We know you have questions. We have your answers.
If you are facing a legal issue, whether it is a custody battle, DUI, criminal charge, injury or trial matter you probably have some questions. View our frequently asked questions below to find the information you are looking for.
*These responses cover most but not every scenario. If you have additional questions or want to discuss your individual case, feel free to contact Curry, Pearson & Wooten P.L.C. We are here to help you.
- Page 1
One of my friends recently fell out of a golf cart in Old Town Scottsdale and suffered minor injuries—who is responsible for her medical bills?
On any given night—and especially on weekends and during big events—you will see pedicabs and golf carts shuttling merrymakers and tourists from place to place. Drivers typically operate for tips only, driving patrons from bar to bar or even home, so these fun substitutes for taxis have become a popular DUI deterrent in places like Old Town Scottsdale, Glendale, and Tempe.
While pedicabs have only recently been regulated throughout the Valley, golf carts for hire have always been held to certain standards in order to be street legal. These regulations include mandated lights, front seat belts, regular MVD inspections, and liability insurance. Golf carts are also prohibited from driving down roads with posted speed limits over 35 mph. Drivers are not able to load the golf cart over capacity, and must comply with all traffic rules.
Of course, while accidents involving these golf carts are rare, they do occur. It is not unusual to see a cart stuffed beyond capacity, with people standing or sitting on other passengers’ laps as they shuttle around town. Many carts may bend the rules of the road a bit to avoid being caught in a tangle of cars and taxis, and while local police are in charge of enforcing the rules governing these carts, it can be difficult to stay on top of every cart that is operating.
When accidents like your friend’s occur, it is most likely that the company or individual that owns the cart will cover medical costs through their own liability insurance. Your friend will submit a claim to the golf cart operator’s insurance company, and with the insurance companies of any other negligent drivers that may have been involved in her accident. For more information, feel free to contact our firm by filling out our online contact form or by calling our downtown Phoenix office.
If I am ever involved in an accident on my bicycle, how will the insurance company handle it?
Accidents and near-misses involving bicycles in the Valley are becoming fairly common occurrences as more people turn to two-wheeled transportation to get them from place to place. Especially in cities like Tempe, which is home to tens of thousands of students, there has been a concerted effort to make the streets bike-friendly, which typically means adding bike lanes. While this has made biking more appealing to many, increased numbers of bicycles on the road has also led to more accidents.
After you are injured on a bicycle, the circumstances of your accident will determine how damages will be paid. One of the more common scenarios in a car/bike accident is that the driver of the car will be found primarily at fault. In this situation, just as in a car accident, the driver’s auto insurance should pay your medical bills and other damages.
In the matter of a hit-and-run or uninsured driver, your own auto insurance may cover your damages under its uninsured/underinsured coverage, even though you were not driving a vehicle at the time.
In an accident on your bicycle that was your own fault, your own injuries will need to be covered by your own health insurance. As far as damage to the other driver’s car, you will need to check your homeowner or renter’s insurance along with your auto insurance to see if there is coverage included for accidents you cause with your own property.
Bicycle accidents can be tricky as far as insurance goes, but unless you have waived your policy down to the bare minimum, there is likely a small amount set aside—albeit with a decent-sized deductible—to cover damages incurred in bicycle accidents in which you are at fault.
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident on your bicycle and another driver was to blame, you deserve compensation for your injuries. To ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your claim, contact the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today.
Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company after an accident?
As personal injury attorneys, we often find ourselves advising potential clients to be very wary of insurance companies. The truth is, most insurance companies are not “bad guys,” per se, but their job is to ensure that they do not overpay you for your claim. This means that they will be doing their research on your case, and if you hand over the wrong information, it could spell the end for your case.
The first thing the other insurance company will do is try to get you to make a recorded statement for their records. While this is fairly standard practice, if your accident involved an injury or significant property damages, it may be best to consult with an attorney beforehand. Many people will often reflexively admit that they were driving a few miles over the speed limit or were momentarily distracted, which the insurance company can then use to increase your liability in the case.
Another common thing for insurance adjusters to request is that you either send copies of your medical records. While you will eventually need to show the records associated with your accident, many times they may have you sign a medical release form that will give them access to your entire medical history—which could allow them to find preexisting conditions or previous injuries that they could link to your current injuries.
These two examples are not anything sneaky or underhanded that insurance companies try to trick you with—they are simply standard requests that can often damage your case. If your accident resulted in injuries, hiring a personal injury attorney can help ensure that you do not hurt your ability to collect full damages. For more information, contact the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today.
How do the insurance companies assign a value to my injuries?
If you have ever been in an accident, you know how frustrating it can be to go back and forth with the insurance companies and their adjusters over your damages. In minor accidents that only involve property damage, the process typically involves your repair bills being forwarded to the insurance company. The auto body shop charges for labor and parts, and that is what is covered. You may have a slight out-of-pocket expense, but these cases are usually straightforward.
When injuries are factored into an accident, the claims process becomes much more complicated. With injuries to people, the process is not as simple as a damaged car—there is no set market price for repairing a broken femur. Remember, with a personal injury claim, the following damages are considered:
- Medical expenses
- Property Damage
- Lost income related to injuries
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering
Of that list, property damages and medical expenses are the only damages that may have clear monetary value. For other damages, the insurance company has specific equations to get a “ball park” of what a reasonable settlement should be. Typically, the adjust will add up all medical expenses, and depending on the severity of the injuries, multiply that figure as much as 10 times. This is how “pain and suffering” and other non-economic damages can be estimated.
After reaching a figure, lost wages and future potential earnings are also calculated and added to the amount. After a final amount is determined, adjustments will be made to accommodate for any comparative negligence on your behalf. Arizona practices pure comparative negligence, meaning that if you were 25% at fault for your accident, you will only receive 75% of the amount the insurance company agrees on.
In order to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, it always helps to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side—contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can strengthen your case.
Can I still receive compensation for my injuries after an accident if I was partially at fault?
While personal injury law typically talks about accidents being someone else’s fault entirely, in reality, many accidents are caused by a number of factors. Maybe one driver was going a bit too fast, and another driver turned left when they should have stayed put—crash! While the accident was mostly the fault of the left turner, the speed racer would have either lessened the impact or avoided it altogether if he or she was going the speed limit.
In this situation, how would damages pay out? Both drivers played a part in the accident, so it hardly makes sense to award the full amount to either one.
Arizona’s Pure Comparative Negligence Laws Say YES, You Can Receive Compensation
Arizona is one of the few states in the country that follows the pure comparative negligence system. This means that a judge will assign a percentage of the fault to each party involved in an accident, and the damages will be awarded according to the percentage of fault. In the above situation, let’s say that it was determined that the speeder was 30% responsible for the accident, while the left turner was 70%. A judge rules that the damages total $100,000, so the speeder will receive $70,000 in damages.
Most states follow modified comparative negligence laws have rules that say if you contributed more than 49% or 50% to your accident (12 states have a 50% cap and 21 states follow a 51% cap) you cannot collect damages, otherwise damages are awarded similarly. Only a small handful of states practice what is called contributory negligence law, which does not allow an injured party to collect damages if they contributed to the accident in any way.
If you were injured in an accident and were partially at fault, a personal injury attorney can help ensure that you are awarded a fair amount. For more information, feel free to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
What damages can I recover after my Phoenix car accident?
After an auto accident, your life takes a sharp 180 degree turn. Suddenly, every day becomes dedicated to making a recovery from your injuries, repairing property damage, and paying medical bills. If your injury takes you out of work for a time, you may also begin feeling the effects of lost wages, which only makes everything more difficult.
Fortunately, Arizona’s legal system allows you to collect damages for your injuries even if you were partially to blame for your accident. Damages in personal injury cases like yours are typically broken into two categories, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory Damages After an Arizona Auto Accident
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for what the accident has cost you, both financially and otherwise. Most commonly, people will recover compensatory damages to cover their medical bills and car repairs, but damages can be recovered for nearly everything that a monetary value can be attached to, including:
- Medical Bills that you have already incurred as well as the projected cost of future medical treatment for your injuries.
- Property damage repair and replacement costs.
- Lost wages from work that you missed or will miss, as well as any money you could have made in the future had you not been injured.
- Pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress such as PTSD, can be difficult to assign a specific monetary value, but you can be compensated for enduring pain and psychological effects of the accident.
Punitive Damages After a Car Wreck
Unlike compensatory damages that are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party. Though not as common in car accident injury claims, if the defendant’s actions were intentional or exceedingly reckless, punitive damages may be pursued. These damages have a “make them pay” intent to them, in order to deter the defendant—as well as anyone else—from acting in such a manner.
If you are looking to secure more than just the bare minimum compensation for your injuries, hiring an attorney can help you ensure that your case is presented in the best possible manner. The Arizona personal injury attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten can help you get the compensation that you deserve—just call today at 602-258-1000 to schedule a free consultation.
Why is the insurance company so reluctant to accept my claim after my whiplash injury in Phoenix?
Whiplash is a tricky injury to deal with after a car accident, which is ironic since it is an extraordinarily common injury. Typically caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration of your head when a car is impacted from the side or rear, most people walk away from an accident without even knowing that they are injured.
Here is where a whiplash injury gets complicated. Because it is not immediately apparent, many people go days or even weeks before the pain gets bad enough to seek help. As is the case with most injury claims, the more time that passes between an accident and a claim, the more suspicious the insurance company gets.
One would think that since insurance companies handle seemingly endless whiplash claims that it would be a fairly easy claim to make. The problem is that it is also one of the most common injuries cited in fraudulent claims. This, along with the standard lapse of time between the accident and the claim, can put insurers on edge when they get a claim for a whiplash injury.
This does not mean that you are out of luck should you have a whiplash injury. One of the best things to do is see a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms. This establishes a paper trail that links your injury to your accident, and it also puts you on the mend as soon as possible. When it comes to Arizona auto accident injuries, your health comes first, and being proactive about your claim is a close second.
If you have suffered from a whiplash injury in a Phoenix car accident, our Phoenix personal injury attorneys can help you get the care you need and the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 602-258-1000 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
What is discovery?
Discovery allows both parties to "discover" information in the case. The purpose is to eliminate surprises. In Arizona state cases, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure Rules 26 through 37 list the different discovery instruments and the process that is to be followed.
What are interrogatories?
Written questions by one party to the other party involved in the lawsuit, which are answered under oath. For further information see Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure 33 and 33.1.
What is a deposition?
A formal statement under oath in the presence of a court reporter. The answers in a deposition are verbal. They may be filmed in Arizona. For further information see Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure 27, 30 and 31.