If you have been injured or incurred damage to your vehicle following a car accident in Arizona, there are several state laws and regulations that could have a significant impact on your rights and responsibilities in any personal injury claim you decide to make.
At Jeff GOULD Law, we are the Attorney in YOUR Corner, and we know that if you own or drive a vehicle in the state of Arizona, it’s crucial that you understand what our state’s accident laws mean for you when you are involved in a car accident. Here are 4 things to know before filing a lawsuit, if necessary, after your car accident in Arizona.
- Who can I sue?
Arizona is an “at fault” state. This is sometimes referred to as comparative liability, and means that whoever is deemed responsible for causing the accident in the state of Arizona is liable for the damages. In order to file a lawsuit following a car accident in an “at fault” state, fault must be investigated/assessed and identified before suing any party following a car accident. To prove fault, the individual filing the suit must prove that the other party was negligent; breached a duty; or failed to obey traffic laws; and that the accident directly resulted from the other at-fault person’s negligence.
There are very few immunities in Arizona as to who can be considered “at fault.” If the other driver is at fault, you can bring a claim against the other driver. If a construction company hasn’t placed proper signage, they can be determined to be at fault as well. You can bring claims against cities, counties, or even the state of Arizona, as long as fault can be proved (however, if you are bringing claims against a government entity (you need to file a Notice of Claim with the government entity within six (6) months.
- Is there a time limit?
A Statute of Limitations (“SOL”) is a state law that sets a strict time limit and deadline when a lawsuit must be filed to preserve your legal rights and responsibilities. In Arizona, the statute of limitations that applies to car accident suits is the same that is applied to all personal injury suits. Specifically, the state of Arizona Revised Statutes section 12-542 sets a 2-year deadline for filing any civil case seeking remedy for injuries, vehicle damage, or wrongful death. This 2-year “clock” typically starts on the date that the accident occurs.
Even if you feel confident that your case will be handled through the insurance claim process, leaving yourself plenty of time to file a lawsuit within the 2-year SOL, filing a lawsuit is always a good idea. If you think you are approaching the end of your two-year deadline and have yet to resolve, you or your attorney must file a lawsuit to preserve your rights prior to the 2-year SOL / or your injury claims may be time barred by SOL forever. Please contact an experienced Arizona car accident personal injury attorney to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities and meet any and all statutory deadlines.
In the state of Arizona, you have two possible methods of recovering for damages related to a car accident. The first option is to negotiate an out of court settlement with the other driver and their insurance company. If you accept a settlement offered by the other party, you waive your rights to sue for damages in court.
If you are unable to come to a suitable agreement with the other driver and their insurer, your second option is to file a lawsuit. Whether you settle out of court or decide to file suit, it is essential that you have an Arizona auto accident Attorney in YOUR Corner to advise you as to whether you are getting the recovery you deserve and to make sure all dates and deadlines are timely met.
- How long do suits take to settle?
There is no average time for a car accident settlement because of how varied the circumstances of each accident and claim can be. The time it takes to settle a claim for injuries and damages following a car accident is dependent on a number of factors, some of which can be controlled or avoided. Some claims can be settled in months or even weeks, and others can drag on for years.
The extent and type of the injuries sustained, the specific policies of the involved insurers, and whether or not fault can be clearly established all affect the timeliness of a car accident claim settlement. Generally, If you recieve treatment for your injuries, the total amounts/costs of your recovery cannot be determined until the treatment ends. You can only determine the total recoverable damages you may be entitled to once you know your recovery costs, which can delay the settlement. If liability is more complicated and it takes time to determine fault, the case will take longer to settle as well. The opposing insurer will likely not be in a rush to settle. Insurance companies will evaluate the case and try to find any information that may devalue your claims for injury/damages. All of these factors, and many others, will affect how long the settlement process may take.
If you are looking for an Arizona accident attorney, Jeff GOULD Law is here to help. Not only can Jeff GOULD Law bring a personal injury claim and/or lawsuit for you: but our history of helping injured Arizonans by aggressively pursuing maximum recovery and compensation for our clients helps ensure that you will get a fair deal when settling; or fighting for your damages by lawsuit. If you have been injured in a car accident in the state of Arizona, Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney in YOUR Corner, will fight for your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.