Over the last decade, Phoenix has grown by leaps and bounds. The city has one of the most extensive road networks in the entire country. According to the Phoenix Street Transportation Department, the city had nearly 4,800 miles of road in 2009, and that number has only continued to grow.
However, more lane miles mean more cars on the road, which is a recipe for accidents. Phoenix’s car accident statistics may look bleak, but a skilled attorney can help anyone recover from a crash.
When someone else’s negligence causes you to sustain injuries, they should be held liable for your losses. If you’ve been injured in an auto collision, a car accident attorney from Zanes Law can advise you on your legal options and represent you in court.
Phoenix’s Statistics Show That Car Accidents Are Increasing
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the city’s total number of car crashes has increased by nearly 50% in the last decade. Some of this is due to the continued growth in the Phoenix area. However, the population only increased by roughly 11% in the last decade, meaning something else caused the accident rate to spike.
Experts speculate that many factors have led to the increase in the number of car accidents in the Phoenix area, such as:
- Large construction projects in the area have road crews overhauling and expanding roads.
- Like everywhere in the U.S, drivers in Phoenix cannot seem to put their phones down behind the wheel, driving distracted and missing opportunities to stop in time and react to other road hazards.
- Rideshare services began in the last decade, putting more cars on the road, driving under a system that encourages fatigued and distracted driving. These rideshare drivers receive almost no training and head out on the road very shortly after signing up.
- There are more cars on the road across the area because Phoenix continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
- Drivers are far less patient and far more temperamental than they were in the past, and aggressive driving has spiraled out of control.
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The Rate of Injury-Causing Crashes Has Decreased
Even though the number of car crashes increased in the Phoenix area, the rate of injury crashes declined. Some of this is due to safety improvements in cars. However, it is certainly not because drivers have gotten any safer.
According to car accident statistics, approximately one in four Phoenix car crashes result in some sort of injury. Here are some of the injuries that people suffer in Phoenix car crashes:
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Get Medical Treatment Right After Your Phoenix Car Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident in Phoenix, seeking medical attention should be your top priority. Not only is medical treatment crucial to your health, it’s also an important part of the claims process. You cannot file an insurance claim until you know the extent of your injuries. Seeking medical attention right away will also show insurers that your injuries are legitimate.
If you do not seek medical treatment promptly, the insurance company may claim that you are to blame for making your injuries worse. They may try to get out of paying you fully for your losses by arguing that you failed to mitigate damages.
The insurance company can even claim that your injuries came from something else other than your car accident. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to prove a connection between your injuries and the crash.
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Financial Compensation After a Phoenix Car Crash
Getting in a car accident in which another driver did something careless or reckless does not automatically entitle you to financial compensation. With any car accident, it is not so much what happened, but instead, what you can prove.
If your attorney is able to build a claim that undoubtedly shows who was responsible for the crash, you’ll likely receive a hefty settlement from the guilty party’s insurance company. The financial compensation you receive can be used to cover medical costs associated with your injuries and make up for the following losses:
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
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While Crashes Are Down, Fatalities Are Up
Interestingly, while the total number of crashes fell in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall number of fatalities grew over the year. The sharp increase in the crash fatality rate happened largely because people took far more chances on the road with less traffic.
Reckless drivers who may have been previously constrained by more traffic on the road had more space and opportunity to do dangerous things, such as speed and drive distractedly. The increase in road fatalities follows a pattern. Since bottoming out around 2009, the number of people killed in car accidents has steadily climbed over the last decade.
The rise in fatalities has followed the overall increase in the number of car accidents for the same reasons described above. When people drive more recklessly, car accidents tend to be more severe, leading to more fatalities. Sadly, the trend in Phoenix’s car accident statistics tracks the larger trend in Arizona and across the country.
Wrongful Death Claims After a Car Accident
Considering the fact that Phoenix’s car accident statistics have shown an uptick in fatal collisions, it can’t hurt to learn more about what happens when someone sustains fatal injuries in a car wreck caused by another driver.
If your spouse or loved one has died in a car crash, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim. The compensation you receive from such a claim can help you and your family pay for the losses you’ve incurred due to the decedent’s passing. In Arizona, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse
- Personal representative
Ideally, the family will work together on a single lawsuit seeking compensation. If there is a surviving spouse, they will be first in line to file a wrongful death claim. If not, the next eligible person on the list will have an opportunity to take legal action.
Damages Available to Wrongful Death Claimants
When you have lost a family member, you may receive compensation for the losses and hardships you’ve suffered as a result of their passing. You may also receive payments to help you cover a portion of your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses.
If the decedent contributed to you and your family financially, you have the legal right to receive payment for what the person would provide had they lived. In addition, you can receive payment for your own experience in losing the loved one. Compensable losses include:
- The earnings that the deceased would contribute to the family over the rest of their career
- Your own emotional distress, grief, and trauma over the loss of a close family member
- The loss of the guidance, love, and support provided by the deceased
- The loss of consortium for the surviving spouse
Since a death occurred, wrongful death damages may be higher than injury damages when an accident victim sustained injuries. However, wrongful death claims do not include punitive damages or pain and suffering.
Alcohol-Related Crashes Are Down
Phoenix car accident statistics show that the rate of alcohol-related crashes has decreased slightly in the last decade. Since the overall population has increased, this means that DUI crashes are dropping, representing progress in the fight against this dangerous behavior.
Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the U.S. Their tough punishments for impaired driving deserve some of the credit for getting the DUI problem under control.
Even a first DUI offense can result in up to six months in jail maximum. Arizona has a seven-year lookback period for second offenses. If convicted a second time within this period, there is a minimum 90-day jail sentence.
Even still, there are an average of 1,300 alcohol-related crashes each year in the Phoenix area. This represents some progress because the annual number was over 1,500 at the start of the last decade. Nonetheless, there is still an unacceptable risk.
Financial Compensation After a DUI Crash
You can recover compensation after a DUI crash, just like you might from any other car accident. If the driver is criminally convicted, you can still file a completely separate claim. Auto insurance companies still need to pay claims related to DUI crashes, regardless of whether the drunk driver made a conscious choice to operate their vehicle impaired.
Insurance companies will usually not fight you on liability when you suffered injuries due to a drunk driver. However, they will still give you a hard time about the amount of money that you get. Thus, you are not guaranteed to get what you need financially from a drunk driving accident.
If you file a lawsuit, you can use the evidence of the defendant’s guilty plea to support your allegations. However, a conviction when the defendant has pleaded not guilty is inadmissible. If the defendant received an acquittal of the DUI charges, it will not mean the end of your civil case because there are two different standards of proof.
Learning the Cause of Your Car Crash Requires Investigation
We often cite auto accident statistics in the past tense, pointing to one cause that makes up a certain percent of car crashes. These causes are not always apparent at the time of the accident. It often takes some investigation to establish the cause of the crash, and this is not something that you can do yourself.
You have a very limited amount of time to investigate a car crash because evidence can be lost quickly. The best way to get to the bottom of your car accident in the short time necessary is to hire an experienced attorney. Zanes Law can be on the job immediately, securing the evidence that you need to win your case.
Collecting evidence will allow your lawyer to build a strong claim. Having all the facts regarding a crash will also give your attorney the ammunition they need to succeed in insurance negotiations. When your lawyer investigates your crash, they’ll leave no stone unturned. They’ll gather all the evidence that’s relevant to your case, including:
- Police reports
- Footage and photos of the accident scene
- Witness testimonies
- Statements from accident reconstruction experts
- Your medical records
Insurance Companies Makes Things Much Harder
Filing an auto insurance claim is never as easy as submitting it and getting your check. Instead, there are extensive settlement negotiations in which your lawyer will attempt to get the insurance company to raise its settlement offer. If they refuse to, you will need to file a lawsuit, and the jury can award you the compensation that you deserve.
Either way, you should be ready for a process that can last many months or even years. The insurance company is not your friend, and they will fight to oppose a settlement amount that you deserve. If you’re facing a car accident injury case, an experienced attorney with an impressive track record of dealing with insurance companies is your most pressing need.
No one should expect you to fight the insurance company on your own when you are trying to recover from physical injuries. If you cannot work, you also likely cannot handle the legal aspects of your case. That’s why your lawyer will take on the entirety of your claim. They’ll stand up to insurers and fight for the settlement you need to get back on your feet.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Arizona
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Phoenix, you’ll want to take legal action as soon as you can. Doing so will ensure that your lawsuit is filed before Arizona’s legal deadline. According to A.R.S. § 12-542, the wrongfully injured have two years from the date of their accident to file a civil suit.
Failure to abide by the statute of limitations may prevent you from pursuing compensation for your injuries and accident-related losses. That being said, there are sometimes exceptions to the rules outlined in such statutes. If you believe your deadline has passed, contact an attorney anyway. They can help you determine whether or not you still have time to file.
Phoenix Car Accident Attorneys Often Charge a Contingency Fee
Although the car accident statistics show that injury collisions have declined, there’s still a chance that you might get hurt in a crash. If that were to happen, you’d probably be swamped with medical bills and vehicle repair invoices. Suffice to say, paying for an expensive attorney would probably be the last thing on your mind.
Fortunately, most car accident lawyers in Phoenix operate on a contingency fee basis. That means they’ll represent you in exchange for a portion of your insurance settlement or court awarded payment. If your case is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay your attorney any out-of-pocket fees.
If your claim yields compensation, your attorney will most likely take one-third or 33% of the money you receive. This payment method will help you stay financially stable throughout the legal process.
Our Firm Can Help You File a Car Accident Claim
Now that you’ve learned more about Phoenix’s car accident statistics, you’re probably wondering who you would call if you got into a serious crash. The car accident attorneys at Zanes Law have years of experience helping car accident victims get the compensation they need to treat their injuries and get back to work.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck caused by a reckless or negligent driver, our firm is here to help you rebuild your life. To get started on your car accident claim, contact us today. We’ll schedule a free consultation at a time that works for you. If we determine that you have a legitimate claim, we’ll start investigating your accident as soon as possible.