Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of cases do you handle?
- What will it cost for Price & Price to represent me?
- Do I need a lawyer?
- I wasn't at fault - what compensation am I entitled to?
- How long will it take to settle my claim?
- What if we can't settle and have to sue?
- What to do if you're in a car accident
- Statutes of limitations
- A guide to auto insurance terms
- Your auto insurance policy - does it protect you or the other guy?
- Recommended auto insurance coverage and limits
What Types Of Cases Do You Handle?
We represent people who have been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligent actions of others. Typically, our clients have been injured in some kind of vehicular accident (automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.), or have lost a loved one in an accident, or as a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle. Other cases involve dog bites, slipping/tripping at a store or other place, or getting injured while on the job due to the negligence of someone or something other than your employer.
If someone's negligence results in another person's death, a civil claim can be made against the negligent person. This is called a wrongful death claim. We represent people who have lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of someone, generally from an automobile accident.
- All vehicle accidents:
- Auto / motorcycle / bicycle / truck / bus / aircraft / boats
- Pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Dog Bites
- On-the-job Injuries
- Insurance Claims
- Wrongful Death Claims
What Will It Cost For Price & Price To Represent Me?
All of our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that the fee is based upon a percentage of the total amount recovered. Our usual and customary percentage is one-third (1/3) of the total amount recovered. If there is no recovery, there is no fee payable to our firm. In all cases the fee charged is fair and reasonable under the circumstances.
All necessary out-of-pocket costs and expenses incurred by our firm in pursuing a claim are the responsibility of the client. These costs may include court filing fees and other litigation expenses, costs for obtaining records, for private investigators, for outside copying, etc., and which are incurred by the firm in asserting the claim. These costs/expenses are in addition to the agreed-upon contingency fee. In most cases costs are advanced by the firm, and the client is not required to pay anything until the case settles.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
You need an injury lawyer when:
- You have been involved in an accident that is not your fault.
- You were injured in the accident.
- You want to be informed regarding your rights and have someone who specializes in injury cases protect your rights, including collection of the fair and reasonable compensation you deserve.
The attorneys at PRICE and PRICE have years of experience and the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively deal with insurance companies, interpret insurance policies, evaluate claims, and protect the rights of injured persons so that they are fairly compensated. Call us. We offer a FREE consultation, and you are under no obligation to hire us.
I Wasn't At Fault - What Compensation Am I Entitled To?
If you were injured because of the negligent actions of someone else, you are entitled to be compensated for all medical bills, lost wages (including any sick or vacation time used), and your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering includes restriction of your activities, disruption of your normal life and lifestyle, and other negative consequences from your injuries.
If your vehicle was damaged because of the negligent actions of someone else, you are entitled to be compensated for having your vehicle repaired. If your vehicle is considered a total loss (the estimated cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds its fair market value) you are entitled to be paid the fair market value of your vehicle. In some cases, you may be entitled to collect for lost vehicle value resulting from extensive damage/repairs. This is because your vehicle will not be as desirable (valuable), even if the repairs are done well.
How Long Will It Take To Settle My Claim?
How long it takes from the time of your injury until the time of settling your claim varies from case to case. The first phase is the most important (and the most variable) - it's the time it takes for you to recover from your injuries. Depending on the severity of your injuries and how much medical treatment you need, this could take from a couple months to a year or more.
Once you have recovered, we collect all your pertinent medical records and bills and other documentation of your injuries and damages, obtain important information from you regarding your pain and suffering and other consequences from your injuries, and prepare a formal settlement package to send to the insurance carrier for the party at fault for the accident. Generally, it takes anywhere from a month to three months from the time you complete treatment to the time we actually settle your claim.
What If We Can't Settle And Have To Sue?
Our goal in each case is to obtain for our client a recovery that is fair and reasonable under the circumstances, to the full extent of the law. In most cases, a fair recovery is possible through the settlement process with the insurance carrier. However, when the opposition refuses to be fair, we file lawsuits and utilize the legal system to enforce our clients' rights and obtain a full and fair recovery. We do whatever is necessary to make certain that each case is successful. This can include utilization of various types of legal proceedings, such as settlement conferences, arbitration, mediation, or jury trials.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE IN A CAR ACCIDENT
- Call 911.
- Offer help to any injured person and/or seek medical attention immediately if you are injured.
- Obtain the name, address, telephone number and insurance information from the other driver(s).
- If possible, get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
- Do not move your vehicle until the police have arrived, unless it is likely to cause another accident.
- Inform the investigating officer of the facts of the accident, and your injuries. If you think the other driver(s) may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, inform the officer.
- Promptly report the accident to your insurance company, and take photos of your vehicle damage.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.
At the scene do not discuss fault with anyone except the investigating officer. Later, do not discuss the accident or your injuries with anyone except your health care providers, your own insurance representative, and your lawyer.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Arizona law provides for a time limit during which a claim must be settled or a lawsuit initiated for injury or death claims. The time limit is known as the Statute of Limitations. If a complaint is not filed in the proper court within the time limit set by Arizona law, the right to recover compensation may be lost.
The following is a brief summary of the most common Statutes of Limitations:
- Personal Injury (most car accidents) - 2 years from the date of injury.
- Dram Shop (Providers of Alcohol) - Usually 1 year from the date of injury. If you are injured by a person who has been over-served alcohol and this action caused or contributed to your injury, you may have a claim against the business that provided the alcohol to the person who injured you.
- Dog Bites - (Varies) Usually 1 year from the date of injury.
- Slip and fall/premises liability - 2 years from the date of injury.
- Medical Malpractice - 2 years after the cause of action accrues.
- Wrongful death claims - 2 years from the date of death.
- Work Injuries Caused by Third Parties - 1 year from the date of injury. If a person is injured while on the job as a result of the negligence of a third party (i.e., someone other than a co-employee or employer), that person may be entitled to compensation in addition to Worker's Compensation benefits. However, Arizona law prevents an employee from suing an employer if a claim for Worker's Compensation benefits has been made.
- Governmental Entity or Employee
If you have a claim against a governmental entity (city, county, state, school districts, or their personnel who are acting during the course and scope of their employment) a Notice of Claim must be served upon the governmental entity within 180 days of the date of the injury. If an injured party fails to serve the Notice of Claim within the 180 days the claim is barred. If the entity does not agree to settle the claim, then a lawsuit must be filed in the proper court within one year of the date of injury.
- When the Injured Person is a Minor
When the person who has suffered an injury is under the age of eighteen, the statute of limitations will not expire until the statute of limitations time period has run after the minor's eighteenth birthday (i.e., for personal injuries: date of 18th birthday + 2 years = Statute of Limitations, which is the same as the claimant's 20th birthday.)
- When the Injured Person is Incompetent or Insane
When a person who is insane or incompetent suffers an injury, statute of limitations will not expire until the statute of limitations time period has run after the disability ceases.
A GUIDE TO AUTO INSURANCE TERMS
Coverage Regarding Injuries:
Liability coverage - When you are at fault for an accident, your insurance company pays for the other person's injuries and damages, up to the limits of coverage you bought. Arizona statute requires that any vehicle driven on the road be covered by a liability policy, the minimum amount being $15,000 per person, $30,000 per incident (your insurance company will pay up to $15,000 for each injury claim, but not more than $30,000 total, for all claims combined).
Uninsured motorist coverage - When you are injured by a driver who doesn't have any insurance coverage, your own insurance company will pay for your injuries and damages.
Underinsured motorist coverage - When you are injured by a driver who has auto insurance, but the fair value of your claim is more than the at-fault driver's insurance coverage, your own insurance company will pay the difference.
Medical payments coverage - When you or anyone in your household, plus any passengers in your vehicle, are injured in an automobile accident, no matter who is at fault, this coverage will pay all reasonable and necessary medical bills. If you weren't at fault for the accident, this is in addition to what you collect from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Coverage Regarding Vehicles:
Property Damage - Pays for damage you cause to someone else's vehicle. The minimum amount required by law is $10,000.
Comprehensive - Pays for damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than a collision, or for theft of your motor vehicle. A general rule of thumb is that you must carry comprehensive and collision coverage if you are still making car payments. If your vehicle is totally paid off, then the coverage is discretionary.
Collision - Covers when your vehicle is damaged in an accident with another vehicle.
Towing - Provides for towing of your vehicle in situations of breakdown or automobile accident. This is similar to a motor club coverage; however, it is often much less expensive through your auto insurance carrier.
Car Rental - Provides for an amount to be paid toward a rental car for a specific number of days if your vehicle is damaged and undriveable, or is in a body shop due to a motor vehicle accident. It is recommended that you obtain at least $25 per day coverage. If you are in need of a vehicle larger than a compact, then you should increase your rental car coverage to a minimum of $40 per day. Rental car coverage also has a maximum total payout offered by the insurance carriers. Please be sure to contract for a large enough total payout to cover a minimum of a 30-day repair time.
Gap - Pays the difference on your auto loan between the total loss fair market value of your vehicle and the total amount that you still owe on your auto loan. The difference between what you owe and what your car is worth is considered the gap referred to in this coverage.
Keeper - Gives the insured an added option upon collision of their vehicle to total the vehicle out and have the insurance company keep the vehicle. Without a keeper plan, the insurance carrier by state law can pay the lesser of the cost of repair or the fair market value of the vehicle.
YOUR AUTO INSURANCE POLICY - DOES IT PROTECT YOU OR THE OTHER GUY?
If you only have liability coverage on your auto insurance policy, you haven't done a good job of protecting yourself, your family, or anyone else who rides in your vehicle. Liability coverage applies if you are liable (at fault) and cause injuries or damages to someone else. To the limits of your coverage, your insurance carrier will compensate the injured person(s) so you don't have to pay the damages out of your own pocket. Liability coverage only comes into play when you're at fault. What about when the other guy is at fault?
If you are injured, and the driver at fault has liability coverage, then there's a good chance your bills and other damages will be taken care of. But what if you have $50,000 in medical bills, and the other driver has only $15,000 in liability coverage (the minimum amount required by law in Arizona)? Who pays the rest? Or, what if you're injured by one of the huge numbers of drivers in Arizona who don't have any auto insurance? Who pays for your injuries and damages then?
It is estimated that 30% of drivers in Arizona are uninsured, and another 35% to 40% of drivers are underinsured - they have only the minimum coverage of $15,000 per person. Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage take care of you. This coverage is optional, but takes care of the problem of being injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. If the at-fault driver is uninsured - no insurance coverage at all - then your UM (uninsured motorist) coverage will cover your claim. If the at-fault driver's policy isn't enough to cover your bills, lost wages and other damages, then the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage of your policy will kick in and pay the balance of the fair value of your claim. And, if you were not at fault, your rates cannot go up for using either the UM or UIM portions of your insurance policy.
Medical payments is another very important coverage that protects you and your family no matter who is at fault for an accident. Your medical payments coverage pays all reasonable and necessary medical bills for treating injuries suffered by you, or anyone in your household, that occur in your own vehicle, when you are in someone else's vehicle, when you are on a bicycle and hit by a vehicle, or when you're a pedestrian and hit by a vehicle. If the accident happens in your insured vehicle, coverage extends to any passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident, no matter who is at fault. If you weren't at fault for the accident, this is in addition to what you collect from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Even if you have health insurance, medical payments coverage is still very important. Most health insurance plans in Arizona are health maintenance organizations (HMOs) which limit the doctors you can see and what kind of treatment is covered. You may need to see a doctor or specialist who is not covered under your health insurance policy. Also, HMOs generally don't cover chiropractic care, acupuncture, or massage therapy - and these kinds of treatment are generally very effective in treating whiplash-type auto injuries. The medical payments coverage with most auto insurance companies will pay for chiropractic and other treatment. This gives you much more flexibility to get the treatment you need to recover from your accident injuries.
RECOMMENDED AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGE AND LIMITS
- Personal Injury Liability: $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident.
- Property Damage Liability: $50,000
- Medical payments: At least $10,000 if you have health insurance; at least $25,000 if you don't have health insurance.
- Uninsured motorist (UM): $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident. (You are not allowed to buy more than what you purchase for liability coverage.)
- Underinsured motorist (UIM): $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident. (You are not allowed to buy more than what you purchase for liability coverage.)
- Comprehensive: Covers theft, windshield damage, and any damage not from a collision. The higher the deductible the lower the premium.
- Collision: Covers vehicle damage from a collision. The higher the deductible the lower the premium. (This coverage becomes less important with older vehicles.)