Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Every personal injury claim is different, and the outcome is dependent on the facts of the particular case.  In general, in order to prevail on a personal injury claim, you must prove (1) that another person was negligent, (2) that you were injured as a result of the other person’s negligence, (3) that your medical treatment was reasonable and necessary to address your injuries, and (4) that your medical bills were reasonable and customary within the community.

The decision to retain an attorney in a personal injury case is entirely up to you.  The circumstances of each accident, and the individuals involved in the accident, are always different.  Remember, you can always call Wade & Nysather for a free initial consultation and evaluation of your case, so you can make an informed decision as to whether you would like the assistance of a personal injury attorney.

Generally, a personal injury attorney can assist you with all aspects of your personal injury case.  The attorney will also handle all communications with the opposing insurance company.  A personal injury attorney will also obtain your accident-related medical records and bills, present a settlement demand to the insurance company, attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, and take the matter into litigation if a settlement is not possible.  Moreover, once a settlement is reached, and/or a judgment is paid, a personal injury attorney will make sure that all valid liens are paid from the settlement.

The settlement process, and the time it takes a case to settle, depends on the facts of each particular case.  Factors such as the nature and extent of your accident injuries, the type of medical treatment you require for your injuries, and the amount of time it takes to recover from your injuries are just some of the factors that impact the settlement process.  Generally, a settlement demand is presented to the insurance company once the accident victim is finished with his or her medical treatment and/or he or she is in a position to know what type of treatment will be required in the future.
The type and amount of compensation are dependent on the facts of each particular case. Generally, in a personal injury case, you are entitled to compensation for the following elements of damages that have resulted from the fault of another person:
  1. The nature, extent, and duration of the injuries.
  2. The pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future, as a result of the injuries.
  3. Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future.
  4. Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future.
  5. Lost earnings to date, and any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future.
  6. Loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the marital and parent/child relationship.
  7. Loss of enjoyment of life.

Generally speaking, we encourage anyone who has been injured in an accident to consult with a personal injury attorney before speaking with the insurance company. We offer free initial consultations. Remember, the insurance company for the negligent party will attempt to get you to settle your case for as little as possible. The insurance company is not on your side.

At Wade and Nysather, we offer free initial consultation and case evaluations.  Also, in most circumstances, we offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis.  This means that you will not have any up-front legal fees.  To learn more, please call us for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Every case is different, and the value of a case depends on a multitude of factors.  Generally, a personal injury attorney will not be able to provide you with an estimate regarding the case value until the attorney has all the facts, including the circumstances surrounding the accident, the nature and extent of the client’s injuries, the cost of the required medical treatment, and the duration of the client’s injuries.
If you are injured in a hit and run accident, you still may be able to be compensated through your own insurance through your uninsured motorist coverage.  We strongly encourage everyone to speak with their insurance agent to make sure they have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and to make sure the limits of these coverages are appropriate for your circumstances.
Generally, if you have been involved in an accident, you should call the police to document the accident and to make sure you get the other parties’ contact and insurance information.  If you believe you have been injured in an accident, you should seek immediate and appropriate medical attention.

Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. Equally stressful can be the decision as to whether to hire a lawyer or not. If the incident isminor or there are no injuries, often times you do not need a lawyer.

Since most accident/injury attorneys provide free consultation, it would make sense to contact anattorney immediately after the accident to discuss your options. An attorney who deals only inpersonal injury has the experience to communicate with other parties involved (adverse insurance company, police, witnesses) and ensure that you take the appropriate action in your best interest. It is important to know the statutory deadlines as many claims have limited amount of time to file.

Wade & Nysather is an established firm serving Arizona for over 25 years and focuses exclusively on accident cases. You can call anytime for a free consultation.

Yes. It is important to seek immediate medical attention following an accident.  Even if you are unsure whether or not you are hurt as a precaution, it makes sense to be seen by a medical professional.  It is advisable to be as specific as possible when explaining to your doctor symptoms and any pain or discomfort you are experiencing. Some injury symptoms may not appear for hours, or even a few days following an accident. If you delay seeking treatment, insurance companies may argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident and may deny payment of your claim.

If you do not have health insurance, our office will assist you in finding a medical provider who will work on a “lien basis”, meaning they will wait for payment until your case is settled.

What is a Medical Lien?

You may receive a “Notice of Health Care Lien” in the mail from a hospital or medical provider putting you (and the adverse insurance company) on notice that the provider has an outstanding claim on your case.  Arizona law permits the filing of such liens, however, not all liens are valid or need to be paid in full.  The lien only relates to your accident claim and is not attachable to your home or assets and will not affect your credit.

Wade & Nysather will validate whether the lien is valid.  If valid, we will seek a reduction of the lien balance to reasonable and customary charges allowed under Arizona law which ultimately puts more money in our client’s pockets.   

If the accident is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to collect for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages (past & future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property Damage
    • Vehicle repair
    • Total loss of vehicle (fair market value)
    • Towing, storage, etc.
    • Diminished value

A variety of factors go into determining how long it takes for your injury case to settle such as the type of injuries you sustained in addition to the the duration of your treatment.  Most cases will settle within a month or two after your medical care is complete.  This timeframe may be extended if the case involves liability issues, permanent impairment, and calculation of future damages.

At Wade & Nysather, our goal is to do everything we can to obtain the maximum compensation possible in the shortest amount of time.

The information you choose to divulge to the other driver, or their insurance company, may be used against you.  Obviously, the adverse insurance company is interested in protecting their insured’s best interests as well as the profitability of their company.   If you provide a statement, it may be misinterpreted by a claims adjuster and used against you in the handling of your claim. 

Insurance companies are in the business of making money.  In order to be profitable, they have to collect more money in premiums than they pay out in claims.  Some of the most common tactics to avoid paying value on your claim are:

  • Offering you a fast settlement. In every case, these quick settlement offers will be for compensation far below the value of your case.  Beware, in Arizona, verbal settlements may be considered enforceable.
  • Asking you to sign open ended medical authorizations. By signing the insurance companies’ authorization, you are in many cases allowing them to dig years back into your medical history which they may later use against you, even if unrelated to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
  • Refusing to pay medical bills. Often, insurance companies will claim that certain medical expenses are not reasonable or not related to the accident.  Their refusal to pay these bills may lead to you being stuck paying medical expense for an accident that was not your fault.

In some cases, not all, a health insurance carrier may have the right to be reimbursed if you receive settlement monies from an adverse insurance carrier.  Many health insurance carriers will claim they have the right to be reimbursed when in fact they do not.  To be certain, you should reference your health insurance benefits plan to determine whether the health insurer has the right to be reimbursed. 

At Wade & Nysather we will review your health insurance plan and supporting documents to determine whether the carrier has the right to be reimbursed.  If they are legally able to seek reimbursement, we will seek the maximum reduction possible ensuring more money from the settlement goes to you.

The law in Arizona requires that an individual mitigates his or her damages meaning that you must take all reasonable steps to keep the financial costs associated with your accident reasonable under the circumstances. For example, if you have insurance that can deal with property damage, you must use it.  If you able to safely driver your vehicle without renting a car, you must do so.  If you do not mitigate your damages, the insurance company may refuse to pay amounts in excess of what they consider reasonable and customary expenses.   

In Arizona, a claimant is entitled to the Fair Market Value (“FMV”), which is the equivalent of Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) of your vehicle if it is deemed a total loss. Arizona law does not allow you to be compensated for the replacement value and is not required to purchase you a new or similar car.  The FMV is based on similar vehicles sold or available for sale in your area, approximately a 50–100-mile radius from your home zip code. A good place to start is and look up the year, make, model, mileage, condition, and all upgrades to get the current value (not the original cost). You may also use any other advertised source for car sales. This will give you a good idea of the price at which similar or comparable vehicles are being sold. At the end of the comparable listing, you will see a link to the NADA Guides, or you can go directly there through and put in all of the information for your vehicle, including mileage and accessories, and it ordinarily provides a fairly accurate value.

Wade & Nysather has years of experience negotiating vehicle valuations with insurance carriers.  Our firm works hand in hand with the best vehicle appraisers in Arizona.   Our property damage assistance is always free to our clients.

No.  In Arizona, the law provides that an insurance company may not increase your premiums for an accident that is not caused or significantly contributed to by you and provides a penalty to the insurer if it does so. (A.R.S. Section 20-263.) An error is occasionally made by an insurer, and if you believe this has occurred, please let us know and we will assist you in having it corrected. This consumer protection applies only to your current insurance company, and if you change companies, the new insurer can set your rates including prior claims information, even if you were not at fault.

Yes.  If someone else caused the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance is required to cover the rental car costs.  If you are at fault, coverage may be available thru your insurance.  If you have rental coverage on your vehicle, your insurance company should offer you a rental car as soon as they are notified of the accident. Your insurance company will pay for the rental car in one of two ways. The first is that the insurance company has a direct bill set up with the rental car agency. The rental car agency will submit the bill to the insurance company and the insurer will pay it for up to 30 days (depending on the policy). In most cases, the rental agency will require a credit card on file to cover charges that are not covered by the insurance company, such as gas or damages to the rental vehicle. The second way the insurance company will pay for the rental car is through reimbursement. If this is how the insurance company chooses to handle it, you will pay the rental car company and the insurance company will then reimburse you.

The insurance carrier will usually cover you while driving a rental car.  It may not be necessary to purchase additional coverage.  It is a good idea to check with your insurance company first since they do not typically reimburse you for the extra coverage.

Yes.  The insurance company will work with the repair shop of your choice.  The adverse insurance carrier might request you use one of their “preferred shops” however, it is ultimately your choice where to have the car repaired.

You have the right to ask the repair shop to order original manufacturer parts.  In some cases, if the car is not new, a mechanic might use refurbished or reconditioned parts.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay the towing and storage as the vehicle’s value is assessed.  If you plant to keep the vehicle, you may have to pay to have it towed to your home or other desired location. 

Most repair costs are hard to recover, but if you recently replaced your car’s tires, transmission or engine, the receipts can be given to the insurance company adjuster help add value back into the total loss valuation of the vehicle. 

Salvage value is the estimated value of the vehicle damaged in the car accident.  If you wish to keep the wrecked car, you may purchase it back from the insurance company for its salvage value.  The adjuster can deduct the salvage value from the settlement, and you can keep the car.

Nearly all vehicles involved in an accident will permanently diminish in value, even if repaired properly.  Diminished value (“DV”) happens when a vehicle is an accident suffers physical damage structurally, cosmetically, or both.  Even if the car has been repaired properly and looks the same as is did, it is still worth less money than it was before the accident.  The loss in value becomes apparent when an individual attempts to sell it.  Most states require disclosure of motor vehicle accidents, and most car buyers prefer to purchase a vehicle that has not previously been in an accident.  Diminished value is not something most adverse insurance companies will make you aware of or want to pay.   

Yes.  If a car accident results in a total loss, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the prorated amount of these costs that are unused.  The insurance company should reimburse you for:

  • Approximately 7-8% tax on the actual cash value of the car
  • The cost of the tag transfer fee.
  • The prorated amount of your yearly car tax and registration fees.

Our clients are not responsible for attorney fees until we recover money on their behalf.  Once a case settles, our fees are simply deducted from the settlement amount.  We believe that every client deserves strong representation regardless of their financial circumstances.  By basing attorney fees on a percentage of money recovered, we are able to offer every client with a valid claim, the very best representation possible

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