Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer

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Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney

The ability to use the civil legal process to collect compensation for injuries is a critical tool to ensure that those who have suffered costs through someone else’s mistakes are given the opportunity to get the money that they need. To exercise that option to its fullest, it’s important that you work with a skilled, experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer.

Injuries could come with medical costs, property damages, and intangible psychological costs. These things are the responsibility of those who caused the injury or, more likely, their insurance company. The civil process is a way to hold those at fault and their insurance companies accountable when they attempt to pay less than they actually owe.

At the Bleaman Law Firm, we understand what our clients need and are going through. Because we dedicate all of our time to personal injury cases, we have the in-depth experience necessary to make sure they get everything that they deserve.

What Does a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Do for Their Clients?

In the course of working with a personal injury client in Phoenix, a lawyer will take on a number of different roles. Everything they do, though, serves the purpose of getting their client fair and full compensation for what they’ve suffered. This process will often begin with a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the injury.

Whether your losses are the product of a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other form of injury, your lawyer will seek to uncover all potentially liable parties. They will also need to find evidence that can be used to demonstrate that liability.

Also read: How Do I Choose The Right Arizona Personal Injury Attorney For Me?

Additionally, they will be seeking to understand how the opposition’s lawyers might seek to argue for your liability. This could be important because if they can demonstrate you are liable, it may reduce your financial award. Your lawyer will need to be prepared to defend against such accusations.

Your lawyer will also be responsible for representing you, including both with the insurance companies and in the legal process if necessary. They will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company or defendant to seek an agreement that’s fair and serves your needs.

However, if such an agreement can’t be found, then your lawyer will be ready to argue for you in court. They will seek to prove liability on the part of the defendant and argue for the compensation that you seek.

Should I Settle My Claim or Go to Court?

Depending on the circumstances of your claim and the interests of the defendant or insurance company involved, there may be the possibility of settling a case rather than taking it to court. Whether or not you want to take that option will be up to you and will depend on the particulars of your situation. There are, though, some general things to keep in mind when considering the possibility of settling a case rather than taking it to court.

One thing to recognize is that a settlement usually comes about because both sides feel that they are gaining something by taking that option. For the defendant, this often means paying a little less than they may lose in a court case, along with the savings that come from not having to go to court. While that may seem like an overall negative from the position of the injured, it’s worth noting that there are some benefits for them as well.

One significant benefit to settling a case is that it can result in someone who’s been injured receiving their funds much more quickly than otherwise. By going to court, a case could take months or even years before there is a final resolution. For those who need funds quickly, settling may be the better option.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that taking a case to court always involves some level of risk. No matter how confident you feel in your claim, there is the possibility that it may not lead to the results that you’re hoping for. By settling a case, you eliminate that risk and will receive the agreed-upon amount.

Still, sometimes, an agreeable settlement can’t be reached, and going to court becomes the better option. Whether that’s the case for your personal injury claim will depend on the specifics of your case, the kind of evidence available, how agreeable the other party is, and several other factors. Your lawyer should be able to help you understand the options in your case and help you decide on the right choice for you.

How Is Negligence Proven in a Personal Injury Case?

The essential component of a personal injury case is proving negligence on the part of the defendant. If your lawyers can show that the defendant’s negligence led to your injuries, then you can collect damages that compensate for those injuries. They are liable for those costs.

In proving negligence, the burden of proof is on your lawyers. They must persuade the court that the defendant was at fault by using evidence, eyewitness testimony, expert witness testimony, and anything else that could persuade the court. The process of proving negligence can vary slightly depending on the type of personal injury case, but it will roughly involve proving three elements.

Proving the Defendant Had a Duty of Care

The first thing that it is necessary to prove in a personal injury case is known as a “duty of care.” This means that the defendant had a responsibility to consider how their actions could impact others around them in a given circumstance. There is a civil duty to have some level of caution about the impact our actions could have on others, and there are reasonable precautions that we owe to others to protect them from those effects.

A duty of care often involves a standard level of caution that should be present in a given situation. Persuading the court of what that standard should be will look different depending on the familiarity of the situation. For instance, because most people drive or are at least familiar with necessary caution when using a vehicle, describing the standard is fairly simple in an accident involving an automobile.

However, if there is a construction accident being considered, many of us are not always familiar with what are considered standard, reasonable precautions on a construction site. In the case of something specific like that, an expert witness can be helpful in making clear what the expectation is.

Establishing a Breach of Duty

After a duty to care is established, your lawyer must then prove something called a “breach of duty.” They must be able to show that something about what the defendant did fell short of the responsibility that they had. Again, the nature of this will be highly specific to the situation, but it’s important to recognize that the breach does not necessarily have to point to something that is illegal.

Oftentimes, something illegal in a given circumstance is a breach of duty, but the idea extends beyond that as well. In other words, a breach is something that doesn’t necessarily have to result in criminal charges. Often, there is no ill intent involved, and more often than not, it is an honest mistake.

A breach of duty could be an action that was taken or a failure to take an action. For instance, if you are skydiving and the business failed to perform sufficient safety checks of equipment, leading to an injury or wrongful death, then that inaction is a breach of duty.

Again, this is the kind of thing where an expert witness can be helpful. Your lawyer will need to be able to describe what should have happened, and they will also need to demonstrate what did happen. This means they must use evidence, testimony, and whatever else may be available to them to show exactly what the defendant’s actions were compared with what they should have been.

Linking the Breach of Duty to the Injury

Lastly, your lawyer must be able to show how the breach of duty led directly to the injuries that you suffered. This is important, as there are often breaches that occur which have nothing to do with an accident. For instance, the skydiving company may have been able to last years without an incident despite not following sufficient safety protocols.

Certainly, too, their failure to perform proper safety checks may be a breach but would have nothing to do with you getting in a car accident on the way home from jumping. In other cases, a breach could happen much closer to an accident but not contribute. For instance, speeding in a vehicle is a breach, but there are many situations where that may not have contributed to an accident.

In cases where an accident led to your injury, your lawyer will need to prove a connection between the two. They will need to be able to demonstrate how the breach created the accident and how the accident led to the injuries. This is critical, as some people have, in the past, attempted to pass off pre-existing conditions or injuries sustained after the accident as being caused by the accident.

In other situations, people have exaggerated the severity of the injuries they suffered. Therefore, your lawyer will need to be able to clearly describe the nature of the injuries and how they are a direct result of the accident created by the breach. This establishes that those injuries are the responsibility of the defendant.

What Is Compensated in a Phoenix Personal Injury Claim?

The compensation in a personal injury claim is paid out in what is known as “damages.” These damages are paid only to cover those costs which are a direct result of the injuries that you suffered. Here again, your lawyer will need to prove a connection. They must be able to prove the costs that you have suffered.

Only if that connection is established will damages be awarded to cover those costs. The damages in a personal liability case are usually paid out in two forms of damages and, occasionally, in a third form.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover the cost of things that have a clear financial component. If you’ve got a bill, paystub, or other documentation clearly outlining the monetary price of something, it’s probably compensated through economic damages. This includes things like:

  • Medical Bills – An injury often involves medical evaluation and treatment, which is compensated through economic damages. Medical evaluations, medications, surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and other medical expenses are all covered if it can be shown that they are a direct result of the injury. Future medical expenses are also covered if your injury is a more significant one and will require ongoing treatment.
  • Property Damage – Depending on the nature of the injury suffered, there could be damage to property involved. In the case of a car accident, for instance, there is likely damage to the vehicle. The cost of repairing or even replacing property that was damaged as a result of their negligence is also included in economic damages.
  • Lost Wages – More significant injuries can result in someone having to miss work. In most cases, missed work means not getting paid. These lost wages are also considered the responsibility of the negligent defendant, as they would likely have been earned if not for the injury.

In the most significant cases, the injured person might never be able to return to work again or can only return in a diminished capacity. If that’s the case, then the lost earning capacity and reduced future earnings can also be compensated through economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

The costs of an injury aren’t limited to those things that involve a bill. There are many situations where an injury creates a number of intangible costs that tend to be more psychological or emotional in nature. An injury can cause pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and other issues of a similar nature.

Although these things lack a monetary solution, they are still given an estimated value that is paid out in the non-economic damages category. The money isn’t expected to solve the problem, but it can be helpful in reducing stresses and burdens in other aspects of life, leaving you room to address these kinds of concerns.

Punitive Damages

There’s another set of damages that aren’t awarded in most personal injury cases but can be awarded in some qualifying circumstances. These are punitive damages and specifically act as a referendum against egregious behavior on the part of the defendant.

Typically, egregious behaviors will be limited to malicious intent or significantly reckless behavior. In these cases, punitive damages may be awarded as a punishment and deterrent for that kind of behavior. However, this is not most cases, and your lawyer can help you understand if there is a possibility for punitive damages in your claim.

How Could Comparative Negligence Affect the Damages in My Claim?

While Arizona has no damage caps on personal injury claims, the award in a personal injury claim could be reduced by the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this process, the defendant is given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff is also at fault for the injury. The defendant’s lawyers are then given the burden of proof and must demonstrate the components of negligence regarding the plaintiff.

If the defendant’s team is able to successfully argue that the plaintiff shares in the fault of the injuries, then the court will determine a percentage for both parties that represents their share of fault for the injuries. In many states, if the plaintiff’s share is greater than 50%, they are not allowed to collect damages. Because Arizona operates on a system of pure comparative negligence, though, this does not apply.

In Arizona, unless someone is 100% at fault, they will still be able to collect damages. However, the damages will be proportionately reduced based on their share of fault. For instance, on a damages award of $100,000, someone determined to be 30% at fault will only be able to collect $70,000.

Defending you against a claim of comparative negligence is one of the things your lawyer will need to do in the course of a case. Their investigation will, in part, involve looking for how to defend against these kinds of claims.

What Should I Do After I’ve Been Injured?

If someone else’s negligence has led to an injury for you, there are some things that you may want to consider in terms of how you can act to preserve your negotiation position or opportunity to collect damages.

Have a Medical Evaluation

One of the first things to do after you’ve suffered an injury is to get medical attention. If the injuries are serious, it’s possible that paramedics may be called to the scene. If that’s the case, it’s important to let them check for any traumatic injuries that you could have, especially since shock and adrenaline could lead to you not recognizing a potential injury. Paramedics are trained to identify the kinds of injuries you might not notice.

If you weren’t checked by paramedics, and even if you were, it’s still a good idea to visit a doctor for a medical evaluation. This is helpful because they can make sure that any injuries that are missed by the paramedics, who are focused on traumatic injuries, can be treated.

Additionally, you may be aware of some more injuries after shock and adrenaline have worn off. It’s also important to have the full documentation of the injuries that a doctor provides, as that will be helpful when proving an injury’s connection to the breach of duty by the defendant.

Avoid Admitting Fault and Document Evidence

It’s also important that you choose your words carefully when discussing the injuries. The defendant’s lawyers will be looking for anything that sounds like a confession of fault that they could use to argue that you’re to blame for the injuries. In particular, use caution when communicating with insurance agents, and when possible, you should probably let your lawyer communicate on your behalf.

A critical component of a personal injury claim is the evidence available to make your case. A big part of that evidence comes from documenting the situation. That process should, if your injuries allow, begin with the scene of the injuries. It’s helpful to have pictures of the injuries, any accident that was involved, and the scene in general.

Documentation is important as the process moves forward as well. It’s critical that you keep a record of both your injuries and the costs. Anything related to visiting the doctor, medical bills, property damage bills, and other costs should be held onto. In general, it’s a good idea to document as much as you can and allow your lawyer to sort through what’s most important and valuable to your case.

We Help Those Who’ve Been Injured Get the Compensation They Are Owed

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s mistake, negligence, or malice, then you likely have suffered a number of costs. In the case of a physical injury, there are probably a number of different medical bills that have begun to pile up.

If your property was damaged, then you’ve had to or need to pay to get it fixed or replaced. Most injuries come with some level of emotional or psychological cost as well. These things that build up and weigh on a person are the fault of those who caused the injury. According to civil law, they are responsible for providing compensation to those they’ve injured.

In many cases, it will be the insurance company that will be responsible for providing compensation, as those who have caused an accident are required to have a policy. Insurance companies, to put it kindly, are careful about what they pay out. On the one hand, we might note that what they pay out is something that comes off their bottom line. They are also concerned about the realistic issue of fraudulent claims.

That’s why it’s critical that you work with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer, like Marc Bleaman, who can make clear to anyone involved why you deserve the compensation that you’re seeking. If you’ve been injured by someone else and are seeking damages, contact us today.


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