How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
At the Phillips Law Group, we understand the many challenges you may be facing following a personal injury. For this reason, we strive to provide our clients and prospective clients with a stress-free experience in working with our firm. To do this, we provide all prospective clients with:
- Free Consultation – When you contact our firm, we will work with you to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to talk with a member of our intake team about your claim. During your consultation, we will gather details about your accident and injury and attempt to answer any questions you may have. We will provide you with an initial assessment of your claim, which will help us determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation. You will not be charged for your consultation and there is no obligation in speaking with us.
- Contingency Fee Agreement – Our lawyers handle most personal injury cases on contingency, which is often called a “no win, no fee” arrangement. This means our clients do not pay any attorneys’ fees or other costs unless we obtain a verdict or settlement on their behalf. We will only receive payment for handling your case after we get compensation for you. At the conclusion of your case, we will receive a percentage of your total recovery as outlined in the contingency fee agreement you sign upon hiring our firm.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Without reviewing the specific details of your accident and injury, it is impossible to say with certainty whether you have a case or not. This is because every case is unique and the details about who could be at fault for your injury will vary.
In general, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed by individuals who have suffered an injury because of the intentional or negligent acts of another person or entity. Intentional actions are easy to identify, as they include situations where someone intended to cause you harm on purpose. Negligent actions, however, are more complicated to identify.
Negligence occurs when someone acts unreasonably or in a way that someone in a similar situation would not have acted. For example, negligence could include:
- A motorist speeding, running a red light or failing to yield the right of way, causing a car accident.
- A property owner who failed to clean up a slippery floor or fix a broken hand rail, causing a person to slip or trip and fall.
- A medical professional who failed to diagnose an illness or prescribed the wrong medication to a patient, causing him or her harm.
There are many situations that will warrant a personal injury case, and scheduling a free consultation with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer from Phillips Law Group is your best starting point for determining if you have a case.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When deciding if you should handle your personal injury claim on your own or hire an experienced lawyer, there are several things you should consider:
- The insurance company is not on your side. No matter the cause of your accident, you will likely be dealing with an insurance company whose only interest is in paying as little as possible for your claim. Although it is tempting to accept the first settlement offer so you can resolve the issue and move on with your life, it is likely that the first offer will not cover the full costs of your injuries. An attorney will be able to gather the evidence necessary for helping you get compensation for the full value of your claim.
- You need an advocate on your side. When going up against an insurance company or the attorneys for the at-fault party, you need someone who is experienced in handling these types of complex situations. An attorney will ensure you are not taken advantage of and that your interests are represented during negotiations.
- An attorney will not settle for less than you deserve. Insurance companies and defense attorneys can be difficult to work with and may not be willing to pay the compensation you need. Knowing that you have a lawyer on your side who is willing to take a case all the way to court to obtain fair compensation will make the other side more willing to make a more reasonable offer right from the beginning.
There are many important advantages to hiring a lawyer to handle your personal injury claim. To learn more about how we can specifically help with your claim, schedule a free, no obligation consultation today.
When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, the better. There are strict deadlines known as statutes of limitations that state how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline that applies to your case, you will lose your opportunity to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you need.
By hiring a lawyer immediately after suffering an injury, you help ensure there is enough time for the full legal process to play out if needed. Not every injury claim will require a lawsuit, but it is always best to keep that option available in the event the insurance company or at-fault party is not willing to offer fair compensation.
From the moment we take your case, our attorneys will get to work handling the details of your case, including communicating with the insurance company, investigating and building your case, and filing all of the paperwork for a lawsuit, if necessary.
What is My Case Worth?
It is impossible to know the value of your case without carefully reviewing the details of your injuries and the incident that caused them. Depending on these details, it may be possible for you to recover compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Hospital stays
- Medical treatment
- Medical tests like X-rays and MRIs
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In many cases, an injury victim may not be aware of the full range of a recovery that can be made, and in most situations, the insurance company will not take into account all of the ways your injuries affect your life.
Because of this, you should be hesitant to trust the valuation the insurance company provides for your claim. You should instead consult a trusted attorney who will leave no stone unturned in identifying all of the compensation you may be entitled. We are dedicated to doing what is in your best interest and will thoroughly investigate your claim to determine the full and fair value of your claim.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company Settlement?
Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They are only interested in resolving your claim as quickly as possible and for as little as possible. Because of this, you should never rush to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer until you have reviewed all of your legal options.
The insurance company will likely use any tactic it can to pay your claim as soon as possible after your accident. However, this usually means you are still hurting from your injury and do not know the full extent of your damages yet. Some injuries take time to develop and others will require ongoing medical care. It is impossible to know the true value of your claim just a few days or weeks after suffering an injury.
By contacting an attorney before accepting an insurance settlement, you are protecting yourself from accepting a settlement that is too low and does not provide you with the compensation you need to cover the true cost of your injuries now and in the future. You only receive one settlement, and an attorney can help make sure that one settlement covers all of your damages.
How Do I Handle Insurance Adjusters?
Insurance companies are not on your side. When dealing with an insurance adjuster, it is important to know that the adjuster only has his or her best interests in mind, which includes paying as little as possible for your claim. Because of this, the adjuster will do everything he or she can to reduce or even deny your claim.
This includes using your own words against you. If you are asked to provide a written or recorded statement following an accident, it is in your best interest to politely decline until you have spoken with your attorney. These statements could potentially be taken out of context and used against you to reduce the value of your claim. Once a statement has been made, it may not be possible to change it.
Instead of handling the adjuster on your own and risking damaging your claim, you should contact a reputable attorney to handle your claim for you. Our attorneys have decades of experience working with insurance adjusters and are familiar with the many tricks they may use to reduce the value of your claim. We will advise you on what to say to the insurance adjuster and can even handle all communications with the adjuster for you.
Is Arizona State a “One Bite” State or a “Strict Liability” State?
Arizona is known as a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bite claims. That means victims of dog bites or attacks do not need to provide evidence their injuries resulted from the dog owner’s negligence, such as a failure to keep the dog on a leash or put a fence around the house. Victims only need to prove:
- They suffered an injury from the dog bite
- The bite happened while they had a legal right to be on the premises
In a “one bite” state, victims who file injury claims must prove the dog that attacked them had already bit or attacked someone else and the owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous. Victims also need to show the attack resulted from the owner’s negligence.
The Insurance Company Said My Homeowner’s Policy Would Cover Dog Bites, But Now they Will Not Defend Me in Court. What Can I do?
Dog owners often rely on their homeowner’s insurance policies to provide compensation when their pets attack or bite people. Unfortunately, many dog owners have a rude awakening when victims file claims and the insurance company refuses to provide coverage.
Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for the denial of coverage. The owner may have a dog of a breed specifically excluded from coverage because of the perception the breed is dangerous. Examples of breeds perceived to be dangerous include pit bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans.
Sometimes dog owners fail to check if the type of dog they have is excluded from coverage, or they have a brief conversation with a representative from the insurance company who says dog bites are covered without bothering to check the fine print of the owner’s insurance policy.
However, other times dog owners may have no idea what the reason is for denial of coverage, or the insurance company may provide a reason that is unclear. When this happens, it is important to seek qualified legal representation.
The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Group help policyholders who are struggling to obtain coverage from an insurance policy. You can call today to schedule a free legal consultation. 1-800-706-3000
A licensed attorney may be able to represent your interests in court and build a case against the insurance company.
I Repeatedly Told the Neighbor Kids not to Come into My Yard Unless I was There to Make Sure My Dog Wouldn’t Hurt Them. One Child didn’t Listen and Jumped Over My Fence. My Dog Bit Him. Am I Still Liable?
This is a complicated question to answer. Generally, it is very difficult for trespassers to hold a dog owner liable for a dog attack. Trespassers do not have a legal right to be on the property, and that is one of the elements victims must prove to have a valid claim for compensation.
However, if the trespasser is a child, things can be more complicated. Generally, children do not have good judgment about when a situation may be dangerous, compared to adults. Property owners may need to take extra precautions to prevent children from trespassing. Extra precautions might include putting up a fence, for example.
If a property owner repeatedly warned children about staying out of the yard because of the dog, and the owner can prove he or she did this, it may be difficult for the child or his or her parents to hold the owner liable.
However, each situation is unique and involves various factors. It is important to discuss the situation with a licensed attorney.
Can Someone Receive Compensation from a Store Where He or She was Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Victims of slip and fall accidents in stores may be able to pursue compensation for damages from the accident. Generally, slip and fall victims or their attorneys must establish certain things to prove they have a valid case against a property owner, such as the owner of a store:
- The owner knew about the hazard that caused the accident
- The owner did not take reasonable steps to fix the problem or provide a warning to visitors to help prevent them from suffering an injury
The definition of “reasonable steps” depends on many factors, such as the victim’s legal status while he or she was on the property. Patrons of a store are generally considered invitees, and property owners have a duty to use reasonable care to inspect and maintain their property on a regular basis, so it is safe for visitors.
Retail stores often have insurance policies that pay for damages from accidents. It is important for victims to notify the store owner or manager about their accident so a report can be filed, and the insurance company can be notified.
Is the Fact that Someone Warned an Employee of a Store about a Spill Important in Proving a Slip and Fall Case Resulting from an Accident Caused by the Spill?
Yes, this could be a very important factor in a slip and fall case. If the victim can provide evidence, such as testimony from the person who provided the warning, it could be a strong argument in favor of the store being held liable for damages.
Property owners are often held liable for slip and fall injuries when victims can prove the owners were aware or should have been aware of a hazard and failed to act to fix the problem.
The defendant in a slip and fall case often tries to prove he or she did not know about the hazard and could not have been expected to know. That is why attorneys often look for evidence proving the owner was aware.
Who can be Held Liable in a Slip and Fall Case?
Property owners are generally the ones held liable for a slip and fall accident. These cases are often filed against the owners of retail stores but slip and fall accidents also happen on residential property, and landlords could hold liability for tenants’ damages. Homeowners could also be liable for injuries to social guests or those making deliveries or soliciting business. If the accident happened on government property, a government entity may be liable.
Liability is a complex issue that can be discussed with a licensed attorney.
Who can be Held Responsible for a Burn Injury?
Burn injuries are often the result of another’s negligence. Some of the parties that could potentially be held liable for a burn injury include:
- Negligent drivers, if the injury resulted from a motor vehicle accident
- Product manufacturers, if the injury resulted from the use of a defective or dangerous product (space heater, hair dryer, battery that overheated, etc.)
- Landlords who failed to fix faulty electrical wiring in their properties
- Employers who failed to take the proper safety precautions to prevent fires or explosions
If a burn injury could have been prevented by someone else’s actions or providing a proper warning, that individual or entity may be responsible for damages from the burn injury.
What if I was also at Fault for the Accident, Which Caused my Burn Injury?
You can still pursue compensation for a burn injury that was partially your fault. Arizona’s comparative fault law says victims’ compensation awards must be reduced by their percentage of fault. If you were 10 percent at fault, the total amount of compensation you may receive must be reduced by 10 percent.
If someone else is partially at fault for your injury, he or she is responsible for the same percent of your damage. For example, if he or she was 40 percent responsible for your accident, he or she would be responsible for paying for 40 percent of your damages.
How Soon After My Accident Must I Bring a Case?
Generally, Arizona injury victims must file their claims within two years from the date of the accident or the date they discovered or should have discovered their injury. This is explained in Arizona’s personal injury statute of limitations.
While this is the standard deadline, there are often exceptions. If your injury was the result of the negligence of a government entity or employee, you have just 180 days from the date of the accident to file a notice of claim. The lawsuit must generally be filed within one year of the date of the injury.
Minors have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim for damages. People who were declared mentally unstable have two years from the date they are declared competent to file a claim for an injury caused by another’s negligence.
You can discuss the deadline that may apply to your claim in a free consultation with a licensed attorney from Phillips Law Group.
What if Someone gets Injured While at the Home of a Neighbor Who Invited the Injured Person There for a Party?
The homeowner may be liable for the victim’s damages, if the victim and his or her attorney can prove the homeowner failed to correct a hazard the victim could not have been expected to know about.
For example, maybe the victim fell down the stairs because there was a problem with the railing or a step and this was not obvious to the victim.
The homeowner may be able to avoid liability if he or she can show he or she warned the victim about the problem, or the homeowner could not have been expected to know about it.
When a homeowner invites someone onto his or her property, that person has a legal right to be there. This creates a duty of care for the homeowner while the guest is on his or her property.
What Are “Hazardous Conditions?”
A hazardous condition is one that is likely to cause injury, even if the person who encounters the condition acts with reasonable care.
There are many different examples of hazardous conditions that could cause injuries:
- Bad lighting
- Poorly-maintained machinery, such as at an amusement park
- Lack of a railing on a staircase
- Malfunctioning elevator or escalator
- Wet floors
- Snow or ice on walkways
- Bunched up carpeting
- Holes in the floor
- Cracks in the sidewalk
- Uneven walkways
- Missing tiles
- Merchandise in store aisles
- Failure to have a lifeguard on duty
- Lack of warning signs
- Falling ceiling tiles
If you were injured by one of these hazardous conditions, you may have a claim for negligence against the owner of the property where the accident happened. You would need to prove the owner should have known about the condition and done something to address it to make it safer.
How Can I Prove that the Owner of the Property Where I was Hurt was Negligent?
Premises liability claims involve allegations the property owner could have done something differently to prevent the victim from suffering an injury.
Generally, you or your attorney must prove the owner was aware of the hazard and failed to take reasonable action to address the problem or at least warn people about it to help prevent injuries from happening.
Reasonable action depends on the situation and the hazard involved. For example, property owners often have a legal duty to conduct regular inspections to find hazardous conditions. If property owners have a duty to conduct these inspections and they fail to do so, they cannot claim they were unaware of a hazard they would have discovered during an inspection.
Property owners also have a duty to do something about hazards they know about or should know about. For example, property owners should clean up spills and use wet floor signs to warn customers to avoid a spot on the floor that could cause a slip and fall accident.
Proving a property owner has knowledge may require testimony from witnesses or employees who told the property owner about a hazardous condition. Your lawyer may also be able to argue the owner should have known about it because a reasonable person would have known about it.
Do I Need to Stop at Traffic Lights and Stop Signs?
Yes, bicyclists who are riding in traffic lanes must obey traffic signs and signals just like other drivers. Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as motorists, along with other rules of the road specific to bicyclists.
Other drivers are required to make room for bicyclists, particularly when passing them, whether they are in bicycle lanes or not.
Do I Have the Right of Way?
This is a complex question that depends on the specific situation. If you have a green light, you have the right of way. If you stop at an intersection at the same time as driver heading in another direction, you must yield to the driver on the right if you are to that driver’s left. If there is no light at the intersection, the same rules apply.
If you stop at an intersection that forms at T shape, you are required to yield the right of way the driver at the top of the T.
Learn more about Arizona’s right of way laws here.
What if I am Injured but was not Wearing Safety Gear (Helmet, Reflective Clothing, Lights)?
Arizona has no statewide law mandating all bicycle riders wear helmets. However, if you live in Tucson, Sierra Vista, Yuma or Pima County, and are under the age of 18, wearing a helmet is mandatory.
You may still be able to pursue compensation even if you were not wearing a helmet. However, not wearing a helmet may affect the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. If you are found partially at fault, your compensation award will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
The same principle could apply if you were not wearing other protective gear and the other party can show how this contributed to you being injured. For example, if you were not wearing reflective clothing at night and a driver hit you, claiming he or she could not see you, this may be a valid argument.
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