Tucson. 36 holes of golf. Your lucky 9-iron. It's the perfect getaway destination for you and your husband. The city's mild climate and excellent golf courses always brings you back for more. You have a 7:00am tee time at the Lodge at Ventana Canyon and don't want to be late. As you are speeding down Craycroft Road, spilling your marble mocha macchiato on your leather seats, you look down for just a moment to check your phone. It's a second too long. You veer into traffic and clip the car next to you.
As you sit in your front seat with your airbag fully deployed you ask yourself, "What now?" If you've never been in a car accident before, you probably have many questions. Here's some general information about the process should you or someone close to you need to know what to do after a car accident in Tucson.
Should I Stay at the Scene of the Accident?
Arizona law requires you to stop. Never leave the scene of an accident. You will need to cooperate by providing truthful information to the Tucson Police or sometimes to your employer if the accident happened while you were on the job.
That's' not all. You'll need to exchange information with the other driver(s) or render reasonable assistance to the injured. If you leave, you could be charged with hit-and-run and face severe penalties such a suspended or revoked driver's license and possible jail or prison time.
Get Medical Attention
Get medical treatment right away (even if you don't think you are hurt). It's always a good idea to see your doctor after an accident of any kind. Sometimes, symptoms of serious injuries appear later. Having a record of receiving medical treatment will also be helpful if you make a legal claim later.
What information will be helpful to my attorney in pursuing my Tucson Car Accident Claim?
Consider making note of traffic and weather conditions. Draw a simple diagram of the collision scene and/or take photographs if you are able. Use your handy Smartphone to take pictures. Get pictures of the cars and where they hit each other or other objects, physical injuries, skid marks and broken glass.
Photographs of any injuries can help lawyers substantiate damages related to medical treatment and pain and suffering. The timing of these pictures is critical. As wounds heal, they do not appear as serious. Take pictures early on and at each stage of the healing process. Other information that might be helpful include your medical records and bill, prescription records, lost wage information, and a copy of the police report.
What is the Minimum Amount of Car Insurance Arizona Driver's Must Have?
Arizona state law requires you to have liability insurance for all registered vehicles. This includes: ready for it? Golf carts, motorcycles and mopeds.
Here are the state minimums:
- $15,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 for two or more people;
- $10,000 per accident for property damage
What if an Arizona Driver Doesn't Have Liability Insurance?
If you get into an accident, the cops will want to see proof of insurance. If you don't have insurance, don't try the old, "My dog ate my insurance card," line. It won't work. Why? Your insurance company notifies Arizona Motor Vehicle Services (MVD) of all policy cancellations, nonrenewals and new policies. Someone's gonna find out eventually.
If you don't maintain at least liability coverage, your vehicle registration and/or driver license could be suspended. If you want to reinstate these privileges, fees and future proof of financial responsibility must be filed with MVD. The future proof requirement is most commonly an SR22 form from an insurance company. These are expensive, especially since the law requires the owner to carry the SR22 for three years from the date of suspension.
What role do insurance companies play in this?
As soon as you can, report the crash to your insurance company. Your carrier will open an investigation. Be honest with the adjuster, but remember you don't have to automatically accept their estimate or appraisal. Here's a list of do's and don'ts when speaking with insurance adjusters.
What if the accident was partially my fault and partially the fault of the other driver?
Arizona is known as a "comparative negligence" state. If you are completely without fault and the other driver is 100% responsible for the accident, that driver or his insurance company is responsible for 100% of your damages.
However, if the other driver is 70 percent responsible and you are 30 percent responsible, the other driver or his insurance company is responsible for only 70 percent of the damages, and you or your insurance company will be responsible for the remaining 30 percent of your own damages.
What Damages Are Available?
If you have suffered harm from the accident, you can seek money damages for your loss. These damages may include lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more.
What if I Decide to Go to File a Lawsuit?
If you do decide to sue, your attorney will provide details about where and when to appear in court. Many lawyers take auto accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Basically, a plaintiff does not pay the lawyer his or her attorney fees if they lose the case. If they win, then they pay the lawyer a percentage of the money they get. A settlement is considered a "win." In most situations though, the case begins by filing a claim. Here's a list of courthouses in Pima County.
Get Legal Help After Your Car Accident in Tucson
When determining what to do after a car accident in Tucson it is important to seek information quickly. In Arizona, folks have a two-year statue of limitation period in which to file a lawsuit or be forever barred from bringing such a claim. When unsure what to do, a Tucson car accident lawyer may be able to help. Contact a local car accident attorney to discuss your accident and learn more about your potential claim.