Automobile accidents are traumatic to anyone involved, whether you had a minor fender-bender or a major collision. However, it is especially frightening when you are the at-fault driver. You likely wonder not only about your injuries but also if the other party will be okay and what will happen to your finances if you’re sued.
It can be overwhelming, and most people don’t know what to do first if they’re at fault for a car accident. The first thing to remember is to avoid talking to anyone about the accident and never apologize or admit fault.
Instead, contact a personal injury attorney at Zanes Law. Our experienced attorneys will protect your rights and help you minimize accident-related penalties.
What to Do After You Think You Caused a Car Crash
After a car accident, you should stay calm and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Render aid to anyone who might be injured and call 911 for emergency medical attention if necessary. You should also contact the police as soon as possible.
Additional steps to take following a car accident:
- Remain at the location: If you caused the accident, never attempt to flee the scene because you might get arrested. Unless you have injuries, stay at the accident location until the police arrive.
- Never admit fault: Avoid saying that you were distracted and hit the other car, the speed of your vehicle, or weather conditions. Don’t admit to why you think you were responsible for the accident or lie and say you weren’t at fault. Any information you provide could be used against you later on.
- Go to the hospital and retain medical records: Go to the hospital right away if you have injuries. Be sure to keep any medical records or hospital bills for evidence later on.
- Remain calm: Stay calm and collected and avoid apologizing to the other driver. Don’t get into an argument and never make threats. Let the authorities handle the situation.
- Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers involved. You must report any accidents that involve injury, death, property damages over $1000, or property damage that renders a car unable to drive.
- Describe to police: Wait until the police arrive before getting out of your vehicle. When the police arrive, stay polite and give them a basic description of how the accident happened. Their job at the accident scene is to file a police report.
- Collect evidence at the scene: Collecting evidence at the scene of an accident is very important. You should take pictures of the location and write down details about what happened. This information could help prove the driver at fault in the accident.
- Gather witness statements: There were likely many people that witnessed the accident but didn’t report it. You need to talk to them and gather witness statements. You also need to check if there are cameras near the accident scene. If you hire an experienced car accident lawyer, they will handle these details.
- Take photos of the accident scene: Be sure to take pictures of the location, and include everything you see.
- Contact an attorney: Once you’re stable, it’s essential to notify your insurance company of what has happened. You should also contact an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and help reduce your portion of fault for the crash.
For a free legal consultation, call 866-499-8989
Understanding Comparative Negligence in an Arizona Car Accident Case
If you caused a motor vehicle accident, you would be required to pay the other driver’s losses, and anyone else harmed in the crash. In addition, you would be held accountable for paying medical bills and other damages.
When multiple parties are involved in a car accident, each party may claim compensation for their losses. Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that under A.R.S. § 12-2505, any damages awarded are reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the other party. Therefore, your damages would be reduced by the portion for which you are at fault.
For example, even if you were 99% at fault for the accident, you would still be able to recover 1% in accident damages from your auto insurance company under Arizona’s comparative negligence laws. The law allows people injured in accidents to seek compensation from those responsible for causing them.
You must show that the other party was negligent and that their actions directly led to your injuries to prove this claim. Despite this, Arizona law blocks a plaintiff’s recovery if they deliberately caused or contributed to accident injuries or death.
Arizona’s Right to Contribution
In addition, under Arizona’s right to contribution law, A.R.S. § 12-2501, if you and one or more drivers caused another person’s injuries, compensation for those damages is split among each of you,
How Is the Percentage of Fault Determined in an Arizona Car Crash?
To determine the exact percentage of each party’s fault for an auto accident, insurance companies, lawyers, and courts use a variety of evidence. Accident reports, photographs, and other information are common sources of proof used to calculate accident liability.
A lawyer specializing in auto accidents can help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and know what to expect when you file suit.
How Are Damages Recovered in Car Accident Claims?
To recover damages, you must prove that someone else’s negligence also contributed to your accident. Negligence means failing to use reasonable care. For example, though you may have initially caused the accident, the other party may have been driving too fast, texting, or using drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
If you were injured in the car accident caused by you, you might still be able to recover a portion of the damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
The process begins with filing an insurance claim with your claims adjuster. They will investigate the accident to determine if and how much their company will pay out. If they deny your claim, you may want to consult an attorney specializing in personal injury law.
A lawyer will help you gather evidence and documents from the accident scene and document medical treatment and other losses. You may also wish to consult with experts to determine fault or prove the extent of your loss.
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Call an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer and Request a Legal Evaluation
A car accident can be devastating for anyone, especially if you believe you were the at-fault driver. An attorney who specializes in personal injury law understands what you’re going through. They will ensure your rights are protected while helping you minimize crash-related penalties.
You shouldn’t have to pay for 100% of the damages if the other car accident driver or drivers were partially at fault. Instead, contact a car accident law firm that understands Arizona’s comparative negligence laws. Call Zanes Law Injury Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.