If you are involved in a traffic accident in the state of Arizona, you have the right to file a lawsuit for the fair compensation of your injuries. However, while this principle is simple, going through the process of filing a lawsuit after a traffic accident can be complicated.
Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how, why, and when to sue after a serious auto accident.
Before you can move toward suing, it’s important to determine who was at-fault in the vehicle accident you were involved in. While you may be keenly aware that you were not at-fault, it’s important to remember that evidence matters.
A lawyer can help you determine if you have adequate evidence to prove fault was on the other party. Your lawyer will ask you numerous questions, and it’s best if you have the following to prove your case:
- Photos and/or video of the accident
- Police reports of the accident
- Emergency medical reports of the accident
- Quotes and testimonies from others who were at the scene of the accident — either in your vehicle or other drivers or pedestrians
- Detailed medical reports and bills
- A complete list of your symptoms and medical problems
- Documentation of lost wages and/or salary
- Any other pertinent information
Who to Sue After an Accident?
The first question at-hand after you’ve determined that the accident was not your fault is: Who do you sue? The basic choice is between the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the at-fault driver themselves.
The question of whom to sue comes down to several factors. First, does the other driver have auto insurance? Unfortunately, many uninsured drivers are on the road in Arizona. If the other driver does not have insurance, it makes sense that you won’t be able to sue an insurance company.
Next, remember that it’s possible the other driver is underinsured. This means they do have liability insurance, but it’s nowhere near the amount sufficient to cover your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In this case, it’s probably also not worth it to file a lawsuit with the other insurance agency.
In both of these situations, your next step will likely be to sue the at-fault driver.
If the Other Driver Has Substantial Insurance: Settling Vs. Suing
If you’ve worked with a lawyer to examine the evidence in your case, and you’ve determined that the insurance company should be the party held accountable for your compensation, your next decision is whether to settle with or sue them.
Settling your case involves working with the at-fault driver’s insurance agency to see what they’re willing to offer. In order to do this effectively, it’s wise to hire a lawyer. Having counsel on your side lets the insurance agency know you mean business. For this reason, contact a personal injury lawyer whenever you plan to negotiate with (or possible sue) an insurance company.
Furthermore, look out for the other party’s insurance company to contact you quickly after the accident and offer you a check. Do not accept this check. This is their attempt to settle quickly and for less money than you deserve. The insurer (the other driver’s liability insurance agency) will inevitably low-ball you. They’ll likely look at the accident, examine the evidence and the personal injuries you incurred and give you a final offer that fails to fully compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages and salary, and pain and suffering.
This doesn’t always happen, but it’s common. Why? Because auto insurance agencies are concerned about their bottom line. Yes, they must have the interests of their policyholders in mind as well (the party who caused the accident), but they’re also looking for the best ways to avoid large payouts.
In this vein, they want you to assume their settlement is the best deal you’re going to get. They want to convince you that if you don’t take their offer, you’ll be left with nothing. In fact, insurance agencies are exceptionally convincing in this way. They’ll tell you anything to get you to believe that you’re a fool to deny their offer and escalate the issue. Again, this is why you need a reputable lawyer on your side.
If you are unable to negotiate a fair settlement with the other party’s insurance agency, this is when a lawsuit against the insurance company may make the most sense.
When to Sue the Other Driver
So far, we’ve been discussing lawsuits against insurance agencies. However, remember that there is another possibility when it comes to personal injury lawsuits as well — suing the other driver. This is not always the best option, but it’s one to consider. Essentially, you’ll need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine if this is the next step you should take.
Remember, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. Getting into a serious auto accident that was not your fault can upend your entire life. In the state of Arizona, you are entitled to complete compensation.
Were You Recently Involved in a Phoenix Traffic Accident?
Without warning, a car accident can disrupt your life in virtually every way. Emotional and physical pain, mounting medical bills, a loss of transportation, and possibly even the loss of work can bring previously unknown trauma and suffering.
At Petersen Johnson, it is our job to fight for people in your exact situation. You deserve the compassion and commitment of a team of legal experts, and that’s precisely what we provide at our law firm.
If you were the victim of a recent Phoenix traffic accident, call our law office today at 602-910-4952 to schedule your free initial consultation.