Car accidents are one of the most common types in injury cases both locally and nationally. Cars are capable of inflicting a variety of types of injuries from soft tissue damage to brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death. Arizona has many unique laws governing negligence and automobile insurance laws. In a majority of the country, if a person is found to be more 50 or 51 percent at fault for their own injuries, they are unable to recover any money for their damages. It is important to note that Arizona is a pure comparative fault state. This means, generally, claims are not subject to a bar on recovery based on this allocation of fault. A person can recover for 5% of the value of their claim even if they are 95% at fault for their own injuries. It is also important to note that there are a multitude of statutes that outline the state-specific rules regarding the proper operation of a motor vehicle, as well as the provisions and definitions of certain insurance coverages. It is common to see exclusions in certain automobile insurance policies that are invalid as a result of not complying with the state insurance laws. These claims can be complicated and it is important to find an attorney with the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the process. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.
Claims and Common Issues:
An injured party has two claims when they are injured in a car accident: a claim for their personal injuries and a claim for any property damage sustained in the wreck. Both claims are made against the driver's automobile liability policy, but both are technically separated and have different amounts available for recovery.
There are several hurdles for achieving just compensation for auto injury victims in Arizona. Arizona has an unrealistically low state-minimum insurance requirement for drivers—$15,000 for a single accident victim's injuries and $30,000 for all injured parties in an accident. The law mandating this minimum amount was enacted in 1972 and has never been updated to reflect inflation and the rising rates of medical bills. What this means in practicality is that it is common for drivers to carry inadequate amounts of insurance coverage to pay for the injuries they cause.
A potential option to help bridge this gap is to tap into any optional coverage the injured party has through their own insurance, Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is available to help supplement the insurance coverage for drivers who are inadequately insured. Medical payments coverage is an additional add-on for insurance policies that may cover part or all of an injured party's incident-related medical bills. Unfortunately, these coverages are optional and not every motorist has them.
Another potential hurdle is when the at-fault party is a government entity. Although there is a two-year statute of limitations on claims against public entities, there is a requirement to give a notice of claim to the government. You must notify the government of a potential claim within 180 days of the date of the incident. If the notice of claim is missed then the injured party's case is forever barred (even if within the two-year statute of limitations). Unfortunately, identifying if a government actor is involved is complicated and not always readily apparent. Certain actors may seem like independent companies but be under governmental control. Additionally, generating a notice of claim can be a a difficult and complicated process.
In 2017 there were over 127,064 car crashes in Arizona. The following statistics relate to 2017 Arizona car crash data provided by AZDOT:
Members of Goodnow|McKay are vigilant in research and advocacy on behalf of accident victims. Please see the linked articles below related to automobile crashes:
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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.