Useful Information For Arizona Accident Victims
What should I do if I am injured in an accident?
You should seek immediate medical attention and follow the doctor’s instructions.
If you are able, you should get the names, addresses, telephone numbers and insurance information of any other persons involved, most importantly the name of the person at fault and other pertinent information which the situation requires. If you are not able to do so, ask a responsible person to do this for you.
As soon as you are able, you should consult a lawyer, preferably our firm. You will be pleased you did. In the meantime, you should not make any statements, written, recorded or oral, to anyone concerning your accident or injuries without first getting our approval. Any statement you give may be used against you to reduce or deny your recovery. Do not sign medical authorizations which the insurance adjusters may present to you and do not accept early offers of settlement, even if you are short of money.
How do I find out if I have a case?
You may have a “case” if you have been seriously injured due to the negligence or fault of someone else. The best way to find out if you have a case is to consult a lawyer. You can call us for a free consultation at (602) 265-2211 or (800) 354-6500, submit our short and simple case form or contact us online.
What information will you need from me?
The more information you give us, the more efficient and effective we can be in evaluating and processing your claim. The following is a short check-list of information that we will need:
- Names and addresses of all parties involved in the accident
- Names and addresses of all witnesses that saw or might have seen or have knowledge about the accident
- The identity of the investigating police officer, his or her badge number, which police force City (Police) , County (Sheriff), State (DPS) and the police report number, if possible
- All information given at the scene of the accident
- A description of what happened
- Copies of any photographs you or somewhat else have taken of the vehicles involved, the accident scene and the injuries. If photos have not been taken, take them before the injuries heal or the car is repaired.
- Copies of all medical bills as you receive them
- Insurance information (The first page of your auto insurance policy relating to the vehicle involved in the accident, if an auto accident.). Information regarding any and all other health insurance and/or other insurance which may provide coverage, ie. uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured, etc. .
- Accurate records of lost wages or time off for doctor appointments
What are some other helpful suggestions?
- If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, be sure to take photographs of it before it is repaired. Use color film and take photos from several different vantage points. If you think the frame is damaged and there is visible evidence to that effect, be sure to film this. If you do not have a camera or do not have success with your photo attempts, call us and we’ll be sure to complete the task.
- Provide us with any photographs or videos which you take of the vehicles involved in the accident, the accident scene and the injuries which you or others have taken. You may wish to keep a copy for yourself for future reference.
- Keep us advised of all medical providers you see and, if possible, tell us in advance whom you intend to see. We are familiar with a good percentage of the medical community throughout the State and can help to assure that you are being seen by physicians who are well qualified and also who will be cooperative as forensic expert witnesses. We can recommend doctors to you, many of whom will work on a lien. We can also help you to make payment arrangements with your medical providers so that your medical follow-up is not unnecessarily interrupted and your credit rating will be protected.
- Consistent and conscientious treatment is very important to assure you speedy recovery and also is important in documenting your claim so we can maximize your recovery. If you are late for or miss your doctors appointments, it can seriously compromise or jeopardize our ability to make a good recovery on your behalf.
- You should conscientiously pursue your treatment and return to work as soon as the doctor confirms that you are ready. Be sure to discuss your employment situation with the doctor, so he or she will note any work restrictions in your medical records.
- Do not change physicians without advising us first. Too many changes in physicians can be interpreted by the insurance adjuster as “doctor shopping” and can be harmful to your case, not to mention your health.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations. It they don’t make sense to you, give us a call and let us discuss the situation with you.
- Keep copies of all bills and receipts from the medical providers’ offices and for prescriptions. Forward them to our office for our file, so we can stay current with you claim.
- Save all pill bottles, casts, braces, and any other items from your doctors
- Keep us advised concerning anything that you believe may have a bearing on your case. We would prefer to hear from you too often versus too little. We are here to help you.
- If your are injured and in pain and discomfort, but do not see a doctor, your claim will have little value to either an insurance adjuster, a jury or a judge.
- When you do seek treatment, the medical provider will enter your subjective complaints and his or her objective findings in the records. It is important you are fully descriptive to him or her concerning the problems you are having.
- Undergoing treatment including physical therapy can be boring and very time consuming. Use common sense concerning how often you are treating and whether the treatments are beneficial to your recovery.
- Generally the doctor should formulate a treatment plan which should include an estimate concerning how long the treatment will take and what the goals will be. This plan should be communicated to you. It may take longer than expected, but the doctor should express an interest in returning you to full health status. Some injuries, of course, may be permanent in nature, but the doctors should still have a plan and should discuss it with you.
- If you have been treating for awhile and don’t feel like you are making progress in your recovery, be sure to talk to the doctor about this. Insurance adjusters generally expect that you should be showing reasonable progress in your recovery through treatment and sometimes may declare certain of your bills/treatment to be “unnecessary and unreasonable”. Their declaration may be wrong, but good communication is essential between you and the doctor.
- Keep us advised of any changes of address and/or telephone number. Also advise us of any changes in your job, job responsibilities, pay.
- If you believe we are not communicating with you sufficiently or in some other way are not performing our duties for you, tell us directly. We encourage you to be up front with us so we can answer your needs and give you the best service possible.
What is the most important thing I can do?
The most important thing you can do is to GET WELL. Please follow your doctor’s advice closely. This includes being prompt for your doctor’s appointments and following up conscientiously with the treatment prescribed. Be truthful regarding any prior injuries or accidents and, if you can’t recall, say so. Until all of your injuries have been diagnosed and your condition resolved or stabilized, you should remain under doctor’s care.
When will my case be settled?
Generally your case will not be settled until you are fully recovered. Of course, the speed of recovery varies with each person. If you are seriously injured, your case will take longer to settle. The process of negotiating with insurance companies can be time-consuming and, at times, very frustrating. We do our best to resolve your case as soon as it is reasonably possible. Insurance companies these days, however, are trying to hold onto their money as long as they can and thus, in order to ensure a good settlement, litigation often times may be necessary. You are ultimately the one who decides whether to settle your case or go to trial. As your attorneys, we will give you our best thoughts and make a recommendation based upon our many years of experience, but the final decision is yours.
How much is my case worth?
It is difficult at the outset of a case to determine how serious your injuries are and how much treatment they will require. As a result, the ultimate value of your case is difficult to determine at the outset. Remember no one can responsibly predict the value of your claim until all of the evidence that affects it has been gathered.
There are many other questions which you may have after you are initially involved in an accident. Please give us a call at (602) 265-2600 or (844) 224-0054 or contact us on-line. We would be happy to discuss your case with you at no cost or obligation to you.