Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
The personal injury lawyers at Hutzler Law handle many different types of personal injury cases. Some examples of the cases that we handle include the following categories:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Commercial vehicle and semi-truck accidents
- Wrongful death claims
- Slip and fall and Premises Liability Claims
- Dog bite claims
- Governmental liability
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Workplace Injury Claims
- Birth injury claims
- Civil settlements
Injury accidents can result in permanent disabilities that can change the course of your life. In catastrophic and serious injury accidents, the settlements can range up to millions of dollars. This is because of the extensive economic and noneconomic losses that people suffer when they have been seriously injured and left with disabilities.
Arizona Personal Injury Law Overview
Each year, tens of thousands of people in Arizona suffer serious injuries that are caused by the negligent actions of other people or entities. While many people equate personal injury claims with motor vehicle accidents, there are many different types of personal injury cases.
If you have been injured because of the actions of someone else, you may have legal grounds to file a lawsuit and recover damages. The experienced personal injury team at Hutzler Law represents victims who have suffered serious injuries to recover the compensation to which they should be entitled.
Personal injury, or tort law, is a category of civil law that relates to situations in which people are have had a bodily injury because of the negligent or intentional actions of others. People are expected to exercise reasonable care so that they do not injure and harm others.
When people fail to exercise reasonable care and cause injuries and harm to others, they may be liable to pay damages to the victims. The failure to use reasonable care that results in injuries to others is called negligence.
When you have been injured by somebody else, you should retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced and skilled in tort law. At Hutzler Law, a skilled and experienced attorney will assess your claim and explain whether you have valid grounds to file a lawsuit to seek monetary damages for your losses.
Having our firm on your side can help you to recover more compensation than you might recover on your own or with the help of an inexperienced lawyer. The skills of your attorney directly relate to the outcome of your case.
Our team of Arizona personal injury lawyers, led by Jason Hutzler, understands how to build strong cases for our clients to maximize the monetary compensation that they might recover.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Every personal injury case is fact-specific, meaning that an attorney cannot tell you how much your claim is worth without carefully evaluating it. In Arizona, there are two main categories of compensatory damages, including special damages and general damages.
Special damages are monetary sums that are meant to compensate you for your economic or pecuniary losses. Some examples of these types of damages include the following:
- Past injury-related medical expenses
- Future anticipated injury-related medical expenses
- Past wage losses
- Future reduction in your ability to earn an income
- Property losses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death claims
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
- The income that the decedent would have contributed over his or her life in wrongful death claims
General damages are monetary sums that are meant to compensate you for non-economic losses that are more intangible in nature, making them difficult to value. Some examples of general damages include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by your accident
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Reduction in your ability to enjoy your life
- Loss of consortium and guidance
While some states have caps on noneconomic or general damages in personal injury cases, Arizona does not. Under Article 2 § 31 of the Arizona State Constitution, damage caps are prohibited.
In addition to general and special damages, the third type of damages is sometimes available called punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for your economic or noneconomic losses.
Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish defendants and to deter future similar conduct. Punitive damages are not available in every case. Instead, they are awarded in situations in which the defendants’ conduct was particularly egregious and outrageous.
Dealing With Insurance Companies & Their Tactics
When an insurance company learns that you were injured because of the negligent or wrongful actions of one of its insureds, the company will contact you. An insurance representative may call you and may send out an insurance adjuster to meet with you.
While insurance adjusters might seem as if they care about your injuries and want you to get well, you should recognize that their loyalties lie with their employers and not with you. The job of an insurance adjuster is to try to minimize the amounts that their insurance companies might be forced to pay claimants. The adjuster might use several common insurance claim tactics so that the company might be able to pay much less than the amount to which a victim should be entitled or to avoid paying claims completely.
The insurance company might offer a fast settlement within days of when your accident occurred. The insurance adjuster will normally claim that the settlement offer will be enough to pay for all of the medical expenses. You should never accept an early settlement offer without having a personal injury attorney review it. In most cases, these quick settlement offers are unreasonably low and insufficient to cover all of your economic and noneconomic losses. Insurance companies extend fast settlement offers because they hope that the victims will accept them or that they will wrongly believe that their claims are worth much less than they are.
Another common tactic that an insurance adjuster might use is to ask you to give a recorded statement about what happened to you.
You should never agree to give a recorded statement about your accident without an attorney.
Insurance companies like to get recorded statements because they can use what the victims say against them in their cases. Insurance adjusters are skilled and understand how to get people to say things that they might not mean that can harm their claims.
An insurance company might also give you a medical release form and tell you that it needs the authorization to access your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries. You should not agree to sign a medical release for the insurance company. Insurance companies use these releases to pore over your entire medical record. They do this so that they can blame your injuries on an earlier incident to try to avoid liability for your losses.
Instead of agreeing to sign documents, give recorded statements, or accept settlements, you should instead politely tell the insurance company that you don’t want to do anything until you have spoken to your injury attorney. After you have retained an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hutzler Law, your attorney can handle the negotiations with the insurance company for you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Properly Valuing a Personal Injury Claim
Valuing a claim correctly can be complex. Many factors play into how much a case might be worth, including the extent, nature, and severity of your injuries, the defendant’s conduct, the facts and circumstances of your case, and others. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands how to properly value claims to ensure that injury victims recover compensation that will pay for all of their losses.
Many insurance companies and lawyers use a formula to value personal injury claims. They will first find the value of your special damages or economic losses. To figure out how much your general damages might be worth, they will take the total of your medical expenses, multiply them by a factor that ranges from one to five and then add in your income losses. Insurance companies typically use a lower factor while attorneys use a higher factor.
The amount that is determined is simply a rough estimate. What you might recover may be lower or higher, depending on the length of your expected recovery, the permanence of your injuries, the quality of your medical evidence, and others.
Your injury attorney may work with medical and financial experts to calculate your future anticipated losses. After your attorney has valued your claim, you will be presented with a range of monetary values within which a fair settlement should fall.
Identifying all Sources of Recovery
Identifying all of the potential sources of recovery is crucial in personal injury cases. For example, Arizona currently requires motorists to carry minimum liability coverage of just $15,000 for bodily injury or $30,000 for two or more injured victims along with $10,000 in property damage coverage. These amounts are frequently too low to compensate accident victims fairly for all of their losses.
While Gov. Ducey signed a law to increase these minimums to $25,000/$50,000/$15,000 beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the new amounts are also too low to cover the types of losses that people might suffer in serious accidents.
When you work with Hutzler Law, we will work to identify all of the potential sources of recovery that might apply in your case. In some cases, there might be multiple parties that contributed to your injury accident. By identifying all of the parties that should be named as defendants, we might help you to maximize the amount of compensation that you might ultimately recover.
Getting the Right Help from a Personal Injury Attorney
The legal team at Hutzler Law has the requisite skills and experience to handle all types of personal injury claims in Arizona. We understand how to deal with insurance companies and have the legal knowledge to advocate for your rights. Our goal is to recover maximal compensation for your injuries so that you can be made whole.
We also help injured accident victims with medical treatment costs and medical liens so that they will not have to deal with out-of-pocket expenses while they are waiting for their settlements or jury verdicts.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Hutzler Law to learn more about your rights by calling us at (602) 345-1981 or by submitting your information on our contact form. We offer free 30-minute case evaluations so that you can learn about your legal options from an experienced personal injury attorney.