and experienced help of a personal injury attorney, you are much more likely to win the full amount that you are entitled to under the law.
Providing Advice and Support
An experienced attorney levels the playing field for you. Insurance companies are professionals in handling claims like yours, and they are good at what they do. It’s of immeasurable value to have someone on your side who knows the process and the law, as well as the adjusters, do.
Your attorney can provide you the time to heal by taking the burden of building your case from your shoulders.
What Steps You Should Take After You’ve Been Injured
In Arizona, you only have one opportunity to file a claim after an accident or other injury has occurred. This claim has to cover all of the damages you have incurred from the incident. This includes any future care you might require as a result of the injuries you’ve sustained.
You want to get this claim appropriately done because you are not allowed a second try.
1. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
The first consultation is generally free, and many injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to come up with cash out of pocket. You only pay after you’ve received a settlement. At the end of your consultation, you should have a good idea of a strategy for your case and you should know what to expect going forward.
You should not talk to an insurance adjuster until after you’ve spoken to an attorney. Adjusters will sometimes contact you when you are still in the hospital. They’ll ask you how you’re feeling and it might seem as though they’re just being caring and checking in on you. Bear in mind, however, that their job is to try to minimize your injuries.
2. Build Your Case
Your personal injury attorney will handle communications with the insurance company and will build your case with you. This process involves working with your doctors and the police who responded to the scene of the accident, among others.
Depending on the complexity of the case, this process may include interviewing witnesses and working with other evidence and analysis of the incident.
Compiling a compelling case is important in helping you receive a fair settlement. If you are unable to reach a settlement, you will already be prepared to file a lawsuit and go to court.
3. Submit Demand, Settle, or Sue
Once your case is ready, your lawyer will send a demand to the insurance company, telling them what you are seeking for a settlement along with supporting documentation outlining your case.
The insurance company might agree to pay the settlement amount. They will do this when they feel that you have a very good case and would be likely to win in court.
Alternatively, they might make a counter offer and try to negotiate with you for a lower settlement amount.
The third option is that the insurance company will reject your claim without a counter offer, or with an offer that is completely unacceptable to you. In this case, your personal injury attorney will file a lawsuit and you will go to court to argue your case.
Finding the Personal Injury Attorney You Need
When you’ve suffered damages or injury due to the carelessness or negligence of another person, you need a personal injury attorney to advise, support, and guide you. A lawyer can protect your interests when dealing with insurance adjusters, and you may need a legal professional to represent you in court.
If you’ve been hurt or you’ve lost a parent or child to an accident or someone’s reckless behavior, your first step should be consulting with an attorney. Contact MDK Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.