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Questions About The Next Steps In Your Auto Accident Claim? Here are All of The Answers To Your Auto Accident Claim Questions.

Being in an auto accident can be overwhelming and you are looking for answers. We have them and we have compiled what our clients have asked us over the years about their auto accident claims and provided you with our answers. Please read on to get your questions answered.

How Can You Collect Compensation for Your Auto Accident Claim?

Your auto accident may have occurred in  Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe or Queen Creek.  But no matter the location, the confusion of where to start is all the same. We get this question often from new clients – how can we collect compensation for our auto accident claim? How can we collect for all of our expenses after an auto accident? If you have been through an auto accident that has had a major effect on many aspects of your life and your daily routine. You have likely made calls to your neighbors, friends, colleagues, and others you know who have been through an accident in order to seek advice on what the next step is for a personal injury. You may have even called the insurance adjuster or your personal insurance agent to get the desired answers. If you are seeking compensation for your auto accident claim, it’s time to take action. Setup a meeting with our experienced personal injury lawyers who will give you the best advice in protecting your rights and interest. Call us now about your auto accident claim and let us put you in competent hands.

To connect with our team, call us now at (480) 634-7480.

During your free consultation with one of our Arizona personal injury attorneys, we will answer all of your questions relating to the process of personal injury and other property damage. We have the most experienced attorneys that can help with your car accident claim along with answering your questions that no insurance agent was able to answer.

Will Your Life Ever Be Back to Normal After An Auto Accident?

We know that you can barely understand a word the police officer is saying to you. You or a loved one has been in an accident and are not sure what the next step is. We understand the dilemma and are here to help with your personal injury claim.

You may worry that things will never be back to normal after your auto accident, and your future may seem unclear. We understand your situation, You can take comfort in the fact that we have helped thousands of Arizona auto accident victims get their lives back and their financial outlook turned around by helping them in seeking compensation.

We know that your situation may feel never-ending. Your normal, everyday troubles are seemingly nonexistent because everything has changed, but we will find the best solutions to your problems and do all we can to get your life back on track.

How Can You Get the Answers You Need?

Many people have gone their entire lives without needing an attorney, instead preferring to ask family and friends for solutions. The situation of that family member who was involved in an accident bragging about squeezing out insurance companies doesn’t relate to the problems you are having. After all, you are not suing for selfish reasons. You know this accident was real. You need answers from someone who can make sense of it all. Take the first step and call us. We will tell you if you need a lawyer or if you don’t. It is that simple.

Call us now to get answers to your questions (480) 634-7480.

What Can You Expect at the First Lawyer Meeting?

We have never met a single person who thought that one day they would be a victim to a life-altering car accident. You like to feel in control of your life and an auto accident is an uncontrollable situation. After such a life-altering accident, your life is filled with unimaginable stress in which your time, energy, money, and health are torn in hundreds of directions.

Your first step after your personal injury should be to call us. We will schedule either a telephonic or convenient in-person meeting to discuss your case and your immediate needs. We will discuss your medical concerns and explore each and every option available to you. Your meeting with us will leave you with a well-developed and personalized action plan that will be of great help to you and your family. You will also have a complete understanding of the legal rights and remedies available for car accident claims.

We expect during your appointment to address your most significant and concerning questions. You will leave with a comprehensive idea of how your case will proceed so that you can focus on putting the pieces of your life back together. Accidents are both terrifying and traumatic. We are proud to say we are capable of guiding you through the personal injury claim from start to finish.

We Are Here to Take the Burden Off Your Shoulders

We understand and believe that those who have been though an accident and personal injury don’t need any further stress in their lives than they are already forced to endure. This is especially true when you work with a lawyer who does not care to explain the procedure or legalese associated with your case. The secrets and knowledge that we at Thompson Law Firm share are designed and intended to give ordinary people just like you confidence about their options and the claims process so that you can make an educated and informed decision in your case and your life.

How will the Attorneys at Thompson Law Firm use Their Knowledge for You?

We have the knowledge that gives us power to collect the most compensation for you. You are here because you know that time is of the essence, and the time is now. However, starting the personal injury process without completely understanding your rights can easily make your situation worse and even possibly ruin the case completely. The legal rights and remedies available to you will be of no use if you make the mistake of saying too much. Whether you plan to proceed with a lawyer or not, there is no harm in understanding the law and the various options available for seeking compensation.

You already have a lot to deal with due to the accident. Ignoring your children, spouse, and family for legal paperwork is not worth your precious time.

Start this process today by scheduling a meeting with a personal injury lawyer to help you understand for yourself what exactly is involved and at stake. Learn what is necessary to protect your interests and start the healing process. The last thing you want to do is make the wrong decision for your health, life, and financial well-being. Hiring a lawyer for your accident claim does not have to be scary. You’ve heard the stories about paying attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses only resulting in getting next to nothing. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Find a law firm that meets with you, understands your needs, and works to produce results you need—nothing more and nothing less.

Want to begin your claim? Call us now at (480) 634-7480.

What Issues Arise When You are In an Auto Accident?

Our staff expertly addresses the complex issues of liability, injuries, property damage, and the psychological pain that come with an unexpected event like a car accident. With offices in Chandler and Phoenix, Arizona, Thompson Law Firm is a law firm dedicated solely to auto accident victims, victims of DUI, and families who’ve lost a love one to a car accident. Founded in 2006, the firm provides support to individuals and families stricken by the negligence of another and help in seeking compensation and justice for their injuries. Our innovative approach acknowledges that an auto accident is so much more than just a legal matter. Specialties include vehicle damage, diminished value, medical bills, medical treatment, future care and costs, loss of consortium claims, and lost wage relief.

Is Every Auto Accident Victim the Same?

No. We see every auto accident victim as a unique individual. We acknowledge each client’s situation as totally different. Though we recognize that auto accidents occur all of the time, each client should only experience it once. Our team of auto accident professionals listens to each client’s situation and works with them on solutions that are best suited for their case. Each client has a different set of needs, and we work every step of the way to meet all of their needs.

What Steps Do You Take if You Are in An Auto Accident In Chandler, Arizona?

In the midst of working in, living in, or enjoying the entire East Valley area, including Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, you may be involved in an auto accident—a jarring experience that can leave you dealing with emotional trauma, significant injuries, and a lot of questions. The medical bills that result from a serious injury can affect all areas of your life and add unneeded stress to an already stressful situation. Not only can a serious injury derail your life for the immediate future, it may leave you with permanent disabilities and other complications. When facing the mental trauma of being involved in the car accident, you may not know who to turn to for help. This is especially true when you have to navigate a complicated legal process and negotiations with insurance companies. In this situation, you want a strong group of attorneys who are familiar with the laws in your area and who have numerous years of experience fighting the insurance companies and negligent drivers to get you the relief that you deserve. Thompson Law Firm, LLC, is familiar with Phoenix and surrounding areas and has the experience you need in order to deal with the aftermath of an accident.

Medical Care Following an Auto Accident

Thompson Law Firm, LLC, is located in the heart of Chandler, giving us personal connections with the community and knowledge of how to maneuver the ins and outs of life after a car accident. Thompson Law Firm, LLC, is familiar with the medical facilities, collision facilities, and court systems of Maricopa County. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort after your accident, it is important that you get the medical attention you need. But making those types of decisions after a car accident can be difficult. If you are struggling and do not know where to turn for medical treatment, we are able to provide assistance with recommendations for treatment providers who have provided good results for our clients in the past. Chandler has numerous urgent care or emergency departments that will be able to diagnose your injuries right away  NextCare Urgent Care and Chandler Valley Urgent Care are highly rated facilities located within Chandler that may provide quick treatment for your injuries. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it may be more beneficial to seek emergency department treatment instead of urgent care. Chandler offers quick 24/7 access to care at Arizona General Hospital locations and Chandler Regional Medical Center.

Vehicle Repairs and Rental

After you have seen to the important task for taking care of your immediate injuries and pain, you will also need to determine what will happen to your vehicle.  We are also able to provide contact information and direction to help you find a nearby repair shop or car rental organization after the accident if you need help determining what next steps to make following the collision.  One five-star rated repair shop located in Chandler is Highland Automotive Repair and Gary’s Automotive RepairEnterprise Rent-A-Car and Avis Rent-A-Car are also local companies which can be utilized to aid your transportation needs following the collision.

We can help with all of this, on top of negotiating with insurance companies to get a fair outcome for your case. Thompson Law Firm is adept at handling all of these tasks and moreover, while we work hard to get your case resolved without the need for formal legal proceedings, we are not afraid to take your case to court. Thompson Law Firm, LLC is focused on you, your recovery, and helping destress your life after the trauma of a personal injury.

If you would like to set up a consultation to find out more about how we can help you with your case, please call us at 480-634-7480 to speak with one of our attorneys for a Free Case Evaluation or get in touch with us online!

When you call a Phoenix car accident attorney after a crash, he or she will ask you about the damage to your vehicle and a number of other questions.

It may help you to read our FAQ on vehicle damage and insurance so you know what to do—and what not to do—after a car accident.

Talking to Insurance Companies

Your first call will be to your insurance company (even before you call a Phoenix car accident attorney) to notify them of your auto accident. Be prepared and take notes, and know that the at-fault party’s insurance company may call you in an attempt to get information that damages your case.

How can I find out how much insurance the at-fault driver has?

You can send an email or text to the at-fault driver’s insurance company to ask. However, you should avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company on the phone (instead, ask your Phoenix car accident lawyer to do so for you).

What information will the at-fault driver’s insurance company ask for?

If the at-fault party’s insurance company calls you, the adjuster will ask for:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your contact information
  • The make and model of your car
  • Where the crash occurred
  • Your version of the events leading up to and including the crash

A claims adjuster for the other party in this car accident may try to get you to do or say something that could hurt your claim. That is why it is best to say as little as possible. Many people choose to refer the claims adjuster to their Phoenix car accident lawyer immediately, rather than discussing the circumstances of the crash or explaining what happened in detail.

You shouldn’t discuss the details of the car accident or your injuries. Just tell the adjuster that you may (or will) be making a claim at the appropriate time.

If the claims adjuster asks to record the call, say no.

If the claims adjuster gets pushy, feel free to hang up.

If you want to find out whether the other insurance company has accepted 100% liability for the accident, you can ask the claims processor for your own insurance company.

If the other insurance company hasn’t accepted liability, you can ask them why via email or fax. Again, it’s best not to get involved in any kind of a phone call and leave it up to your lawyer.

Why does the other driver’s insurance company want to talk to me?

Car insurance companies know that if they can get you, the injured party, to admit fault (even a little bit of fault), they may not have to pay you as much as they ordinarily would. It’s an adjuster’s job to minimize payout and keep money in the company’s pocket, so when they call, they’re trying to get you to admit fault.

The adjuster will probe for any inconsistencies between what you say happened, what their driver says happened, and what the police say happened.

If the case goes to a jury (which is unlikely, but possible), the other side’s attorney can use these inconsistencies to cast doubt on whether the insurance company’s client was really 100% at fault for the car accident.

That’s why you shouldn’t talk to insurance adjusters about the car accident, and you certainly shouldn’t allow them to record a call with you. (Learn more about comparative negligence and how to deal with insurance companies.)

What does it mean when the at-fault driver’s insurance company accepts liability?

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company accepts liability, they’re admitting that their driver caused the accident; they now need to pay you for the property damage and bodily injury that their insured driver caused.

Do I need the acceptance of liability in writing?

Absolutely. A verbal acknowledgement will not cut it.

You can ask for this in a short, simple fax or email. For example, you could write:

Does [name of insurance company] accept liability for the accident involving [name of insured driver] on [date]?

How do I communicate with the other driver’s insurance company without being recorded?

You should communicate in writing, by fax or email. However, don’t get involved in a discussion or share your own information via fax or email.

Many people choose instead to hire a Phoenix car accident lawyer who can handle all the communication between you and the at-fault party’s insurance company.

When can I start talking to the other driver’s insurance company?

Once they admit their driver is 100% at fault, you can start talking. Otherwise, all the conversations will lead to their attempts at having you accepting some portion of fault. You don’t want that to happen.

You still need to be careful not to say anything that would reduce the amount of your valid claim.

For example, when someone asks you, “How are you today?” your instinct may be to say, “Fine,” even if you don’t feel fine at all.

That’s one reason it can be helpful to have a Phoenix car accident attorney handle your claim: to prevent you from saying anything that could hurt your case.

Should I make a claim against my own insurance?

You should make a claim against your own insurance; not because you’re at fault, but because that’s the purpose of having insurance. If you’re not at fault, your premiums won’t increase. Your insurance company will pay to repair your vehicle and submit the bill to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

What if the at-fault Driver does not have insurance?

You should get in touch with your own insurance company. You may have uninsured motorist coverage.

If you don’t, you may need to sue the other driver to seek compensation. However, your chances for recovery may be poor. Most people who drive uninsured don’t have much in the way of income or assets.

Want to make life a little easier? Do You Need to Talk to a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney?

If you have questions about insurance or you aren’t sure where to turn after a crash, our Phoenix car accident attorneys can help you.

Call us at 480-634-7480 or get in touch with us online to tell us about your situation. We’ll give you case-specific legal advice and begin formulating a plan that gets you the best possible outcome.

Your car, your motorcycle, and your bicycle all have monetary value. Not just in terms of dollars, or what you’ve paid for it. Much of the value in your property lies in its utility, convenience, and your means to earn wages or equity.

In a sprawling city like Phoenix and its outlying suburbs of the East and West Valley, your ability to earn wages, run errands, pick up your kids from school and activities centers around your car. It’s natural to feel attached to it.

When you first bought your car, you spent hours searching for the perfect car for you and your family. At the dealership, you slowly ambled a lap around the car, sliding your fingers on its gleaming smooth surface. As you took it for a test drive — savoring the new car smell — you decided it would be the centerpiece of your life and family. You may also have chosen your motorcycle for its convenience and efficiency in Phoenix’s heavy traffic or your bicycle for its environmental and cost efficiencies.

After months or years of driving your car, you feel you know your car — and your car knows you. You feel the same way if your motorcycle or bicycle is also your “daily driver”, your grocery getter, and your transportation to and from work.

And then the unthinkable happens. You and your car get mangled in a wreck. You can no longer drive it.

The bad news is the things we usually take for granted — the convenience, ease of getting around, transportation to and from work, shuttling your kids from one activity to another — are suddenly gone.

The good news, however, is there are steps to mitigate the disruption in your life caused by losing your car to an accident — one of which is to submit a property damage claim to insurance.

What Is Property Damage?

Covered by most auto insurance policies, physical damage to your car is considered property damage. Getting  your property damage claim opened does one of three things:

  1. Pay you for the cost of your car repairs; or
  2. Reimburse you for the cash value of the car if it cannot be fully repaired; or
  3. Pay you for the loss of its use while you are without it.

If your car was involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the at-fault driver has to compensate you for the repairs, pay you or provide you a rental car for the time you are unable to use it, and/or pay you the cash value of your car.

Aside from getting immediate medical attention after an accident, one of your first priorities is to assess the damage on your car.

What is the damage to your car?

A strong way to prove your property damage claim is to take photos of the car at the scene of the accident. Photos show the actual damage on your car and indicate whether airbags had gone off and show any broken glass and other damaged car parts.

Determine whether you can still drive the car after the accident. Is the car damaged badly enough that it is undrivable? Does it need to be towed to an auto body shop?

How to Choose an Auto Body Repair Shop?

Fortunately, you can get your car repaired anywhere you want provided they are licensed and that their work is guaranteed for 90 days—and the insurer will stand behind the repair shop’s guarantee. If you don’t know which body shop to use, you can also request the insurer recommend a qualified repair shop convenient to your location.

The insurance company does need to agree on pricing with the shop of your choice. If they cannot agree, they will give you a list of licensed shops who can do the repairs for the price the insurer has set. If you are not satisfied with the repairs, you are entitled to bring your vehicle back to the auto shop and have it inspected within this 90-day period.

Keep in mind that after a grace period, you may need to pay storage fees to an auto body shop or a storage facility. While your insurance company initially pays these costs on your behalf, they must give you three working days’ notice before they stop paying for storage.

Who Decides Whether or Not My Car Can Be Repaired?

After evaluating the damage to your vehicle, the insurance company has the option of repairing your vehicle, replacing your vehicle, or reimbursing you for the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV). Actual cash value is the amount your vehicle would have sold for on the date of the accident.

If the cost of repairs is substantially less than the ACV of the car, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover those repairs. However, if repair costs are close to or greater than the car’s value, the insurer will not repair your car. They will elect to replace your vehicle or reimburse you for the ACV in those instances where the vehicle is economically impractical to repair.

Motor Vehicle regulations stipulate that a vehicle is considered economically impractical to repair if the cost to repair the vehicle equals or exceeds the vehicle’s ACV.

In most cases, an insurer will deem your car a “total loss” if the cost of repairs is more than 70% of the value of your car. The reason for this is when the shop starts repairing your car, additional hidden damages are often found. Such extra damages would render the vehicle a total loss by definition.

Does the Insurance Company Have to Use New Parts to Repair My Vehicle?

No. The insurer is only obligated to restore your vehicle to the same condition as it was before the accident.

Sometimes they use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and other times they use aftermarket parts—parts made by a manufacturer other than the original manufacturer.

If your vehicle is being repaired with newer parts, the company doesn’t have to pay for this “improvement.” For example, if your car’s transmission is five years old, the insurer only needs to replace it with a five-year-old transmission. If a five-year-old transmission can’t be found, the repair shop could use a new transmission, but you’d have to pay the difference between the value of a five-year-old transmission and a new transmission.

Do I Have to Accept Non-OEM Parts?

No. Although Arizona regulations do allow aftermarket parts as long as they are warranted by the manufacturer to be of like kind and quality as OEM parts, you don’t have to accept them.

The final choice is yours. But if the insurer wants to use non-OEM parts and you decide to use more expensive OEM parts, you may have to pay the cost difference.

The regulations also require the insurer to clearly indicate on the appraisal which parts are aftermarket parts and pay for any modifications necessary.

What happens if My Car Has Been Totaled?

If your car has been totaled–or deemed a “total loss”–the other driver’s insurance company must pay you the “actual cash value” (ACV) of the car prior to the accident. The ACV is based on what comparable vehicles are selling for in the Chandler area. In theory, you should be able to take the money you’re given in an insurance settlement and buy another car similar to what you had before.

But you don’t have to accept the first offer you get from an insurance company based on its calculation of the ACV. Instead, you can do your own research using Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. If the KBB values your car higher than what insurance offered, you can make the case that your car is worth more than the offer.

You can also see what local used car dealers are asking for similar vehicles and check car sale prices online. Keep in mind, however, that the offer price is not necessarily the sales price. You may also be able to argue that your car is worth more than average for the make, model, and year.

I’ve Added Vehicle Upgrades Like New Tires, Alloy Rims, and Other Accessories. Can I Recover That Cost?

Possibly. You may have added upgrades to your vehicle such as brand-new wheels, tinted windows, a custom paint job, an upgraded stereo, a built-in DVD, Bluetooth, or GPS, etc. All these upgrades add value to your car. For example, the following features add value to your car:

  • Brand-new or high-end tires
  • Custom wheels and rims (such as alloy wheels)
  • Custom paint or trim (or a new paint job)
  • An upgraded stereo system
  • Satellite radio
  • In-car GPS
  • In-car Bluetooth
  • In-car DVD
  • Back-up cameras
  • Leather upholstery or trim
  • Heated or air-conditioned seats
  • Upholstery that’s been kept covered and is like new
  • New headlights
  • Tinted windows
  • Performance suspension packages
  • Sunroof/moonroof
  • For trucks, things like bed liners and tow kits

However, there is an important caveat. You will have to provide proof that you paid for these modifications. You can try to get compensation by including receipts or invoices in your claim.

Unfortunately, aftermarket parts on a vehicle do not necessarily increase the overall value of the vehicle. Thus, an insurance company may initially offer you zero.

If you can produce a receipt or invoice that’s less than a year old, you improve your odds of recovering at least part of your upgrade expenses. If you can recover 50% of these costs, you’re doing well.

According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the average consumer spends about $2,000 on options or modifications during the first year after purchase. You can try to recover at least part of this investment.

You can also get compensated for any recent major repair or maintenance jobs on your car. But you’re probably not going to get insurance to pay for that oil change you had last week.

What Additional Compensation can I get for my Car?

Getting your property damage claim fulfilled doesn’t stop at simply reimbursing you for the value of your car or its repairs. You are entitled to additional compensation for those extra costs you had to pay as a result of losing your car for a period of time.

If the accident wasn’t your fault, the other driver should compensate you for:

  • The cost of a rental car for you to drive while your own car is being repaired or replaced.
  • The cost of towing your car away from the accident scene.
  • The cost of storing your car until it can be repaired or disposed of.
  • Damage to personal property in or on your vehicle (such as a bike in a bike rack).
  • The value your car lost because of the accident.

The costs of the first four bullets above are easy to calculate, or simply a matter of digging up your receipts or invoices. But the last point about the lost (diminished) value of your car is understandably vague, so we’ll expand on that below.

What Should I Do If the Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured?

If you’re dealing with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your own insurance company will be paying for all or part of the repairs or replacement. In this case, you probably have an appraisal clause in your auto policy.

You should get an appraiser to determine the true value of your car. It would be best if you hire your own appraiser from a third party rather than using the appraiser suggested by your insurance company. This way you will take comfort in knowing the appraisal will not be biased in favor of your insurance company.

According to the appraisal clause, if you and your insurance company can’t agree on the fair market value of your car, you can always submit the dispute to binding arbitration.

Can I Get My Car Back Even If It Was Totaled?

You may request to get the car back even after it has been totaled, but the insurer may not grant your request.

Once the total loss is settled, the insurance company assumes the rights to your car and can dispose of it however they wish, including selling it or its parts for salvage. They can, at their discretion, let you keep the car and let you try to salvage it yourself. If the insurer lets you keep your car, they will deduct its salvage value from your total loss settlement. In which case, you have the option to restore and/or sell it.

However, by Arizona law, any car that had been deemed a total loss by an insurance company must have a salvage title. You can get a salvage certificate from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) and register your car as a salvaged vehicle.

Once the necessary repairs are complete, the car would need to be presented to the MVC for a special inspection before it can be deemed fit to drive on public roads.

Keep in mind that some insurance companies may offer limited or no insurance for a car with a salvage title.

What If I Still Owe a Balance on My Car Loan After My Vehicle Was Totaled?

You can use the insurance cash payout to pay down the balance of your loan.

If the cash value of your car is more than the balance of your loan, you can fully pay off your car note once insurance sends you a check for the fair market value of your car. Unfortunately, in some cases, especially if your car is new, the loan balance will be higher than the insurance payout. In these scenarios, gap insurance can help you cover this shortfall.

Gap insurance is also known as loan-payoff coverage, which can protect you financially, particularly if your car is new and you are making car payments on it. If a total loss occurs, gap insurance will pay you the difference between the actual cash value of your car and the outstanding balance on your car loan.

For example, in a total loss situation, if the insurance pays you an actual cash value that is less than what you own on the car loan, you’re left with a financial shortfall—or a “gap”—in the amount that you still owe.

Gap insurance protects you from this financial shortfall.

For example, if your totaled vehicle was worth $18,000 at the time of accident, but you still owe $20,000 on the loan, your gap insurance will pay you $2,000 to cover this “gap.”

Can I Get Compensation for a Total Loss on my Vehicle?

If you’ve been involved in an accident in the Phoenix area due to someone else’s negligence, the Thompson Law Firm can help you seek compensation for your car or its repairs. You do not need to pay us because we work on a contingency basis. Only when you get paid, do we also get paid.

When you’re ready to move forward with your property damage claim, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation.

In a perfect world, everyone would obey the law and carry the right type of car insurance. Unfortunately, many Phoenix and Chandler drivers don’t have enough insurance (or worse, they don’t have any insurance at all). So what are you supposed to do if you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver on Arizona roadways?

Accidents and Insurance

The fact is that we all have to maintain auto insurance on our vehicles. However, some people don’t. In fact, as many as 20% of Arizona drivers are uninsured. That figure doesn’t account for the number of people who are underinsured. The difference:

  • Uninsured motorists have no insurance coverage on their vehicle.
  • Underinsured motorists don’t have adequate insurance coverage; they have some insurance coverage, usually the state’s required minimum amount, but that’s not enough to cover real-life damages.

Nationwide, about 14% of motorists are uninsured. In Arizona, our uninsured rate is significantly higher. If you’re in an accident, there’s a one-in-five chance that the person who hit you doesn’t have any auto insurance at all.

What is The Challenge of Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Motorist?

If the person responsible for your auto accident doesn’t have any auto insurance, you’re probably wondering if anyone can help pay your medical bills, cover your lost wages, or compensate you from the trauma, suffering, and sometimes permanent injuries you’ve sustained.

Your own insurance company may be the company who ends up compensating you. However, these types of cases can get tricky–especially if your insurance company doesn’t want to pay up. It’s usually best to work with a local personal injury lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t risk dealing with your insurance company yourself; instead, leave it to your attorney. She’ll be able to negotiate in your best interests so that you can focus on what’s most important… recovering from the trauma of your car accident.

Under Arizona law, what is the minimum amount of liability insurance required is?

  • $15,000 because of bodily injury to, or the death of, one person in any one accident
  • $30,000 because of bodily injury to, or the death of, two or more people in one accident
  • $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Auto insurers offer coverage that can protect you in the event that the driver who hits you is uninsured or underinsured. (“Underinsured” doesn’t just mean that the other driver has coverage less than the required state minimum. It also means that the other driver’s insurance, even if it meets the state minimum, isn’t enough to cover your property damage or pay for your injuries.)

Uninsured driver insurance protects you if you’re injured by a driver who doesn’t have any liability insurance.

Your underinsured driver policy can’t exceed the amount of your primary insurance policy. For example, if you carry $30,000 in coverage for your own negligence, you can only get $30,000 in coverage for damage and injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.

If the driver who hit you doesn’t have any insurance, or refuses to provide you with insurance information, notify your own insurance carrier right away. Some insurance carriers require you to bring uninsured motorist claims within 30 days, so you can forfeit your rights if you wait too long.

When you bring an uninsured driver claim, you’ll be dealing with your own insurance company and negotiating the amount of compensation you’ll receive. If you and your own insurance carrier can’t agree on an amount that you think is reasonable to compensate for your injuries and property damage, then you can’t sue your own insurance company the same way you could sue another driver’s carrier. Instead, your policy will require you to participate in binding arbitration with your insurance company.

An arbitrator will consider each side’s evidence (including medical evidence, accident reports, etc.) and then decide whether you’re entitled to compensation from your insurance carrier and in what amount. It’s very difficult to appeal the arbitrator’s decision—that’s why they call it “binding.”

If you do go to arbitration, you can be represented by a lawyer, just as you would be if a case went to trial.

If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, then another option is to sue the other driver. The problem is that people usually chose not to carry auto insurance because they feel they can’t afford it. Someone who can’t afford auto insurance is unlikely to have sufficient assets to satisfy a judgment. As the saying goes, “You can’t get blood from a stone.”

However, you may find yourself in a situation where the other driver does have significant assets (such as a home, land, or business) but let his or her auto insurance lapse because of cash-flow issues. Thus, you may be able to enforce a judgment by filing a lien against the other driver’s property. A court can order the property sold to satisfy the judgment.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in the Chandler area involving an uninsured driver, the Thompson Law Firm can help you seek compensation for your injuries. We can handle negotiations with your own insurance carrier if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If negotiations don’t result in a fair settlement offer, we can handle the arbitration against your own carrier. We can also represent you in court if you decide to sue an uninsured motorist.

What is Your Financial Outlook After a Car Accident?

A car accident need not wipe you out financially. One of the biggest fears of our clients upon a car accident is getting bombarded by four- to six-figure medical bills. Fear of paying for medical treatment after a car accident can be paralyzing.

To help you sleep easier at night, we explain that your medical expenses after a car accident should be paid for by insurance—and reimbursed by the at-fault driver.

Paying for Medical Treatment After a Car Accident: Who’s Responsible?

The at-fault driver and their insurer are responsible for all of the damages they have caused, including the cost of medical treatment, EMT, and hospital stays. However, the medical treatment needs to be paid for when you actually get treatment, not when your case gets settled, which could be weeks or months after the accident. Since you don’t have that kind of time, here are a few ways you can handle paying for treatment soon after an accident:

Do I Use My Own Health Insurance?

Yes, rather than waiting for a settlement, this is the normal option, since most people have health insurance. Some of our clients, however, have expressed fear that by paying for medical treatment themselves, they may harm their claim. Sometimes, they simply feel it is “unfair” to use their own insurance. This is certainly not the case. In fact, getting your treatment underway and paid for will only help strengthen your claim.

Treatment for injuries caused by auto accidents usually costs a lot of money in our healthcare system. You may be concerned about high deductibles or high co-insurance payments, because most health insurance coverage does not kick in until after you pay your deductibles and copays.

Luckily, you have another option besides paying your deductibles and copays out of pocket. If you have medical payments coverage with your auto insurance provider, you can use it to cover your deductibles until your primary health insurance coverage kicks in.

Do I have Medical Payments Insurance Coverage?

The main benefit of a medical payments policy is it will cover your copays and deductibles.

Medical payment insurance also would cover medical expenses for you, your passengers, and any family members involved in the accident, regardless of which driver was at fault. It will cover your passengers even if they are not listed on your health insurance plan.

This policy also covers injuries to you or a family member as a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.

Another benefit of using this coverage is when you use it, you are not required to pay copays. Also, if you exceed the limits on your health insurance coverage, you will still be covered by your medical payments insurance. For more information about medical payments coverage, go to this page.

What is a Medical Lien?

If you do not have health insurance, you and your healthcare provider can agree to take out a medical lien to ensure your treatment gets paid for once your case is settled. This way, you can get the treatment you need without waiting for a settlement. Once your case has reached final settlement, your treatment will be paid for. We have expanded on this in a few sections below.

Can I Use Both Health Insurance and Medical Liens?

You may use a combination of both. If your health insurance doesn’t cover specific treatments or certain procedures, and you cannot afford to pay out of pocket, you can take out a medical lien for part of your medical costs. This may also be a good way to cover copays at the hospital or urgent care center because they can be quite expensive for emergency services. Multiple treatments with multiple copays and deductibles can really add up over time.

Can I Still Get Treatment If I Don’t Have Health Insurance?

Absolutely. You should still get treatment as soon as possible.

Discuss this with your doctor or their front office staff at the beginning of your treatment and see if they are willing to defer payment until after your case gets settled. If they agree, they’ll probably advise you that they’ll be recording a medical lien in order to ensure their payment from the insurance company. This means that your treating medical provider will begin treatment but wait for the payment.

What evidence do I need for my claim?

Document your injuries, medical bills and time off work. If you were taken by ambulance, hospitalized and racked up medical bills, missing time from work, these costs will usually be compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Be sure to document your injuries, medical bills and records, and time lost from work. An insurance company uses that documentation to evaluate your claim and determines whether it will pay your claim.

If you have health insurance, use it. Don’t wait for a settlement payout. However, if you do not have insurance, try to defer payment until after the settlement. You may be able to get a medical lien on the ensuing insurance settlement to make sure your treatment gets paid for.

How do I Improve the Value of My Case?

Between the time of your accident and the time of settlement, there are a number of things you can do to improve the value of your case. You should also avoid doing things that will likely hurt your case, like posting photos of the accident on Facebook.

Other than posting about your accident on social media, delaying or stopping medical treatment, not keeping documentation of all your damages, or “toughing it out” through the pain at your job will likely harm your case before it is settled.

To support your claim, it is very important not to delay or stop any medical treatment. Having MRIs, CAT scans, and any special diagnostic testing ordered by the doctor will help strengthen your case. Find out if you need surgery before the case gets settled.

Talk to your employer and take the time you need off work. Your lost time from work will help bolster your claim that you should be compensated for your injuries and damages. If you have any family members helping take care of you, keep track of this; it will also help your case to get compensated fairly.

What Is The Value of An Auto Accident Case? Here Are Our Results.

Ultimately, the success of an auto accident or personal injury lawsuit comes down to assigning blame, a process that requires tenacity and an intimate understanding of the civil court system. Below are the auto accident case results we have obtained on behalf of our clients.

Many of our clients have received substantial awards and settlements in our auto accident case results in the region of:

  • $100,000 or more for claims involving severe injuries resulting in long-term pain, rehabilitation, and/or disability.
  • $25,000–100,000 for claims involving injuries severe enough to warrant immediate and significant medical attention.
  • $15,000–25,000 for claims involving injuries such as minor cuts and bruises that did not endanger the life of the individual.

Christy Thompson has litigated a number of accident cases totaling millions of dollars in value, much of that going to her clients through personal injury case settlements. Her largest cases involved pedestrian accidents, hit-and-run accidents, and a wrongful death resulting in a negligent homicide charge.

Auto Accident Case Result: Wrongful Death: $800,000

A 76-year-old grandfather, husband, and father was killed driving back home after buying groceries in Mesa, AZ. The at-fault driver, also 76 years old, had taken Ambien before driving and was charged with negligent homicide. The Thompson Law Firm represented his surviving family members—his wife, sons, and daughters—in the civil matter and assisted them throughout criminal proceedings.

Auto Accident Case Result: Pedestrian Accident: $325,000

The client, a 70-year-old retiree, was on his morning walk when he was hit in a crosswalk in Chandler, AZ. He was care flighted to the hospital where he remained for 11 days. He suffered a broken leg and fractured arm. The driver for the landscaping company initially claimed he was jaywalking, and the Chandler police did not cite the driver. Thompson Law firm proved the driver was at fault for failing to stop, and the insurance company agreed to pay all medical bills and for future care.

Pedestrian Accident: $350,000

The client was walking to her mailbox in Gilbert, AZ when her neighbor turned a corner and hit her. She suffered second-degree burns, a fractured hand, and numerous skin lacerations around her neck. Her face was permanently scarred. The Thompson Law Firm made both the at-fault driver and the client’s own auto insurance pay their full policies.

Hit-and-Run Accident: $100,000

A 38-year-old accountant, mother, and wife was traveling on the US 60 in Tempe, AZ when a driver came off the onramp and pushed her vehicle into oncoming traffic. Although the vehicle didn’t make any contact with her car, its erratic driving forced her into the median and ultimately into oncoming traffic. Through Thompson Law Firm’s investigative work, we were able to prove the phantom driver existed and collected on all available auto policies for our client.

Bicycle Accident: $85,000

The client was riding his bicycle to the end of his street when oncoming traffic turned into him and threw him over the windshield of the car. The Thompson Law Firm pursued this case to the fullest, getting a fair settlement for our client.

Trucking Accident: $312,000

The client was hit while driving along the 202 in Gilbert, AZ. She was rear-ended at a high rate of speed by a tractor trailer that was driving without brakes. The accident resulted in a seven-car pile-up on the freeway. The case was settled when both parties attended a mediation after a suit was filed.

Car Accident: $212,500

A 67-year-old woman was stopped at stop sign in Sun Lakes, AZ when she was rear-ended. Her vehicle showed very little sign of damage. Only her trailer hitch had been hit. After a month of conservative treatment of her neck injury, she went into surgery for a neck fusion. We proved in litigation that the minor impact caused the need for a the neck surgery. The case settled in mediation after a suit was filed.

Wrongful Death: $215,000

In Chandler, AZ, the client was killed by a driver who was on prescription drugs at the time. Her husband and two minor daughters hired the Thompson Law Firm to represent them in their wrongful death suit. We assisted the family in both civil and criminal aspects of the case.

Minor Injured in Auto Accident: $112,000

The client was driving with her mother when they were both injured in an accident. The client suffered soft-tissue injuries, and her mother passed away. The Thompson Law Firm helped the client’s family with the civil and criminal sides of the case.

Bicycle Accident: $100,000

While on a bicycle in Casa Grande, AZ, the client was side-swiped by a vehicle passing her. She was taken by an ambulance to the Chandler Regional Medical Facility. After treatment for her injuries, she was found to have a broken leg and permanent nerve damage. The Thompson Law Firm obtained all available insurance policies and negotiated with them to pay their entire policies.

Understanding and Establishing Your Auto Accident Case

When a personal injury lawsuit is brought against a negligent party with the objective of seeking compensation, a plaintiff must be able to show damages or that a breach of duty occurred.

The recovery process begins with hiring an experienced auto accident or injury attorney to go over the details of the case. The plaintiff’s legal representation must then prove that a breach of duty took place and that this resulted in the plaintiff coming to physical or emotional harm.

What Compensation Is Recovered in Injury Lawsuits?

After establishing liability, the civil court system will aim to reconstruct the outcome of the events had the accident not occurred. Damages including financial loss in addition to pain and suffering (and occasionally punitive damages) are then calculated in relation to the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages or loss of consortium
  • Emotional/physical pain and suffering
  • Disability and disfigurement
  • Additional costs resulting from the injury

If you believe you have suffered from any of the aforementioned effects as a result of an accident involving injury, do not hesitate to contact us at our law offices in historic downtown Chandler.

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us?

Over the years, we’ve built an impressive track record concerning favorable awards and settlements. In many cases, our clients often receive awards in excess of their expectations, even when the matter is settled out of court.

With this in mind, we invite you to explore our website and read through our client testimonials to find out why the Thompson Law Firm is Arizona’s premier accident and injury law firm.

What Sets Thompson Law Firm Apart from Others?

  • Our attorneys work exclusively on a small number of cases.
  • We have an open policy on our fees and all of our costs so there are no surprises.
  • Our clients work with a specially trained team of professionals that include medical professionals, accident re-constructionist, and economists.
  • We use state-of-the-art technology to form the best communications with our clients.

Why Our Clients Trust Us

While going through the process, our clients discover we are more than just their attorneys. We are a team of dedicated auto injury professionals who advocate for them. We take the time to ensure every issue, every injury, every future concern is covered before we reach a settlement. Our goals are closely aligned with those of our clients and get great outcomes. We want the best financial outcome for every auto accident victim, and we meet their needs throughout the process to reach our mutual goal.

 

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