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In 2018, 146 people were injured each day in Arizona. A total of 127,056 auto accidents took place that year in the Grand Canyon state, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). These collisions left 53,376 people injured and 1,010 people dead. The ADOT also reports that every 8 hours and 46 minutes, a person was killed in a crash in the year 2017 and in 2018 a person was injured in an auto accident every 9 minutes and 51 seconds.

An auto accident can occur anywhere from roadways to freeways to back-country switchbacks. In fact, of the 127,056 accidents that took place in 2018, 68 percent happened on roadways, including county roads and city streets and the other 32 percent occurred on state highways.

The leading factors in most cases are the result of drivers making poor decisions, including impairment, speeding, and reckless driving. Of all the crashes that took place, 3.66 percent were alcohol-related and of those, 20.94 percent happened in rural areas and 79.06 percent occurred in urban areas.

Insurance Requirements in the State of Arizona

In order to drive legally in the state of Arizona, you are required to have auto insurance. Upon request, if you are unable to provide proof of financial responsibility to law enforcement, you may face penalties as Arizona has very strict consequences for those who choose to drive without insurance.

Arizona state laws require you to have auto insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum coverage, which is as follows:

  • For bodily injury, liability coverage is required with a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
  • For property damage, liability coverage is required at a minimum of $10,000.

Recovering Compensation for an Auto Accident

When someone is injured in an auto accident, they may be able to recover compensation for damages, bills, and other expenditures incurred as a result of the incident. The amount of compensation the injured person shall receive is determined by several factors. Many questions can come up for those that have been injured in a car accident as a passenger. Questions such as:

  • What happens if the driver who was at fault is underinsured?
  • Would it make a difference if the injured passenger was riding in the vehicle at fault?
  • Will both the driver and passenger get the same amount of compensation?
  • What if someone else is at fault?

Since each car accident scenario has different circumstances, the answers to these questions can differ. That is why it is best to speak with a Phoenix car accident lawyer to get the answers you need.

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Liability Should be Considered

In order to sue another driver claimed to be at fault in a dispute, the victim must be able to prove the driver is liable. Someone in the matter has to be at fault. The claim typically goes to the driver’s insurance policy, if it is a single auto accident. However, it is more complicated when there is more than one driver involved, but the claim is filed on the liable driver’s insurance policy. It is also possible for both parties’ insurance companies to receive a claim, but this only happens in certain instances. An experienced attorney can assist the victim of the auto accident in determining the right thing to do.

What Are Damages?

Damages are the amount of money allotted for lost wages, medical expenses, and vehicle repairs. These expenses are the responsibility of the victim to report and show evidence of in order to receive compensation.

Generally, damages are divided into two categories, economic damages, and non-economic damages. Economic damages are basically easy to calculate and involve medical expenses (past and future,) auto repairs, lost wages from missing work, out of pocket expenses, and more. Non-economic damages cover damages that are more complex, such as pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and emotional distress.

Some examples of common damages that may be recovered for auto accidents include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Replacement vehicle
  • Lost wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Rental cars

In addition, Arizona state constitutional provisions prohibit caps on the damages a person injured in an auto accident can receive. However, Arizona does have a two-year time limit from the accident date for filing a lawsuit, known as the Statute of Limitations. This means that all auto accident claims must be filed within two years of the time the accident took place.

Once the Insurance Company receives the inquiry, they have 15 business days to respond and 30 days from receipt of acceptable proof of loss to pay all claims.

There is a Whole Process Involved with Filing a Claim

When a collision takes place, the passengers of either car should get each of the drivers’ insurance information. In some cases, the passengers may be able to file a claim with both insurance companies. Depending on the circumstances, passengers may file either a single or multiple claims. It must be decided if just one driver was negligent or if both drivers were at fault. In a no-fault state, medical expenses could be more complex since it is not required to determine which driver was negligent. However, Arizona is not a no-fault state.

Settling The Claim

The next part of a car accident process is settling the claim; however, neither of the parties involved may want to settle the matter, if both claim it was not their fault rather the other party was negligent. In addition, having a lot of damage and other passengers can also be the reason why the drivers may not want to settle. The insurance policies are limited to a maximum amount they can pay for compensation. If a number of passengers are involved, they should all file a claim so that the at-fault driver will compensate them for damages they incurred because of his or her negligence.

Making Sure That Others Take Comparative Fault

In these cases, an Insurance company will usually try to show the victim to be negligent causing damages to the vehicles and injuries because of the collision. Moreover, some will also try to show the driver as being distracted by their own means and if passengers were present that they too were distracted by their own means as well.

In a comparative fault system state, this can reduce the amount of compensation a victim receives for damages. Thus, it generally shows up as a percentage of the amount the victim would have received if they did not have a fault in the incident. Insurance companies are noted for doing this as their intentions are to show that the victim had some fault in the accident.

For this reason, it is important for a victim with injuries and damages that resulted from an auto accident always retain an attorney. Fortunately, an attorney can assist the victim in getting the money they deserve more quickly. This is especially true when an insurance company tries to tie up the case in the court of law while buying time to try to prove the innocent guilty.

If you are involved in an auto accident, you must remain at the scene and contact law enforcement. A written accident report must be filed by a law enforcement officer, generally within 24 hours of the accident.

What’s more is, when you are in an auto accident; even if you believe it was your fault, never admit fault or even partial fault as you may be too shaken up to know what actually contributed to, or caused the wreck to take place. You should give law enforcement a factual statement without speculating what may have caused it to occur. Then contact an attorney as soon as possible.

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Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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