Personal Injury FAQ
There is never a charge for a personal injury consultation and no fees or expenses will be charged to you unless we prevail on your case.
You need an experienced attorney because insurance adjusters are trained to give you as low a settlement as possible NOT what is fair. Insurance companies make their money by paying you as little as they can get away with. If you don’t know your rights or the true value of your claim it is easy for the insurance companies to low-ball you and pressure you into an unfair settlement. At the Law Offices we will not take your case unless we honestly believe we can get you a larger settlement than you would get on your own.
Usually No. In the early stages of settling your case the Law Offices typically will not have you agree to sign a general medical records release for the insurance company. Instead, the Law Offices will obtain only the records and invoices pertinent to your claim and release those to the insurance company. If, however, you file a lawsuit, the insurance company’s attorney may obtain more detailed medical records.
No. You are under no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurance company. The Law Offices will generally give the insurance company a written factual summation of your accident so there is generally no need for a recorded statement.
In Arizona, if you are bitten by a dog the owner is 100% at fault unless he/she can prove you provoked the dog. So if you did not provoke the dog and you bring your lawsuit within one year of your loss, the only issue a jury will decide is the amount of damages you will be awarded. This gives the dog owner and the insurance company a huge incentive to quickly settle any dog bite claim as there is very little upside to challenging it in Court.
Yes. Per A.R.S. § 12-2505 Arizona is a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence means that the jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party and then apportions the damage award accordingly. For example, if you are found to have suffered $100,000.00 in damages and are 60% at fault, you would still be entitled to an award of $40,000.00.
Not necessarily. Arizona is a comparative negligence state. What this means is that the jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party and apportions the damage award accordingly. As a result you can be partially to blame but still receive an award. Let the Law Offices review your case before making any decision. Also, avoid pleading guilty/responsible for the ticket if at all possible until you had a chance to speak with an attorney.
A wrongful death action is when a person causes the death of another because of a wrongful act or negligence. These claims are always brought by a third party because, by definition, the wronged person is no longer alive. Arizona law designates that a wrongful death suit be brought by the surviving spouse, child, parent, guardian or estate. So if you lost a loved one due to the actions or negligence of a third party, please contact the Law Offices for a consultation.
Statute of limitations is a very technical and complicated area of law. You will need to have a consultation with the Law Offices before we can determine the exact date your statute of limitations would run. This is very important because once the statute runs you are barred from bringing your claims. But as a general rule, Arizona law gives you two years from the date you suffer your loss to bring your personal injury claim. However, if you have a claim against a governmental worker or entity you have 180 days from the date of loss to serve a “Notice of Claim.” The Notice of Claim is NOT a lawsuit, rather it is a letter that puts the government on notice that you have a claim, gives a factual summary of the claim and a proposed settlement amount. The government is under no obligation to respond to the Notice of Claim and you still have two years to file actual the suit. In Arizona, a “strict liability” dog bite claim has a one year statute of limitations. If you miss this deadline it may still be possible to bring the claim under the general two year personal injury statute of limitations. If your injuries are being covered by workers’ comp. you only have one year to bring a personal injury suit. After the first year, the rights to bring the suit belong to the workers’ comp insurance carrier and you will need to receive an assignment from the carrier before you can file your own suit. Finally, be aware that negotiations with the other party or the insurance company do not toll or extend these deadlines. Once you miss them your case is over!
Yes. You are legally obligated to pay any medical bills you incur. Arizona law allows medical providers to place liens on any award you may receive but they are not obligated to do so. But even if your medical providers don’t use a lien you are still legally obligated to repay them and may be sued if you refuse. Also, if your employer provided health insurance covers any of your expenses it may have a right to be reimbursed from any settlement. As part of our representation of you, we will work with these individuals and seek to have your liens reduced to ensure you get the largest settlement possible. However, be aware that Medicare and Medicaid are barred by Federal law from reducing their liens beyond a proportional reduction for attorneys’ fees.
As a general rule, you want to wait until after you are done receiving your medical treatment before settling. That way, you have a full understanding of your expenses and how your injuries will affect you in the long run. But after demand is made for settlement it usually takes a few months before it is finalized. If, however, the insurance company will not negotiate or offer a fair settlement and a lawsuit is filed, it can take longer before a settlement is reached.
If you have mounting fees and expenses this can pressure you to settle before you know the full extent of your injuries. To assist you the Law Offices will work with your doctors and medical providers to wait for payment. We can also put you in touch with companies that will offer you a loan against a future settlement award. Many of those companies will forgive the loan entirely if you do not prevail on the case. There are many options available to you, so don’t let financial pressures force you into a settlement that is not fair.