You have been in a car accident
and you have been injured. Now what?
- Seeking medical treatment is initially the most important thing to do. If you think you are injured, immediately go to the emergency room. If you’re simply feeling sore, see your primary care physician and ask about your treatment options (such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain management, etc.). Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of car accident victims, and one of the biggest mistakes that our Phoenix personal injury lawyers see people make is a failure to receive the medical care that they need.
- Open a property damage claim with your insurance company. Don’t be fearful of doing this if the accident wasn’t your fault. You pay a monthly premium to your insurance company- use your insurance! Unlike many other Phoenix personal injury lawyers, the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Zanes Law will handle your property damage claim for you so that you can focus on your medical treatment.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. Hopefully you called the police after your car accident in Phoenix. This report will provide you with the other driver’s information and version of how the accident happened. Without a police report, there is a greater risk that the driver who hit you will not give you their correct information, will lie to the insurance company about how the accident happened (since there is more time to think about it), or both which can result in a liability dispute between the insurance companies. Provide the information from the police report to your insurance company.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix to discuss your options. The Zanes Law Phoenix personal injury lawyers will provide you with a free initial consultation and will answer all of your questions about your car accident claim. After speaking with one of our Phoenix personal injury lawyers you will understand all of your options and will able to decide what next to do.
After your car accident, the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Zanes Law will create a plan of action for your case specifically, and ensure you’re legal and medical needs are met.
Motor vehicle accidents in the United States are among the most common causes of serious injury and death each year. This is true even though the auto industry has made great advancements in both technology and safety features on all vehicles. In fact, car accident claims and lawsuits are probably the most common type of civil tort case filed by attorneys today. At Zanes Law we make sure all of our car accident clients understand that not every car accident will result in litigation. Our car accident lawyers in Phoenix and Tucson have successfully resolved approximately 90% of the cases that we handle through a settlement with an insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. This includes both minor injury car accident cases as well as major injury life changing events.
Automobile accidents are a class of tort cases that are derived from the basic tort principles of negligence. Negligence occurs when the at-fault party fails to use reasonable care and this failure causes injury to another person. Put another way, it is a failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would have used under the same circumstances. It may arise from doing an act that a reasonably prudent person would not have done under the same circumstances, or, from failing to do an act that a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same circumstances.
The most common types of car accidents are caused by:
Driver Error or Driver Negligence
In the context of car crashes, negligence can arise under many situations. The most common cause of automobile accidents that both our Tucson and Phoenix car crash lawyers see is driver error. The common driver errors that our car accident lawyers see in car accident cases are:
- failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- driving at an excessive rate of speed
- driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence
- disregarding traffic control devices
Distractions of the Vehicle Driver
Although there are many causes of car accidents, the distractions that the driver of a vehicle encounters have increasingly become a cause of accidents. Common distractions include:
- car driver uses a cellular phone
- car driver attempts to read
- car driver puts on makeup
- car driver changes the radio station
- numerous other distractions both inside and outside of the vehicle
Failure to Properly Maintain a Car, Truck or Bus
Another significant area of automobile litigation that our car accident lawyers often see involves the failure to properly service and maintain the vehicle. These cases will involve an accident that is caused by the failure of a car, truck, or commercial vehicle part that was not maintained.
The results of this failure can be catastrophic. For example, the simple failure to properly lubricate the bearings on a car or commercial vehicle, such as a truck (a standard maintenance item) can result in an entire wheel assembly becoming disengaged from the vehicle while driving.
Road Defect or Negligent Design of the Roadway
Roadway defect cases are class of auto accident cases that involves factors external to the driver or the vehicle. Specifically, these cases involve accidents that occurred because of the following issues:
- the road was not designed correctly
- the road was not properly maintained
- he road did not have the appropriate signs or traffic control devices
- the means of controlling traffic caused or contributed to an accident
- there was construction or debris that caused or contributed to a car accident
Product Liability or Auto Manufacturing Defect
Automobile accident litigation involves a unique class of litigation known as products liability. In the automobile context, these claims involve a defect in a given motor vehicle that actually caused the accident and resulting injuries. These defects can include tire blowout, brake failure and mechanical failure. Two case examples of defective automobiles are:
- Litigation involving Toyota vehicles and their improperly designed accelerators that created “unintended acceleration” in their vehicle. Click this link for more case specific information.
- Litigation involving faulty ignition switches in many General Motors vehicles. Click on this link to learn more.
Many times a manufacturer will install a part that ultimately does not cause the auto accident, but this defective part is what caused the vehicle’s occupants to be more severely injured than they might have otherwise been. Two examples of this are:
- When seat belts fail to work properly and, because of this, an occupant in the vehicle is more severely injured than he or she would have been had the seat belts worked properly. One examples of a seat belt failure jury verdict is a 2002 case in Tennessee where the jury awarded $6.5 million to a 14 year old boy who became paralyzed from the waist down after a 2002 car accident. The jury found that the Ford Mercury Grand Marquis he was driving in was equipped with defective seatbelts that were not suitable for a child. (Zanes Law was not involved in this case).
- Another prevalent design flaw concerns vehicle seatbacks, the recliner mechanisms on car seats, and seat tracks. In my opinion, Car manufacturers continue to ignore the fact that injuries could be prevented by design revisions to car seats that would protect the vehicle’s passengers, especially in rear end collisions.
Below is a list of many of the different manufacturer defects commonly seen in cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles.
- Steering components that break suddenly causing partial or complete loss of vehicle control.
- Airbag failure caused by airbags that fail to deploy or do not deploy in a timely manner.
- Door latch failure caused by doors that open during an accident allowing passengers to be ejected
- Gasoline fire caused by a defective gas tank or fuel line.
- Glass breakage caused by weak glass glazing that allows occupants to be ejected from the vehicle.
- Rollover accident caused by vehicles prone to rolling over.
- Roof crush caused by a weak roof that collapses into the occupant compartment during a rollover.
- Seat belt failure caused by seat belts that unlatch, tear, spool out or otherwise fail during an accident; and/or caused by weak seats that collapse backwards, thereby injuring or ejecting its occupants.
- Child safety seats that contain defective safety belts, buckles, or components that create a risk of injury
If you have been injured in a car accident and you believe that your accident was cause by a defect in your vehicle or that you were more severely injured because of a defect in your care, please call and speak with one of the Zanes Law automobile accident lawyers in either our Phoenix or Tucson, Arizona offices. Our lawyers will evaluate whether or not you have a claim and who that claim should be against. We will look at claims against both the car manufacturer and the car dealer, who could be liable for selling the vehicle with the knowledge of the defect.
The State of Arizona requires all car owners to have auto insurance on their vehicle. Unfortunately, despite the law our lawyers talk to clients weekly who were injured in an accident and the negligent driver either did not have any auto insurance or did not have enough insurance to fairly compensate our client. Under these circumstances we will make an insurance claim against either our client’s UM auto insurance policy or UIM insurance policy. UM stands for uninsured motorists coverage and UIM stands for underinsured motorists coverage.
Because Arizona has very low insurance requirements, some of the worst drivers on the road carry inadequate coverage due to the high cost of insurance, which results from their bad driving records. Because of this, having UIM coverage is extremely important and is needed in order to protect yourself and your family in the event that you are in an accident caused by somebody who carries inadequate coverage
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Every state has laws that proscribe the time limits within which a person injured in a car accident must take certain steps to protect their legal rights or forever be prevented from being able to bring a claim for compensation. For example, all states have passed laws that mandate that a lawsuit based upon injuries sustained in an automobile accident must be brought within a certain time frame. The failure to bring a lawsuit within such a time frame is considered fatal. In other words, a failure to bring a lawsuit within the Statute of Limitations will prevent any recovery regardless of the merits of the case.
The car accident lawyers at Zanes Law have helped thousands of families suffering serious injuries as a result of car, truck, bus or other vehicle collisions. We retain medical experts, expert accountants, financial analysts and economists because every personal injury case has its own set of associated costs, including pain and suffering, lost wages, the cost of care and many other monetary costs. In order to accurately assess what these costs will be for the remainder of a victim’s life, we use financial professionals to derive fair resolutions for injury victims.
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About Zanes Law
Over the years, Zanes Law has represented thousands of injured victims and has recovered over $80,000,000.00 for those friends that we have helped. Through all of this experience, we have seen insurance companies go to great lengths to protect their finances at the expense of our clients. We take great pride knowing that our lawyers and team are the gatekeepers who protect our clients and are the gladiators who take the fight to those who would harm our clients.
About Doug Zanes
“When I began practicing law years ago I simply wanted to help others, but did not specifically know in what way. As I began representing clients, just by circumstance the clients who I was helping happened to be clients who had been charged with committing crimes.
Then one night, my wife and I were driving home from the airport and narrowly missed being hit head-on by a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way on the street that we were on. As his headlights suddenly appeared in front on me, I turned to the right as he crashed into the median. We were extremely fortunate and he was eventually convicted of driving under the influence.
This was the night that I realized how quickly a life could be changed in an accident, and this was the night that my law firm stopped representing criminal defendants and began to focus on helping injured victims.” – Doug Zanes, Owner of Zanes Law
Phoenix Car Accident Lawyers.
Injuries resulting from a Car Accident in Phoenix will have a significant impact on your life including your job, your family, your sense of well-being and your finances
Phoenix has a population of over 4.3 million people and is the sixth largest city in the United States.
That’s a lot of people traveling in cars every day.
The chance of you being in an car accident and needing a Phoenix car accident lawyer is significantly higher than most cities.
If you have been injured in a car accident, know that you are not alone, and the Zanes Law team is here to help you. Allow an experienced personal injury lawyer to be your advocate.