Arizona Car Accident Statistics: Why They Matter

Arizona Car Accident Statistics: Why They Matter
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Chances are if you traveling on Arizona roadways on any given day, you will have been involved in or seen a motor vehicle accident. During 2014, Arizona drivers were involved in nearly 110,000 accidents resulting in more than 700 deaths and more than 34,000 injuries. Even property owners were not spared damage in car accidents; more than 74,000 accidents involved only property damage.

The Causes of Arizona Car Accidents

These statistics are sobering; taking a look at the causes of car accidents will make us all think carefully the next time we get behind the wheel of our cars. While causes of some accidents are not readily known, there are some very high numbers reflecting a driver simply did not obey basic traffic laws. Some of the citations issued after a car accident include:

  • Speeding Violations – Arizona drivers were cited more than 36,000 times for driving too fast for the current road conditions. These accidents may have been avoided had the driver been driving more safely.
  • Right of Way Violations – Arizona drivers were cited more than 14,000 times for failing to yield to other drivers. We have all seen drivers who ignore yield signs; particularly when coming off a major highway.
  • Driving Distracted – Chances are if you have spent any time on Arizona roadways, you have seen drivers who were talking on their cell phones, talking to a passenger in their vehicle or programming their GPS or radio. Distracted driving citations were issued to more than 7,200 drivers in Arizona.

What Car Accident Victims Need to Know

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, all drivers are required to maintain a certain level of insurance. Drivers are required to maintain coverage that provides $15,000 for bodily injury per accident and $10,000 for property damage. However, while these insurance limits may seem sufficient, patients who were admitted after traumas in Arizona during 2011 were facing an average hospital bill of $72,000. This means victims of car accidents are facing serious deficits between what an insurance company will pay, what is owed for medical bills and allows for no compensation for wages that are lost after an automobile accident.

It is also important to keep in mind that since insurance company’s goal is to protect their bottom line, they are probably going to fight to keep the amount they pay towards your claim as low as possible meaning you will be facing even more significant financial losses.

Related Information: What to do after a car accident

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Under Arizona law, in order to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to demonstrate that the other driver was responsible for the accident that caused your injury. Keep in mind, personal injury statutes were designed to hold those who acted in a careless manner accountable for their actions. Additionally, in some cases, both you and the other driver may be partially responsible for the accident; for example, if you were struck by a drunk driver but you were traveling faster than the speed limit, it may be proven you were 10 percent responsible for the accident that caused your injury. In these cases, Arizona laws allow for a reduction of any final award under what is known as “shared” or comparative fault statutes.

In order to file a personal injury lawsuit, your Arizona personal injury attorney will need to obtain specific information from you including:

  • Date and time – The date and time of the accident will help determine what the road conditions were as well as how well-lit the roadway was. Keep in mind, a significant portion of roadway accidents occurred during 3pm and 7pm.
  • Witnesses when available – Drivers who are able to obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident will often find the witness remembers things they may not remember when they are involved in an accident.
  • Police reports – Police reports are generally obtained at the scene of an accident and may help your attorney determine who was at fault, what caused the accident and other information that you may not recall accurately.
  • Medical reports – Regardless of how minor an auto accident is, it is imperative to get medical attention.  Oftentimes, adrenaline rushes will mask symptoms of head and neck or back injuries immediately after an accident. Having a complete medical report will also allow you to determine how much time you may lose from work and give you a more comprehensive idea of the level of treatment necessary to recover after an accident.
Under Arizona laws, victims of an automobile accident must file a personal injury claim within two years. This is true whether you are a victim of an accident or you have lost a loved one in a car accident. More than 700 people lost their lives in car accidents, leaving their families to face the loss of a loved one, unexpected medical bills and burial and funeral costs. In some cases, it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover from these financial losses.

Related Information: Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

The Economic Impact of Auto Accidents

There are always economic losses when someone is involved in an automobile accident. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the average cost per victim is:

  • Accidents involving a fatality $1,530,000
  • Accidents involving injuries causing incapacity $76,398
  • Accidents where no injury was incapacitating $24,480
Keep in mind, victims are often facing not only hospitalization but time lost from work, rehabilitation treatments and in some cases permanent injuries.  Families are often not in the position to cover the high cost of treatment, particularly if the victim of a car accident is the primary bread-winner.

Dealing With the Insurance Predicament

Most of us have a reasonable expectation that if a driver who causes an accident is insured, the insurance company will deal with us fairly. However, this is not always the case. Keep in mind, if your expenses after an accident exceed the amount of insurance coverage, you could still be facing significant losses even if the insurance company did not fight your claim. Insurers are going to fight claims simply because they want to protect their bottom line.  The less they pay out in claims, the better their bottom line. Even when an insurer is willing to pay a claim, the potential is they will offer a settlement for far less than your losses leaving you to pick up the difference.

Whenever you get in your car, there is always a chance you could be involved in an accident. When accidents occur, and someone else is responsible for you being injured or losing a loved one, they must be held accountable for their actions; you should not have to suffer under the financial burden that is created by their negligence. You have rights when you are injured and it is up to you to ensure those rights are protected.

Related Information: Car Insurance Claims

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About the author

Thomas Richardson

Tommy Richardson, owner and president of the AV-Rated law firm of Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers in Phoenix, focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Since 2009, Tommy has sat on the Board of Governors for Arizona Trial Lawyers and in 2011 was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer and confirmed by the Arizona Senate to the Maricopa Judicial Selection Committee. Tommy represents plaintiffs in trial work in Maricopa, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Mohave, Yuma, Apache, Gila, Cochise, La Paz, Coconino and Navajo counties. Tommy is the co-chair of the seminar committee for the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers and is involved in the American Association for Justice and American Trial Lawyers.