The days, weeks, and months after an unexpected accident can be incredibly stressful.
You probably have questions about your rights, whether or not you have a case, and the legal process ahead of you.
As a leader in personal injury litigation in Arizona, Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers has the answers you need.
What is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case is a civil action in which one person, the plaintiff, claims that they’ve been injured because of another person’s, the defendant’s, actions.
Personal injury cases can take two forms: insurance claims or lawsuits.
Through a claim or lawsuit, the plaintiff requests to be compensated by the defendant for damages they’ve suffered – such as medical bills, lost earnings, and emotional distress.
Many times, personal injury cases begin as insurance claims. If parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, a lawsuit is often the next logical step for plaintiffs who are genuinely in need of compensation to get back on their feet.
How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?
You may have a personal injury case if:
- You were injured in a car accident because someone else was negligent
- You suffered injuries on someone else’s property because the owner failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition
- You’ve been injured at work or diagnosed with a work-related illness
- You were bitten by a dog
- You were injured because of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product
- You were the victim of a medical error
- Someone else hurt you intentionally
There are three primary causes of actions in personal injury cases: negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts.
Negligence is the primary cause of action for most personal injury cases in Phoenix, including traffic accidents, premises liability, and medical malpractice. Simply put, negligence refers to a person’s failure to use reasonable care, which, in turn, causes another person’s injury or death.
Strict liability applies most often in personal injury cases involving product liability and dog bites. In these situations, a party (the manufacturer or dog’s owner) can be automatically responsible for injuries or deaths caused by their products or animals. Since liability can be automatic, it serves as an incentive for them to be extra careful when designing products or caring for their animal.
Victims of assault, sexual assault, battery, and violent crimes can also pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, their case would be based on the intentionally harmful actions of the defendant rather than their negligence. In these cases, it must be proven that the defendant intended to threaten the plaintiff and/or cause harmful or offensive physical contact.
Should I Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
In a word, no. At least not until you’ve had a chance to sit down and review your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix, AZ.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the insurance company will always pursue an outcome that serves its own best interests. What’s best for the insurance company? Denying your claim and keeping money in its own pockets.
Many times, the purpose of a recorded statement is to get you to say or admit something that can be used to derail your claim. Questions may seem innocent enough – or even sympathetic – but they are ultimately designed for the insurer’s benefit.
So, it’s best to answer simple questions (name, birthdate, address) and then direct all other questions to your attorney. Your Phoenix personal injury attorney will know the best ways to approach delicate questions and provide honest answers that serve your best interests – not the insurance company’s.
How Long Will It Take For My Personal Injury Case to Settle?
It depends. Many factors can impact the amount of time it takes for your case to reach a settlement.
- Is liability for the accident clear or contested?
- Are there allegations of contributory negligence?
- How severe are your injuries, and how long will it take for you to make a full recovery?
- Is the insurance company taking your claim seriously and engaging in fair settlement negotiations?
- How willing are both sides to come to an agreement?
In some situations, personal injury cases can be settled in a matter of days or weeks. Other times, especially when there are questions over liability or the extent of a victim’s injuries, it can take much longer.
You’re probably eager to get your hands on a settlement check right after your accident. After all, bills are adding up quickly and might be aggravated by a sudden loss of income. However, once you accept a settlement, you waive the right to additional damages in the future.
This is one reason why some insurance companies are quick to offer a payout. They know the offer is for less than your case is probably worth, but hope that you’ll be eager enough to take it – saving them money in the long run.
The best way to accelerate the claims process and get the best result is by hiring an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Having an attorney shows the insurance company that you won’t be pushed around and that you’re serious about getting the result you deserve.
At Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ll do our best to negotiate a fair settlement as early on in the claims process as possible. However, we will not compromise the quality of our representation to make a quick deal. If we believe you can do better, we’ll be honest and explain that waiting might be better for the long term.
What’s the Average Payout in a Personal Injury Case?
There is no average settlement or jury award in Arizona personal injury cases.
Many factors will influence how much money you might be able to receive through an insurance settlement or jury award.
- What types of injuries did you suffer?
- Are you permanently disabled?
- Will you require long-term medical treatment and care?
- How have your injuries affected your ability to work?
- Did your negligence contribute to your accident?
- How old were you when you got hurt?
- Do you need assistance performing everyday tasks?
- How have you been impacted psychologically and emotionally?
The type of injury sustained – and its severity – is often the most influential factor when it comes to putting a price on a personal injury case. Catastrophic injuries, including brain injuries, amputation, severe burns, and spinal cord injuries, often require costly medical treatment and fundamentally change the course of a victim’s life. In turn, cases in which a victim is catastrophically injured tend to be worth the most.
However, even within these cases, the value can vary significantly. For instance, research suggests that the average cost of treating a traumatic brain injury can range between $85,000 and $3 million. That’s a wide range, and it doesn’t even begin to factor in things like a loss of income and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
The best way to maximize your settlement is by putting a trusted personal injury lawyer in Phoenix in your corner. Your attorney will have experience handling cases like yours and resources that allow them to build a persuasive legal claim that sets you up for maximum recovery.
When Should I Call a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Calling a lawyer should be one of the first steps you take after you are injured in a Phoenix, AZ accident.
Not only do you have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona, but your chances of winning your case are much greater when you get a jump start on it.
When you call an attorney for help, they’ll be able to listen to your story and assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They can help you obtain medical treatment, negotiate bills with the hospital, and take care of conversations with the insurance company and other parties.
The sooner your attorney can begin to investigate your personal injury case, the better. Evidence can get lost or destroyed as time goes on. Witnesses become less reliable over time as their memories fade. A prompt investigation is one of the best ways to ensure that your attorney has the information and evidence needed to build a strong and successful legal claim on your behalf.
Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Has the Answers To Your Most Important Personal Injury Questions
Personal injury lawsuits can be incredibly complicated and confusing. They can definitely be overwhelming, especially if you’re up against an aggressive insurance company. The good news is that you don’t have to take on this fight for compensation on your own.
If you’ve been in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, call Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers. We’re experienced, compassionate attorneys here to help you navigate this stressful process and fight for the best results. We’ll stand beside you throughout the claims process and do our best to provide clear and concise answers to any questions you have along the way.
We’ll work together to get you the maximum financial payout you deserve. To get started, just contact us online or give our law office in Phoenix a call at (602) 595-5559 to set up a free consultation.