Every hour, an automobile accident occurs. Most incidents result in an injury to someone, and these injuries can be very serious.
If you’ve ever experienced an auto accident, you’ll understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be.
If you were injured as a passenger in a car crash, you might be worried about whether you can make a successful claim against the driver who caused the collision.
But you should know that you’re not suing him or her personally. Instead, you’re just trying to protect your right to compensation for any injuries you sustained.
At these times, having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to handle your injury claims is essential.
What You Need to Know About Arizona Car Accident Laws
According to the Arizona Statute Section 12-542, anyone who suffers a personal injury in a car accident must file a claim within two years.
If you don’t sue within two years, the court assumes you’ve given up any rights to pursue damages. You’ll need to show that you were unaware of your legal rights and had not suspected anyone else was responsible for causing your injury.
Another relevant section is the ARS Section 12-250, Arizona’s comparative negligence law.
According to this law, individuals hurt in an auto accident may file a claim for damages even if they contributed to the collision.
In other words, depending on how much blame each driver bears, you can file a lawsuit against both the driver of the vehicle you are in and the driver of the other car.
Drivers and passengers both need to understand the importance of their interaction with one another. Unfortunately, automobile insurance companies forbid families/householders from suing one another to prevent fraud.
Instead, you must contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after a car crash to establish your rights and responsibilities.
Arizona Is a “Fault” Car Accident State
Even if they don’t have insurance, drivers in Arizona are nonetheless liable for injuries caused by vehicle accidents. This means that any damage you receive is financially the responsibility of the driver who caused the car collision.
Therefore, identifying the party at fault for the incident is the first stage in making a claim.
Liability is frequently obvious in situations involving a single car, and the driver is to blame. However, the case could be more challenging if other drivers were engaged in the collision.
To work out who is at fault, the insurance companies will launch an investigation. In Arizona, numerous parties may be at fault under the comparative fault system. However, they are each accountable for the extent of their wrongdoing.
For instance, one driver might be determined to be at fault for 80% of the accident while the other is only 20% at fault.
In this case, the insurance company for the first driver would be in charge of paying for 80% of the losses, while the insurance company for the second motorist would be in the order of paying for 20% of the damages.
Suppose you’re hurt because of the negligence of another driver. In that case, you might be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, bodily injury, lost wages, medical treatment expenses, and other costs associated with your injury.
As an injured passenger, you might be able to sue the owner of the vehicle that hit you, regardless of whether or not he or she had insurance.
A judge will decide whether or not the driver was negligent and what amount of damages you are entitled to.
The chance to recover the most money possible for your claim and protect your legal rights can be improved by working with an expert attorney in these situations.
You’re a Passenger Injured in a Crash? Here’s What You Need to Know
You need to file a claim within one year. You can lose certain privileges if you don’t file within one year.
For instance, you cannot file a lawsuit for punitive damages, pain, suffering, lost pay, or medical costs. You also cannot recover attorney fees unless you win your case.
Insurance companies often make settlements without consulting a lawyer. It makes sense because they realize that few people would be willing to go through the hassle of taking them to trial.
This makes it possible for the insurance company to avoid litigation altogether.
Unfortunately, victims do not benefit greatly from this tactic.
Insurance providers will work to resolve your claim as rapidly as possible. But if you accept an offer from an insurer before a trial, you might give up important rights.
For example, if you accept an early payout, you could lose the ability to collect punitive damages. You also have the option to give up the entitlement to future medical expense reimbursement.
Even if you decline an early settlement offer, you should discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. A skilled lawyer can protect your rights while negotiating a fair settlement.
And Here’s What You Need to Do
After a car accident, it is important to know how insurance works and how to file claims. If you are involved in a car accident, these things are important to know:
The actions you take in the days and weeks following a car accident may be essential to obtaining the best outcome for any injury claim resulting from a car accident.
- Get prompt medical care and gather the right evidence. According to Nolo, a professional network of legal resources, you can do some crucial things at the scene of an accident.
- Document everything, including all details on how your injuries impact your life.
- Find a lawyer to support you. This can make a big difference in the outcome of your claim.
Do I Have Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
Passengers are often unaware of the legal rights they possess after being involved in a car accident. As a result, they might think they do not qualify for personal injury protection benefits because they are not drivings.
However, it is important to understand the law and how you could be compensated for injuries sustained during a car accident.
In most states, passengers are considered third parties under the law. As a result, they are liable for paying for damages resulting in death, pain and suffering, lost wages, and even medical costs.
Make sure you are aware of your rights if you are hurt as a passenger in a car.
A passenger injured due to another driver’s negligence can file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
In some cases, however, the driver may not pay compensation. Therefore, passengers may be able to collect money from insurance companies.
Only a personal injury attorney can help you determine accurately whether you have grounds for a claim.
What to Know about Filing a Passenger Injury Claim
If you suffer injuries in a car accident as a passenger, your next move will likely be very similar to the driver’s.
To fully document the incident, you’ll collaborate with the police and the insurance companies, and one or both drivers may be held accountable.
The driver’s insurance will be responsible for paying for any medical care or damages from the accident.
The law requires you to file a claim within sixty days of the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, you do not have to file a claim if you are under eighteen years old.
Also, if you are a minor, you cannot sign a release form without the permission of your parents or guardian.
In addition, you cannot file a claim if you are incapacitated due to mental illness or mental deficiency.
Once you have filed your claim, you must provide proof of the injuries you sustained. You may need to see a doctor or go to physical therapy. They will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
When you receive payment, you must pay your lawyer his or her fee.
You will need an experienced personal injury lawyer, as they understand insurance companies and how to best negotiate with your interests as a priority.
Can I Be Denied Payment?
Some situations where passengers may be refused reimbursement for medical care due to an automobile accident.
This can happen even if the passenger would normally be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages:
If it can be demonstrated that a passenger knew they were putting themselves in danger inside the car—a practice known as “assumption of risk”—the insurance company may refuse to pay the claim.
In situations like choosing to drive with a drunk driver, failing to buckle your seatbelt, or wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, an insurance company may refuse payment because you assumed the risk.
Additionally, if the passenger is a family member of the at-fault driver and resides with them, the driver’s insurer may refuse to pay. This is because the same policy would cover the passenger.
Injured in a Car Accident?
You have legal rights as a passenger in a car accident, but the process toward compensation can be both complex and bewildering.
Don’t try to navigate all these factors alone. For example, if you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident as a passenger, contact the experienced Arizona car accident lawyers at Wade & Nysather AZ Accident Attorneys for a No Cost No, Obligation Legal Strategy Session. Don’t wait. You can contact us right away if you believe you have a claim for damages for injuries sustained while being a passenger in a car.