Knowing Your Rights After a Car Accident
"If I've been injured in a car accident, do I have the right to sue?"
At Friedl Richardson, we get asked this question a lot. The simple answer to that question is yes. Because the state of Arizona operates by tort when it comes to auto insurance, rather than "no-fault" insurance, those involved in car accidents do have the right to file a lawsuit to collect financial compensation after an accident. While this right is available, legal grounds for filing a lawsuit may not be present in everyone's case.
First, fault must be determined. All drivers involved in the car accident will file a claim with their own insurance company, unless of an uninsured motorist. In this stage of the process, you will give details about the accident to your insurance company. This will include things like how the accident happened, the names of all involved and the other driver's insurance company (provided they are insured). Your case will be assigned an insurance adjuster, who will correspond with the other driver's insurance company. Ultimately, the at-fault party's insurance will be responsible for paying the damage.
This means that accurately determining fault during the claims process is extremely important in auto accident cases. This stage of the process is typically where we see disputes arise. Both insurance companies are trying to pay as little money as possible, so both adjusters will be attempting to shift the blame where they can. If you were involved in a car accident, the other driver's insurance company may be attempting to say you were the one at fault for the accident, or they may be offering you a settlement that is far less than what you deserve. When this type of controversy occurs it is important to have an experienced car accident lawyer representing you.
If you are being treated unfairly by an insurance company, you may need an attorney. Friedl Richardson also represents individuals who were severely injured, or families of those who were killed, because of particularly egregious driving offenses such as drunk or drugged driving. You deserve to be fully compensated for the financial, physical and emotional damage you suffered.
Building a compelling case to prove your sustained damages will help recover funds such as:
- Property damage (cost to repair or replace vehicle)
- Medical expenses (present and future)
- Loss of income (for time taken off of work to recover from your injuries)
- Emotional pain and suffering, and more.