What Statistics Tell Us About Car Accidents in Phoenix

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 30, 2021

Phoenix grew by leaps and bounds over the last decade. The city has one of the most extensive road networks in the entire country. In 2009, there were nearly 4,800 miles of roads in Phoenix. More lane miles mean more cars on the road, and that causes more than its share of accidents. When someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused your injuries, they should have to pay. First, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers to learn more about your legal options.

Car Accidents are Increasing in General

In general, the total number of car crashes is up nearly 50 percent in Phoenix from a decade ago. Some of this is due to the continued growth in the Phoenix area. However, the population only increased roughly 11 percent in the last decade, meaning something else caused the accident rate to spike.

Many factors led to an increase in the number of car accidents in the Phoenix area:

  • 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.

However, just because the accident happened and the other 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, it is what you can prove. In some crashes, the insurance companies do not find either driver at fault. The key is to quickly and thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident, which is something an experienced attorney can do right after you retain them.

There Is a Lower Rate of Injury-Causing Crashes

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. It is certainly not because drivers have gotten any safer. Overall, 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:

  • Sprains
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Get Medical Treatment Right After Your Accident

Your health is the main reason why you need to seek medical treatment right after the accident. First, there is no need to suffer any more than you have to after a car accident. A doctor can help you get on the road to recovery from your accident.

Second, getting medical treatment is a vital part of your claims process. You cannot file a claim for financial compensation until after you know the extent of your injuries. Usually, you would wait to start the claims process until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. This cannot happen without seeing a doctor. Your healthcare provider will diagnose and treat your injuries. Of crucial importance, they will document their findings, and you can use this for the claims process.

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 damage 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.

Financial Compensation After a Phoenix Car Crash

Not only are you eligible for financial compensation for all of the medical costs associated with your injuries, but you can also receive the following damages (assuming that you can prove that someone else was to blame for your injuries):

  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

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 excessive speeding.

The increase in road fatalities follows a pattern. Since bottoming out around the 2009-10 timeframe, the number of people killed in car accidents has steadily climbed over the last decade. The rise in fatalities has tracked the overall increase in the number of car accidents for the same reasons described above. When people drive more recklessly, the accidents tend to be more severe, leading to more fatalities. The trend in Phoenix tracks the larger trend in Arizona and across the country.

Wrongful Death Claims After a Car Accident

When your loved one has died in a car crash, your family can file a wrongful death claim. This lawsuit pays the family for the losses that they sustained when they lost a close relative in a crash.

In Arizona, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Personal representative

Ideally, the family will work together on a single lawsuit seeking compensation. If there is a surviving spouse, they will be the ones who have the first option to file the case. If not, you will move down the list to the next eligible person.

When you have lost a family member, you suffer your own damages (as opposed to what they experienced before they died, which is addressed by a survival lawsuit). The person who died contributed in their own way to your family. 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.

Wrongful death damages usually 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

Although the overall road safety picture in the Phoenix area seems bleak, there is some good news. The rate of alcohol-related crashes has decreased slightly in the area in the past decade. Since the overall population has increased, this means that DUI crashes are dropping, representing progress in the fight against this dangerous conduct.

Arizona has among the strictest DUI rules in the country. These tough punishments deserve some of the credit for getting the DUI problem under better control. Even a first DUI offense can result in up to six months in jail. 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.

Even though the number of DUI crashes has leveled out and dropped, the number of fatalities has increased. Five years ago, the fatality count from DUI accidents peaked at 93 before falling off slightly in more recent years. However, COVID has caused the rate of fatalities to increase yet again.

Financial Compensation After a DUI Crash

You can recover financial compensation in a DUI crash, just like you might from any other car accident. Even if the driver is criminally charged and convicted, it is completely separate from the civil case. 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.

When you suffered injuries in a DUI crash, you might also sue the bar or restaurant where the person consumed alcohol if they continued to serve a visibly intoxicated person. This is known as dram shop liability.

Learning the Cause of Your Car Crash Takes 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. Our firm can be on the job immediately, securing the evidence that you need to win your case.

Insurance Companies Makes Things Much Harder

In addition, dealing with any insurance company is always difficult. An auto insurance claim is never as easy as submitting it and getting your check. Instead, there are extensive settlement negotiations where the insurance company must raise its settlement offer. If not, 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. An experienced attorney with a 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 your physical injuries. If you cannot work, you also likely cannot handle the legal aspects of your case.

An Attorney Costs You Nothing Upfront

Do not worry about whether you can afford an attorney. We work for you on a contingency basis. You do not need to scrape together money to come up with a retainer, nor will we send you bills for our time during your case. If you win your case, meaning the jury awarded you money, or you settled, we will receive a percentage of your proceeds. You can move forward with confidence that hiring an attorney will not be a financial stretch for you.

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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