You have just been in a car accident in Arizona. You have injuries and significant property damages, as well as emotional distress. You might not know who is to blame for your auto accident, but you can still take steps to optimize your odds of recovering compensation for your losses. Protect your rights by obeying Arizona’s car accident laws in the aftermath of a crash. There are steps you must take from the scene and in the days following to ensure the validity of your insurance claim.
Stop Your Car
It is against the law to leave the scene of a car accident in Arizona without stopping and exchanging information first. To do so would be the crime of hit-and-run – an offense that can come with time in jail and hefty fines in Arizona. Always stop at the scene of an accident, including a collision with a parked unattended vehicle. Use your hazard lights and flares, if you have them, to warn other drivers about the accident. Assess yourself and others involved for any injuries. Call 911 and request an ambulance if someone is injured.
Report Your Auto Accident
In Arizona, you lawfully do not have to report your crash to law enforcement as a private citizen. Calling the police, however, could protect your rights and interests during a personal injury claim. The responding peace officer could create an official report that documents the key facts of your crash. The police can also cite the other driver for a broken roadway rule, such as speeding or drunk driving. If a police officer issues a citation at the scene of a crash or the accident causes deaths, injuries or over $1,000 in property damages, the officer must report the crash to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Gather Relevant Information
Collect what information you can while still at the scene of your Arizona car accident. You or your Glendale car accident lawyer could use this information later to prove the defendant’s liability for damages. Start with the defendant’s name and address, as well as a detailed description of the car accident. Take plenty of photographs of the crash site and your injuries, if possible. Write down your police report number and the names of any eyewitnesses. During the rest of your car accident claim, continue collecting important information and keeping copies of documents such as your medical records to help build a case against the defendant.
Obtain Medical Care
A cardinal mistake many crash victims make is to wait to go to the hospital in Arizona. Many victims believe they do not have injuries due to adrenaline masking symptoms. Others might not think their injuries are serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. Both are mistakes. Regardless of the circumstances of your crash, go to a hospital in Arizona immediately. Prompt medical care can lead to a successful claim by confirming your injuries and documenting them via medical records. Obtaining care right away could show an insurance company you did your part to minimize damages.
Report the Crash to an Insurance Company
Most auto insurance providers require claimants to file crash claims as soon as possible – usually within a day or two of the accident. You can file a preliminary claim with your insurer right away and explain that you do not yet have all of the information. Then, you can follow up later with more details as you discover them. Never admit fault to an insurance company during a car accident suit. Wait to accept a settlement offer until you have consulted with a Peoria personal injury attorney near you about the value of your case. Insurance providers in Arizona often try to lowball claimants.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Arizona
Consult with a lawyer for more information about the process of recovering fair compensation for your crash-related losses, injuries and damages in Arizona. A car accident attorney could improve your chances of recovering a fair award. Your lawyer can help you collect the facts, piece together a case, and fight for maximum restitution from one or more defendants.