Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take to Resolve?

So now that you’ve been hurt in an accident, what happens next with your case? And how long is it going to take to actually resolve your case? That’s a complicated question. Initially, what we want to make sure happens first is we want to make sure you get the medical care that you need to get. Both with a medical doctor as well as conservative care like physical therapy. The next thing we do is we want to make sure all your claims are opened up with all the different insurance companies involved. And that can involve or it can include your own insurance company if you have uninsured underinsured motorist coverage. After that we want to make sure you finish your treatment, and you’re better, then we get a demand out to the insurance company and we try to solve it, solve your case. We try to find a resolution to your case. And if we’re not able to, that’s when we will go sue the at-fault party who’s hurt you.

So how long does that take? That varies from case to case. We get a lot of cases done and settled, quite honestly, within about five or six months. Other cases can take a year and a half or two years if we have to sue and go through the litigation process. So that just varies from case to case. So now that you have a little bit of information, please give us a call and we’ll actually get all the facts, get all the information about what happened in your accident and talk to you about your injuries, and really give you a much better idea of how long it’s going to take to resolve your case and move forward.

How Does Zanes Law Take Care of Property Damage?

So how does your property damage get taken care of? That’s an extremely important question that quite honestly all of our clients have. There’s a role that you play in that and there’s certainly a role that we play in that. First and foremost we are a law firm that actually helps you take care of your property damages. Lots of law firms will actually make you take care of that on your own and they’ll just help you on your injury case. We will help you on that. First and foremost we want to make sure that your car gets actually removed a tow yard if that’s where it’s currently at because while it’s sitting at the tow yard it’s incurring storage fees. And so we’ll need your participation in doing that. We also want to get you into a rental car as quickly as possible and we’ll need your participation in that as well.

Now, as we get you into that rental car, it’s important to understand we don’t want you to purchase the extra liability coverage that the rental company wants to sell you. Your auto insurance will actually cover you while you’re driving the rental car. The other important piece is if your car is totaled and it’s not fixable, as soon as the at-fault party’s insurance pays you for your totaled vehicle you will need to take that rental car back and turn it in. And so during the process, if your car actually has been totaled or you think it is, you need to start the process of figuring out where you’re going to get your new vehicle from. If your car is fixable, while it’s being fixed in the body shop we’ll keep you in a rental so you’ll have a way to do the things that you need to do, get to work, get your kids to school, get to your doctors appointments. But it’s complicated so if you’ve been injured in an accident and you’re watching this you need to call us and we’ll help you take care of all of that.

What to Say to Your Insurance Adjuster?

So after you’ve been hurt in an accident, what should you tell the insurance adjuster? Quite honestly, that’s the easiest question for me to answer because the answer is you shouldn’t tell them anything because what you should do is you should come and hire me to represent your case and I’ll deal with your insurance company. You don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to talk to them, we will take care of everything for you. So call us at Zanes Law and we will take care of your entire case.

Personal Injury Claims: Trial or Settlement?

So is it better to go to trial than it is to settle your case? The answer to that is it just depends on your case. One of the challenges to going to trial is it’s expensive. Meaning if you’re offered thirty thousand dollars to settle your case and it’s really worth thirty five and you go to trial, the expenses involved in the trial will probably far exceed the five thousand dollars in additional money that you’re trying to get. So in that case you’re better off settling your case. If there’s a big difference between what’s being offered to settle your case and what your case is actually worth it’s worth going to trial.

Just keep in mind and we certainly explain to all our clients, the expenses involved in trial, whether it’s the experts, whether it’s paying your doctors to come and testify because they charge for their time, certainly if you don’t win at trial you could up owing money to the insurance company. So there are lots of things to consider when trying to decide that you want to take your case to trial. Because of our experience we’ve tried lots and lots of cases and we’ll be able to, quite frankly, tell you what we believe you should do and give you all the information that you need in order to make that decision because it is your decision since it is your case. So if you’ve been injured in a car accident, call us at Zanes Law and we’ll make sure that you’re taken care of.

Contingency Fees

So how do contingency fees work? What is a contingency fee? A contingency fee means us as a law firm being owed a fee for representing you on your accident case being 100% dependent on actually successfully winning your case and getting you money. That’s what contingency fee means and generally our contingency fee is a percentage of the money that we get for you. Every law firm works differently. What we do is at the end of every case we look at what our fee is in comparison to how much money our client is walking away with in pocket.

If we need to make reductions to our fee based off of the work we did or based off of fairness when we look at the money and how much money our client is getting versus our fee, we look at that at the end of every case and make any adjustments that we need to make. If we need to reduce our fee, we do that. That’s how our law firm works and it certainly is something you want to talk to a lawyer about if you’re interviewing lawyers. But if you’ve been injured in an accident, come and see us at Zanes Law. One, we’ll make sure that you’re represented the way that you’re supposed to be represented and two that at the end of your case that our fee will be fair.

What Proof is Needed for a Personal Injury Claim?

So what do you need to prove to be successful on your personal injury claim? You need to prove two things. One, you need to prove who was at fault, actually who the person was, and you need to prove that they were negligent. So when we’re talking about who was at fault immediately after an accident it really is important to document who was driving the other vehicle. Was the other driver a man? Was the other driver a woman?

What was the other driver’s name? What did they look like? Again, one of the recommendations I make is you take a picture of their driver’s license with your cell phone. Because now you know. You don’t want to find out a year later that you’re not sure if a man or a woman was driving the vehicle because you have to sue the right person. When it comes to proving negligence, that’s based off of the facts of the accident. How it happened. That’s one of our attorneys’ that represents our clients roles is proving that negligence. So if you’ve been injured in an accident make sure you call us and we will make sure that you’re taken care of.

Taxes on Personal Injury Settlements in Arizona

So do I have to pay taxes on my personal injury settlement? I can tell you this is a very complicated question because the answer is yes, you may. It depends on your case, it depends on your award, it depends on your settlement and more important it depends on how the monies are characterized. It’s so complicated that I wrote a blog on it and I linked to that blog as part of this. On a normal personal injury settlement, your pain and suffering, you don’t have to pay tax. But you could have to pay tax on interest. You could have to pay tax on the medical damages settlement piece.

Depending on how it’s characterized and depending on whether or not you’ve claimed those medical bills in your taxes prior to the settlement. So there are lots of ins and outs, certainly too much for this video, but click on the link and go to the blog and it’ll give you more information. If you’ve been injured in an accident, make sure you call us at Zanes Law because we know the ins and outs of these cases from top to bottom and we will make sure that you’re taken care of.

Personal Injury Myths and Misconceptions

So what are the myths or misconceptions of a personal injury case? I can tell you the biggest misconception is this case is gonna make me rich. In fact there’s a documentary on Netflix regarding the McDonald’s hot coffee case that lots of you have heard of and it’s worth watching because it really makes it clear that even in that case it really didn’t make anybody rich. Your case is about your facts. Your case is about your injuries.

But quite honestly there’s nothing any lawyer will ever be able to do that will make you happy that you were injured in an accident. What we can do is we can make sure that you are fairly compensated and that the at-fault party does pay what they should pay and as much as we can possibly make them pay. So give us a call at Zanes Law if you’ve been injured in an accident and we’ll make sure that you’re represented well.

Gap Coverage and Personal Injury Claims

So what is Gap coverage and why do I need it? Gap coverage is actually insurance coverage that covers the difference between the value of your car and and what you owe on your car if your car is damaged in an accident and is really totaled out. Because in a lot of circumstances that’s completely different. There are lots of cases where the value of your car may be five thousand dollars but what you actually owe on it is eight thousand. If you don’t have Gap coverage the at-fault party’s insurance company is only going to be responsible to pay the value of your car, not what you owe on it, and you’re responsible for that extra three thousand dollars.

So if you own a car you want to have Gap coverage. If you lease a car it’s a different deal. If you leased it the dealer that leased it to you will have Gap coverage. But if you own your car you need to have Gap coverage. That is a must. So if you’ve been injured in a car accident and you need help on it make sure you call us because there are actually some little intricacies with Gap coverage and if your claim isn’t made soon enough and isn’t made correctly they will deny your claim and you’ll lose out on that coverage. So call us immediately after an accident.

Arizona Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

So if you’ve been injured in an accident, how long do you have in order to bring your claim? What that’s called in legal terms is your statute of limitations. In Arizona you have two years within which to bring your normal personal injury claim. Other states will be different and it varies from state to state but in Arizona you have two years. It’s like a lot of things in the legal world, it’s complicated. If a government entity is involved it’s much different, there’s a shorter time frame within which to bring your claim.

Because of all the ins and outs when it comes to a statute of limitations, you should always talk to an attorney after being injured in an accident. Come see us at Zanes Law, our consultations are free. We’ll explain to you what your statute of limitations is given the specific facts involved in your case and the specific people involved in your case because it changes. You want to make sure you bring your claim and you bring it quickly after the accident.

What Does Zanes Law Do to Win a Personal Injury Trial?

So what do we do here at Zanes Law to make sure that we’re successful on cases that we litigate and have to go to trial on? The first thing we do, and quite honestly we do it early on in a case, is we look at a case and figure out which experts we need to prove our case and then we hire those experts. Our goal is to hire the best possible experts who are out there. That’s important because experts are expensive and I think there are lots of firms that cut that corner.

When we try a case it’s generally tried by two attorneys as opposed to one because a lot of work goes into trials. That’s the nature of the beast and so we use two attorneys instead of one. We’re a big firm so we’re able to finance trial cases. We have the money to hire the experts that we need and pay the doctors and experts that need to come and testify. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call us and we’ll make sure your case is handled correctly.

First Things to Do After an Accident

So what are the first things that you should do after being involved in an accident? We’ll talk about car accidents specifically. The first thing that you should do is, if somebody has been hurt, you need to make sure that they get medical attention if they need immediate medical attention. Call an ambulance, call the fire department, just dial 911 and get the help there. You also want to call 911 to have the police come out and prepare a police report. In certain jurisdictions they may not come out but you at least want to try that. You want to take pictures of the accident scene and the cars before they’re moved, if possible. You want to get the insurance information from the at-fault driver. The name of their insurance company, their insurance policy number.

One of the best things to do to get a copy of their insurance car is to take a photo of it with your phone. You also want to get all of their information, their name, their address, their phone number. A good thing to do is to take a picture of their driver’s license with your phone. You need to get all the complete information. The information of the witnesses who saw the accident, their names, their phone numbers. Get everything because what happens is once that accident is over and everybody leaves it’s almost impossible to get it later. So if you just get the other driver’s name and phone number it’s going to be very difficult to get their insurance information at a later time. So it’s all about the information. So if you’ve been injured in an accident get all the information you can and then call us at Zanes Law and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.

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