Knowing the ins and outs of Arizona car accident insurance is critical if you ever find yourself a victim of a car accident. Arizona has two key statutes that address car accident claims on how to collect compensation for damages. Car accident cases are normally handled by a personal injury lawyer who can conduct proper investigations into your case. Especially with Arizona being an at-fault state, a personal injury attorney is the secret tool to get the compensation you deserve.
Arizona Laws for Car Accident Claims
- The statute of limitations for car accident claims is 2 years in order to collect compensation for damages.
- Comparative negligence law
- Determines the fault of all drivers involved in an auto accident, if the fault was shared among drivers.
- Depending on the percentage of fault for the victim, the compensation they receive will correspond with the percentage of fault.
Types of Car Insurance in Arizona
Insurance companies in Arizona require drivers to have bodily injury and property damage policies. The minimums for each policy are $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage.
This minimum coverage is not seen as enough to pay for all damages and injuries. Higher policies are seen as better protection for Arizona drivers. There are other optional auto insurance coverages you can add to your mandatory coverages.
- Collision: This coverage protects your car in a crash to help pay for the property damage.
- Comprehensive: This protects your car in the event of theft or damage from natural disasters.
- Uninsured motorist: If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, this coverage will protect you from having to pay for damages out of pocket.
- Roadside assistance: Provides emergency assistance if your vehicle breaks down, needs a tire, or if one of the windows breaks.
- Medical coverage: This provides financial protection for you and any passengers for medical bills and funeral costs if needed.
If you are asked for proof of insurance during a normal traffic stop or after an accident and you do not have insurance, you will face suspension of your license and/or vehicle registration. You will have to pay hefty fees and file proof of insurance with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department in order to no longer be suspended.
- For the first offense, you will have to pay a $500 fine, and your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended for three months.
- For the second offense, you will have to pay a $750 fine, and your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended for six months.
- For the 3rd offense, you will have to pay a $1000 fine, and your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended for one year.
You have three options in order to claim any compensation either from your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. First, you can file a claim with your insurance company and collect a settlement with them. Another option would be filing a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The last option would be filing a claim with a personal injury law firm against the at-fault driver’s insurance.
It is important to note that your insurance policy will cover your family members involved in a car accident in your vehicle. This will also extend to someone driving your car with your permission even if you are not in the car.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove Negligence
Since Arizona is an at-fault state, it is better to have an Arizona car accident lawyer helping you with your claim. Comparative negligence is used to find the percentage of fault among drivers involved in auto accidents. This requires a thorough investigation in order to determine fault. Our personal injury law firm provides free consultations for car accident cases and other personal injury matters.
Evidence is essential when trying to prove the other driver is at fault for the crash. Both insurance companies will send out investigators to gather details about the accident to provide a quote of compensation. If you decide to pursue the claim with an Arizona car accident attorney, there are a few pieces of evidence they will need.
After a car accident, having a police report created is the most important piece of evidence to have when pursuing a claim. The report will have details about the crash for all vehicles involved. It will also include the location of the accident scene and contact information for all parties. The Arizona Department of Transportation outlined an accident reporting procedure to contact the authorities and also how to be safe.
Medical documentation of injuries as a result of the crash will help you collect compensation for those medical expenses. Take photos of the damage done to your vehicle and other vehicles involved. Notifying your insurance carrier about your accident so they can send an adjuster out to assess the damages. You do not need to sign anything or accept any type of payment from your insurance carrier.
What Damages Can Be Claimed for Compensation
There are other damages besides property damage and medical expenses that auto accident victims can claim. When you are badly injured in a car accident, you might not be able to go back to work. Physical impairments resulting from car accident injuries could be lifelong or can be treated with surgeries and physical therapy.
But during this time, you are not at work and your lost wages can be claimed for compensation. In the state of Arizona, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages due to injuries. Lost wages can be calculated for both hourly and salary workers but the process does differ.
For salary workers, you take the total salary amount and divide it by the number of yearly weekday hours to determine the hourly pay. Once you find that out, you would multiply it by the number of work hours you missed and will be missing recovering from your injuries.
Pain and suffering is another type of damage that can be claimed for compensation. It is considered a non-economic loss. Pain and suffering include but is not limited to:
- Chronic pain – Pain that cannot be managed by therapy or pain medication
- Discomfort – Not being able to relax or feel comfortable
- Disabilities – Can no longer do activities or functions that were normal before
- Anxiety – Not being able to feel confident driving
- Depression – Therapy required
- Disfigurement – Loss of limbs or severe damage to the skin
- PTSD – Being afraid to drive or be in a car
- Loss of companionship – A loved one has passed away
- Loss of enjoyment of life – All of the previously mentioned lead to loss of enjoyment
Pain and suffering is calculated in one of two ways; per diem method or the multiplier method. In Arizona, the multiplier method is the preferred method of choice. If the victim’s current economic losses are totaled at $150,000, their pain and suffering losses would equal that amount or higher.
The per diem method awards compensation for these non-monetary losses. This is for each day the victim experiences and is expected to experience the losses. This method does require careful consideration of the consequences of these damages. Negotiation between the victim’s attorney and the insurance company takes place for this method.