Frequently Asked Questions: Arizona Auto Accidents
Below are common questions about your rights after a car accident, and what you can expect while going through the claims process. If you have any concerns, and believe your right to fair compensation is in jeopardy, contact Phillips Law Group for a free consultation.
Should I seek medical attention after my car accident?
It is important to seek immediate medical attention following a car accident. Our bodies process shock differently, and some injuries or complications may not surface right away. A doctor’s visit gets you urgent treatment and serves as documentation for your claim.
If I need medical attention after a car accident, will I need to use my health insurance up-front?
Your health is of the upmost importance after a car accident. If you need immediate treatment, the services will be covered by your health insurance. In most cases, after filing a claim, you may be entitled to reimbursement by another party if they are found to be at-fault for the accident.
How much evidence should I gather before filing a car accident claim?
Collect as much evidence from the scene as possible. Photographs of your injuries, property damage and the accident scene (even skid marks) can help our Phoenix personal injury lawyers build a case. Don’t forget to exchange information with other parties involved, request police reports and hospital records, and contact your insurance company to begin the claims process quickly.
What compensation am I entitled to if I’m not at-fault for the accident?
There are various ways damages are assessed after an accident. Every case is different, but typically, you’ll be able to recover monetary losses. For instance, if the auto accident is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Towing, storage, etc.
Who pays for my damages if the at-fault driver is uninsured?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you may be able to recover compensation through your insurance or a third party, like the other driver’s employer — if they were “on the clock” at the time of the accident. Claiming damages after an auto accident can be a complex process. Know your rights. In Arizona, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
What if the at-fault driver is insured, but lacks enough coverage to take care of all my damages?
You may have to turn to your own insurance company for compensation. Some policies offer “underinsured motorist coverage” in situations where an at-fault driver does not have liability insurance. This type of coverage is also used in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
What should I do if the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants a statement?
The information you choose to divulge to the other driver, or their insurance company, may be used against you. After all, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is trying to protect its client’s rights. If you provide a statement, it could be misinterpreted later in the claims process, and you may miss out on compensation.
Is it okay to give the at-fault driver’s insurance company a medical authorization?
A medical authorization allows the at-fault driver’s insurance company to access your health records, which may be used against you in drafting a settlement. Before you disclose privileged and confidential information that could potentially affect your claim, speak to a personal injury lawyer about the best way to document your case.
What should I do if the at-fault driver or their insurance company offers me a check?
Do not accept payment, or a sign a release, until you’ve been cleared by your doctor. By accepting the check, it may appear you’re settling the case. Insurance companies use many tactics to settle cheap and fast. If your personal injuries require more treatment, you may lose the opportunity to get fair compensation.
How long should I wait to settle my case?
You should not settle a case until you’ve been cleared by a medical professional and completed your treatment. Some personal injuries require additional treatment. If you settle too quickly, you may not be eligible for additional reimbursements. If you feel pressured to settle, talk to our car accident attorneys in Phoenix about your case at no-cost.
Is a rental car automatically covered after a car accident?
If someone else caused the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance is required to cover the rental car costs. If you’re at-fault, coverage may be available through your insurance. It’s important to contact your insurance company to see what kind of rental car coverage you have in the event of an accident.
Should I pay for extra insurance on the rental car?
Typically, your insurance carrier will cover you while driving a rental car. It may not be necessary to purchase additional coverage. Check with your insurance company first, since they don’t typically reimburse you for extra coverage.
Who else is allowed to drive the rental car?
Normally, the rental car agreement only covers one driver. You may have to pay extra to cover other family members.
Should I rent a car from a specific company?
Insurance companies and rental car companies work together in accident cases. Ask your adjuster about local partnerships because a discount may be involved. If you have to pay the rental fee upfront, you will be reimbursed later.
Can I choose my own repair shop?
Yes. The insurance company will work with the repair shop of your choice.
How will my insurance company know which damages were caused by the auto accident?
Insurance companies send out adjusters to look at the damage to your vehicle and assess the cost of repairs. Mechanics at body shops will make their own assessment and can help figure out if the damage or mechanical malfunctions are connected to the accident.
Can I request original manufacturer parts for my repairs?
You have a right to ask the mechanic to order original manufacturer parts. In some cases, if the car is not new, a mechanic might use refurbished or reconditioned parts.
Why was my car deemed a total loss?
The insurance company will deem a car a total loss if it costs more to repair than replace it. The insurance company has 30 days to process your claim and determine your vehicle’s market value.
Who pays for towing and storage costs?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for towing and storage as the vehicle’s value is assessed. If you plan to keep the vehicle, you will have to pay to have it towed to your home or other desired location.
How is the value of my car calculated?
If your car is deemed a total loss, the insurance company must give you market value for your vehicle. Adjusters use Kelley Blue Book or similar vehicle valuation companies to figure out how much the car was worth before the accident. You can dispute the offer by sending documented proof to the insurance adjuster.
Can I be reimbursed for recent vehicle repairs?
Most repair costs are hard to recover, but if you’ve recently replaced your car’s tires, transmission or engine, give your adjust the receipts for the work completed. It doesn’t guarantee a refund but it may help add value to your car.
What is "salvage value?”
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.
Are there any other damages I can expect the insurance company to pay?
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:
- About 7 to 8 percent 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
Why should I call Phillips Law Group after may auto accident in Arizona?
Phillips Law Group is one of Arizona's largest consumer law firms, representing personal injury victims for more than two decades. We handle all types of negligence claims, including car accidents, and are comfortable working on medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, many car insurance claims are denied with reasons varying from:
- Accident was avoidable
- Accident was not reported in time
- There was a delay in medical treatment
- Driver was excluded from the insurance policy
Don’t get caught up in a nightmare. If you’re involved in an accident, gather as much information as possible in order to avoid a claims dispute. If you need to file a lawsuit, our Phoenix accident lawyers will help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to under law.
Call 1-800-706-3000 for a free consultation today.