What Should I Do if Someone Sues Me After a Car Accident in Arizona?

Those affected by a car accident can face many complications if they face a lawsuit afterward, but there may be options available to you to respond effectively. 

At Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona, we understand the stress and confusion that can arise in such situations. With over 55 years of combined experience, our dedicated attorneys have helped clients navigate the legal intricacies of personal injury cases, including those involving car accidents. 

This resource page will discuss what you should do if somebody sues you after a car accident in Arizona.

Understanding Arizona’s Car Accident Laws

Arizona uses a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the at-fault party is responsible for the resulting damages. 

Steps To Take After Being Sued

If someone sues you after a car accident, it’s essential to understand these subsequent key aspects:

1. Notify Your Insurance Company

It’s vital to inform your insurance company promptly about the accident and the impending lawsuit. Most insurance policies require you to do this promptly, or you might lose your coverage. Generally, your insurance company will provide you with legal representation.

Share all relevant information with your insurer, such as the other party’s claim, lawsuit documents, and any communication you receive related to the lawsuit. However, be careful about accepting blame or apologizing for the crash. 

2. Gather Evidence

A lawyer can help you gather proof to support your side of the story. This can include pictures of the accident, damage to the cars, and your injuries. Witness statements can be essential, as they can provide unbiased accounts of what occurred during the accident.

Obtain a copy of the accident report from law enforcement and preserve all medical records and bills related to your injuries.

3. Understanding Comparative Negligence

Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence system. This means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. Your lawyer will explain how this works and how it can affect the amount of money you might get.

4. Prepare for Negotiations

Car accident lawsuits are often resolved through negotiation before reaching trial. Your lawyer will be there to advocate for you during these talks.

Your attorney aims to secure a fair settlement covering your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Be prepared to discuss and compromise to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

5. Court Proceedings

If the talks don’t work out, the case might end up in court. Your attorney will file the necessary documents, present your case before a judge and jury, and advocate for your rights.

The court process involves discovery, where both parties exchange information and evidence, followed by the trial.

6. Potential Outcomes

The court may order you to compensate the other party depending on the case’s outcome. Having adequate insurance coverage is essential in this regard.

Your attorney will guide you through the process and help you understand your financial responsibilities based on the court’s decision.

7. Appeals

If the court’s decision is unfavorable, your attorney can discuss the prospect of filing an appeal. Appeals involve reevaluating potential legal errors made during the trial, and your attorney will advise you on the merits of pursuing this option.

Statute of Limitations in Arizona

The law in Arizona says you have to file a lawsuit within a certain time after an accident. For personal injury cases, like car accidents, you usually have two years from when the accident happened. If you wait too long, you might not be able to get compensation. This deadline is really important for a few reasons:

Preservation of Your Rights

Failing to file your claims within the prescribed time frame may result in a forfeiture of your right to seek fair compensation. The court will likely dismiss your case if it’s filed after the statute of limitations has expired.

Collection of Evidence

Initiating legal proceedings early allows for more effective evidence collection, such as witness statements, accident reports, and medical records, while the details remain fresh.

Negotiating Power

Knowledge of the statute of limitations can also affect negotiations with insurance companies and the opposing party. It can put pressure on them to resolve the matter promptly.

Common Defenses in Car Accident Lawsuits

Car accident lawsuits often involve various defense strategies employed by the defendant. Understanding these defenses is crucial when facing a lawsuit. Defendants in car accident lawsuits may use several common defenses, including:

  • Comparative negligence
  • No causation
  • Failure to mitigate damages
  • Pre-existing injuries

Your attorney’s role is to counter these defenses effectively. This includes collecting evidence, securing witness statements, and presenting expert testimony to show liability and the extent of your damages.

Understanding these defenses and how to address them is critical for achieving a favorable outcome in your car accident lawsuit.

It’s important to understand that you have rights if a lawsuit has been filed against you after a car accident in Arizona. Because of the state’s pure comparative negligence system discussed above, determining liability for damages is often far from clear. Having experienced legal assistance on your side will be important to making sure your interests are represented.

Call Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers at (602) 595-5559 or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve clients in Phoenix, AZ and Albuquerque, NM.