Auto accidents can happen anywhere and any time to even the most alert drivers. Usually accidents occur when at least one driver acted negligently, carelessly, or recklessly by failing to pay attention to the road. If a distracted driver causes a car accident, it is crucial that victims of collisions contact an experienced personal injury law firm right away to assist them with their case. Failing to get proper legal advice can lead to serious financial burden due to vehicle damage, costly medical bills, physical therapy costs, lost wages, and more.
While you may now how a court may calculate the total compensation a person injured in an auto accident may be entitled to, it’s important to understand what it takes to have a viable lawsuit in the first place. A car accident case is something called a negligence lawsuit, which means someone or a business entity failed to use reasonable caution and caused damage to a victim and is responsible for that damage. A successful claim ultimately boils down to four factors: 1) there was an existence of a duty of case; 2) there was a breach of that duty; 3) there was an injury caused by that negligence; and 4) that negligence was the actual cause for the injuries and not something else.
Ultimately everyone who drives on the road owes a duty of care to everyone else who is on the road by being aware while driving and avoiding other drivers. What most car accident cases boil down to is proving the injuries were in fact caused by the accident, and if the victim was responsible at all for contributing to the accident. For the first part, insurance companies will do everything in their power to reduce the amount of compensation you’re entitled to by arguing the medical care you received was unnecessary and that your injuries wasn’t caused by the accident, but in fact already existed before the accident. It’s because of this that it’s incredibly important to seek medical treatment after your accident and to consistently receive treatment and not miss any appointments. Doing this is crucial to documenting your injuries and preserving potential evidence to use to push back against the insurance companies and get the compensation you deserve.
In the state of Arizona, the law requires that all drivers have a mandatory insurance that is the absolute minimum a person can have and still be allowed to drive. The insurance minimum is $10,000 for property damage to the vehicle, and $15,000 for any bodily damages that result to a single individual and $30,000 total for any accident involving more people. While $15,000 may sound like a lot of money, it’s sadly not the case for most car accidents. The Arizona Department of Transportation did a study that shows the average economic cost for an accident causing a possible injury is $42,000, for a minor injury the cost is $80,000, and for a serious injury it’s $400,000. If a person has been killed in an accident, the economic cost is a staggering $5,800,000. As the figures show, even if the person that hit you happened to have auto insurance, it’s highly unlikely that their insurance policy will be enough to cover all the harm they caused you. Even worse, it’s estimated that 12% of drivers in Arizona are completely uninsured. If an uninsured driver hits you in an accident, and you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to recover any meaningful compensation in a lawsuit.
The reason that the required minimum auto insurance is so low compared to the actual costs of auto accidents is because the law was implemented back in 1972. When the law was put into place, it was expected that the insurance minimum would regularly be increased to keep up with the rising costs of inflation, however the Arizona legislature has failed to do so. Thankfully it recently passed SB 1087, which will raise the current minimum required insurance from $15,000 to $25,000 for a single person injured in an accident, and from $30,000 to $50,000 for a total accident involving more than one person.
Underinsured motorist coverage is an insurance coverage that protects people when they’re hurt in an accident and the other person’s insurance isn’t able to cover all the costs of your injury. As the above figures show, there’s always a very good chance that the insurance carried by the person who hit you will be insufficient to cover all your costs that resulted from the accident. In addition to underinsured motorist insurance, there is also something called uninsured motorist insurance that is often paired with it in a package as well. Uninsured motorist insurance essentially achieves the same thing, insuring you up to a certain amount in the event that you are injured by an uninsured motorist.
The Law Offices of Andrew R.C. Davis is committed to helping individuals who have been seriously injured in auto accidents. A catastrophic injury from a car wreck can result in the inability to work, care for dependents, and significantly impact other parts of your life. If you were injured in a car accident in Arizona, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Andrew R.C. Davis to learn more about the legal options available to you.
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