Car Accident FAQs

Clients injured in Mesa car accidents often ask questions about Arizona auto and car accident laws. Some of the more frequently asked questions that Branham Law Offices, PC encounters and answers for clients include:

  • How are damages defined in a car accident case?
  • What types of damages may you recover for an Arizona auto accident?
  • How does a lawyer, jury, or insurance company arrive at a value for pain and suffering?
  • Can I recover damages if I was partially at fault for the car accident?
  • How is fault determined in a car accident?

How are damages defined in a car accident case?

Damages is the term used for compensation awarded based on the at-fault party's negligence or wrongdoing. The main factors that determine the outcome of any Mesa auto accident case are: who was at fault and the amount of damages caused by the accident. Under Arizona car accident laws you may recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

What types of damages may you recover for an Arizona auto accident?

Economic damages cover past or estimated future expenses, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage

Recoverable non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (deprivation of family member companionship and duties)
  • Discomfort
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anxiety
  • Disability

How does a lawyer, jury, or insurance company arrive at a value for pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is the most subjective damage to determine. A number of factors often play a role in deciding the value, such as the plaintiff's

  • Age
  • Occupation and income
  • Location of case filing
  • Lifestyle
  • Attitude as a witness
  • Pre-existing injury
  • Extent of medical treatment
  • Severity of injury

The attorney's competence, knowledge, and experience in presenting the above factors to favor the plaintiff's case also influences the value an insurance company or jury are willing to accept.

Can I recover damages if I was partially at fault for the car accident?

In Mesa and throughout Arizona, auto accident laws are based on pure comparative fault. A percentage of fault is assigned to various parties involved in the car accident. If you were partly at fault and injured in the accident, your percentage of fault is subtracted from the total amount of your damages. For example, if the accident totaled $20,000 in damages, and you were 10% at fault, you are entitled to $18,000 compensation.

How is fault determined in a car accident?

Typically, insurance adjusters assign percentages of fault in Mesa car accidents. After evaluating the circumstances of the accident, considering the Arizona traffic laws involved, and other influencing factors, the insurance adjuster arrives at a percentage of fault. A knowledgeable and skilled car accident lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster for a lower fault percentage. If negotiation does not result in obtaining a favorable settlement, your lawyer files a lawsuit to pursue a case. Sometimes filing suit persuades the insurance company to lower your fault percentage and offer better settlement proposals. Insurance companies generally prefer settling out of court. If not, the case proceeds to trial.

Click to read the misconceptions about auto accident litigation in Mesa and surrounding areas.