Navigating the legal landscape of a car accident in Arizona requires both time and money. This is true for those cases involving traffic laws, serious fatalities, wrongful death claims, negligence and liability, and property damage.
But fault insurance laws in this state make the at-fault driver liable for losses in a car accident. Moreover, Arizona’s two-year timeframe for car accident claims gives a plaintiff ample time to put together a petition.
Here’s how you can start.
Reporting a Car Accident in Arizona
As per Arizona laws, people involved in a car accident must report the incident to local authorities. This is especially applicable in accidents that result in injury or sudden death and the property damage exceeds a total of $1,000.
Those involved must also make an effort to prevent a secondary crash by parking their vehicles off the mainline, offering assistance to the injured, activating hazard lights, and referring to ADOT guidelines.
Regardless of the mode of communication, whether written or oral, the accident must be reported to either:
- The nearest highway patrol office
- The office of the county sheriff
- The local police department
Those involved should also collect relevant information. These include a phone number, email address, license plate info, driver’s license number, and more. They can also take photos of the crash injuries and damage inflicted before the police arrive.
Arizona Car Accident Laws & Statutes
According to the 2021 Arizona Crash Facts, a total of 1,063 victims have died as a result of 121,345 crashes. Moreover, the regulatory issues surrounding vehicular mishaps are difficult to resolve, especially the cost of damage.
Currently, Arizona mandates drivers to reserve a minimum liability insurance plan. It should cover $15,000 per person for bodily injuries, $30,000 per accident for multiple injuries, and $10,000 for property damage.
How Is Fault Determined in Arizona Car Accident Cases?
The legal fault system for car accidents in Arizona mandates that if one meets with an accident, you need to rely on your personal protection insurance coverage (PIP) to make a claim for losses, like vehicle damage, injuries, and more.
Since Arizona follows a traditional fault system, civil courts and insurance companies follow the American tort system to determine liability. It means that the driver at fault must cover the physical and financial losses of the victims harmed in the car accident.
What’s the First Step in Filing a Car Accident Claim in Arizona?
Those involved in a car accident in Arizona must contact their insurance company right after the crash to begin a claims process. The state laws dictate that the at-fault driver’s policy is responsible for covering accidental losses. If you’re on the receiving end, it’s important to report the incident and notify your insurance company. This ensures you don’t violate any of the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.
What’s the Initial Time Frame for Handling a Car Accident Claim?
Once you’ve filed a claim, the insurance agency will conduct an investigation. The agency will gather necessary evidence relevant to the car accident claim. They will see whether the claims are accurate and estimate the cost of damage that ensued.
You can either hire an attorney on your own to issue your claim or process the claim with an attorney provided by your insurance company.
In the state of Arizona, an insurer and their insurance company have 40 days to complete the claims process, which includes:
- 10 working days for acknowledging the claims receipt and sending policy paperwork
- 15 working days for acknowledging proof-of-loss forms and completing paperwork
- 15 total days to address an accepted claim by sending the claimant a payment receipt
Sometimes, the insurance company needs more time to investigate. However, they must provide a valid reason to extend the processing time of an insurance claim.
What Is a Settlement Negotiation in Arizona for a Car Accident?
In case of the acceptance of a car accident claim, your attorney will move on to a settlement negotiation. A settlement in legal terms is a mutually agreeable financial remedy. Both parties involved will come to an agreement and drop the impending lawsuit.
In Arizona’s local courts, like the Mohave County, those involved in a car accident should settle the dispute before taking the matter to court. Either of the parties involved in the accident can request a settlement negotiation at will. The court can also issue it.
Note that the time frame for negotiation varies from case to case. If the insurance company makes it difficult for the claimant to receive compensation, this process can extend beyond six months. In simpler cases, matters can be resolved within three months, especially if you have a reliable attorney fighting for your claim.
What If the Car Accident Claim Is Rejected or Denied in Arizona?
When a car accident claim is denied, your next step is to get a court order or make an appeal. An appeal reviews how the claim has been processed, so it depends on the court system in Arizona. Legal authorities will check the timeline of your auto insurance claim. They will look for any abnormalities that support a wrongful insurance claim denial.
Learn More About Car Accident Settlements in Arizona
Most car accident claims in Arizona get resolved after a settlement between the parties involved.
But there are cases where the insurance company may refuse to compensate the said amount. Or, you feel the compensation isn’t fairly based on the losses.
When calculating a settlement proposal, the parties involved and their attorneys will consider a range of factors like car repairs, lost wages, and medical bills (both present and future), including the pain and anguish of the victims.
In Arizona, claimants have two years minimum from the date of the crash to file a civil lawsuit. A trial takes place once the lawsuit goes to court, though this can take months or even years to resolve. A car accident lawyer can help you through the claims process and give you the best options.