It only takes a few seconds for someone’s life to change forever. Unfortunately, car accidents are a part of living in a world with automobiles. Every time you get behind a steering wheel, you risk the chance of experiencing a wreck. You never know when it will be you who has to file a personal injury claim.
It is important that you’re prepared in case you ever find yourself injured in a car accident. Ybarra Maldonado wants to make sure you know what to do in this situation. Here is a 10 step process of a personal injury claim to keep your health and wallet intact.
- Assess Injuries
The first thing you want to do in any accident is to assess any potential injuries. Account for yourself and anyone in your car first. Make sure you remove yourself from the way of any traffic or danger. Even if no one seems to be seriously hurt, you should call Arizona state police for help.
Many people make the mistake of assuming they don’t need first responders. Without having an official police report, it might make things harder for your case later on. There is also no way to tell for sure if there are any internal injuries.
Due to a rush of adrenaline and shock, you might not feel pain immediately. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t injured. Having medical personnel on the scene could save you in ways you don’t realize.
In the case that injuries are obvious and present, try not to move. Removing yourself from the position you are in could hurt you further. Wait for medical professionals to arrive.
- Investigate For Yourself
If your injuries don’t prevent it, you want to investigate for yourself. Try to take as many pictures of the scene as possible. Include the following in the photos:
- Include their position and any internal or external damage.
- Your surroundings
- Nearby traffic signs or controls.
- Weather conditions.
- Road conditions.
- License plates
- Any visible injuries
If you are able to talk with the other parties involved, do so. While communicating, do not admit any fault or blame. Collect from them the following information:
- Get the name of the driver. If the car is registered in someone else’s name, get that too.
- Phone number
- License plate number
- Driver’s license number
Finally, take note of any witnesses. If there are some, collect their name and contact information. The more evidence you can gather to help your personal injury claim, the better.
- File A Personal Injury Claim
The next step would be to file a personal injury claim with your insurance company. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible following the accident. Your insurance company will help you recover any damages lost as a result of the wreck.
The other party will also file a claim. Their insurance provider might try to contact you. If they do, make sure to never admit any amount of blame. They will try to hold this against you. Our attorneys recommend you don’t make a statement at all.
Insurers only goal is to save themselves as much money as possible. If their driver is at fault, they know they are about to lose money. Because of this, they will try to low-ball you. They will use sneaky tactics to get you to accept a much smaller sum than you deserve.
Their insurance company will try to jump on it before you get consulted by a lawyer. If you agree to one of their low-ball offers, you are not able to reopen the claim after. This is why it is so important to get an attorney immediately after the accident.
- Consult An Attorney
Consult one of our experienced attorneys as soon as you can. The quicker you have a lawyer at your side, the less likely you are to fall victim to insurer’s tactics. The attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group know exactly what those tactics are. We will assist you in handling insurance adjusters phone calls, fight low settlement offers, and further investigate your case. We are ready and willing to do everything it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys will help you throughout the rest of your legal process. Ybarra Maldonado will see you through each step to ensure you don’t make any mistakes along the way.
- Your Lawyer’s Investigation
This is when Ybarra Maldonado Law Group will take the investigation into our own hands. The purpose of this investigation is to prove liability beyond a reason of a doubt. Part of this has to do with proving your injuries.
We do so by following up with your treatment. This can take the longest amount of time. We want to be sure of every injury you may have sustained and the treatment you underwent for it. We’ll order and review your medical records and consult your doctors. This is so we know the full extent of your injuries and any other losses as a result of the accident.
Our team will collect your reports to make sure there’s not a single payment or damage missed. Once you complete treatment, we will send the information to the insurance company.
- Demand For Settlement
The moment your treatment ends, we will submit a demand for settlement. We will consider any damages we discovered to be a result of the accident. This includes:
- Vehicle damage
- Financial loss
- Lost wages or earning potential.
- Medical treatment bills
- Prescription medication bills
- Pain and suffering
Once this is all accounted for, we will create an estimate for you. We’ll reach for the highest amount of compensation possible.
The insurance company will make the first offer. If it is not up to our standards, we will negotiate. This can go back and forth until we reach an agreement.
- Case Settlement or Lawsuit
Once an offer gets made, it is up to you to accept the settlement or file a lawsuit. A lot of clients will want to settle only so they don’t have to attend court. Insurers know this. This is why they attempt to offer such a low number. They also know that once taken to trial, the number will be much higher.
Our attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado will consult you during this time. We will determine if the offer is fair and give our advice on what you should do next. The decision is ultimately up to you. We offer our counsel for whichever option you may choose.
- Discovery Period
If you do decide to move forward with a lawsuit, this is what’s called the discovery period. During this time, lawyers of both parties will find out as much information as they can about the other. This might look like a request for documents, pictures relating to the accident, or depositions.
Depositions are a way to interrogate the other party or anyone else involved. This can include first responders, witnesses, or medical professionals. Anyone who might be able to provide evidence for the trial could be called into a deposition.
- Third-Party Mediation
Once the discovery period is over, mediation begins. This is the last chance to reach an agreement before trial.
Mediation is when a neutral third party discusses the case with both sides. His or her goal is to create a resolution between the parties. The mediators do not have any control over decision making. They are simply the messengers. They’ll go back and forth between parties to negotiate a settlement offer.
Many cases get resolved at this stage, but not all. If an agreement is not reached, the case will go to trial.
The amount of time it takes to go to trial depends on the area in which you live. In bigger cities like Phoenix, this could take a year or longer.
Once trial begins, our job is to prove negligence in the other party. We will also present to the court the number in damages appropriate for your injuries. After both sides testify, the jury decides on a verdict.
Arizona is an at-fault state. This means that in the case of a car accident, the liable party must pay for any damages.
Both parties can be guilty, though. In this case, the jury will assign a percentage of blame to each party. Each is then responsible for their share of the damages.
If you received injuries in a car accident in the Phoenix area, we want to help. Contact Ybarra Maldonado Law Group today for a free consultation. Visit us at our website or give us a call at 602-910-4040.