Top 10 Things to Know if You’ve Been Injured in an Auto Accident in Arizona
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Arizona, there are several things that you should know regarding your rights. There are also a number of steps you can take to help make your personal injury lawsuit as successful as possible. To that end, here are the top 10 things for you to take note of after you’ve been in a car accident in Arizona:
- You get to choose who tows your car. If your vehicle is damaged to the point where it cannot be driven, it will have to be towed from the scene. The police usually call a towing company that they have a relationship with. Don’t feel like you have to use that towing company – you have control of where your car goes. Choosing your own towing company may save you hundreds of dollars in towing and storage fees.
- You do not have to allow a claims adjuster to look at your vehicle first. Following an accident, you can have your Arizona car accident attorney look at the damage to your car before an insurance claims adjuster does.
- You can decide where you want your vehicle repaired. Insurance companies often have arrangements at certain auto body shops because they receive reduced rates. But you have the right to select the shop where your vehicle is repaired. However, keep in mind that the insurance company only has to compensate you for reasonable repair costs – so if your auto body shop charges more, you may have to pay the difference. Sometimes you will be able to negotiate if additional repairs are necessary.
- You only have two years to file an injury lawsuit. Generally, you only have two years from the time of injury to file a personal injury claim. But it is best to contact a knowledgeable Arizona car accident attorney as soon as possible because acting quickly will help preserve evidence that supports your side of the story when you’ve been injured.
- Document all of your injuries. It does not matter how minor your injury may be, keep a record of it. You never know when you might need to provide documentation to your insurance company or to the court. Keep a record of everything the doctor tells you – your diagnosis, prescribed treatment and any concerns the doctor may have. Be sure to get copies of any papers the doctor has.
- Do everything your doctor says. If your doctor prescribes medication, take it. If he or she recommends physical therapy, make an appointment – and keep it. Follow through with everything your doctor tells you and be sure to follow up with him or her.
- Proving pain isn’t enough. Simply being hurt in an accident is not enough to win a personal injury lawsuit. Before you can be compensated for your injuries you have to show actual damages for which you can be paid – such as medical bills, missed time from work or damage to property.
- Always tell the truth. The minute you are not entirely truthful or conceal important information, you are arming the defense with a valuable weapon to attack your case. In car accident cases, much of the evidence relies on your testimony, so if you come across as anything but credible, you could do serious damage to your case. In the electronic age it is not hard for attorneys to uncover all of your medical records and find that you forgot to tell your doctor about a previous injury.
- Don’t be surprised if someone is watching you. Some attorneys and insurance companies will hire private investigators to see if you are actually as injured as you claim. It is not that you are exaggerating your injuries, but all it takes is for someone to witness you taking out the garbage one time – because no one else was around to help you – to bring your credibility into question. Even more important in this digital age is what you say and do on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Investigators will check out your online activities, and Facebook photos of you waterskiing are not going to help your credibility.
- Communicate closely with your lawyer. Never sign any paperwork from the insurance company before you have talked to your lawyer. Signing a release or a statement could result in you inadvertently signing away your rights to pursue a lawsuit or further settlement. Always talk to your attorney when the insurance company contacts you or when you’re not sure what to do.
To prevent yourself from making a common mistake that could prohibit you from pursing a successful injury claim after an accident, contact an experienced Arizona car accident attorney in your area.