Personal Injury Settlements in Arizona
A lot of people think that when they file a lawsuit against someone, they’re going to walk away with millions of dollars. Rarely does this happen. Your Arizona personal injury attorney can only demand damages for injuries you actually suffered. Just because you’re involved in a car accident, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to compensation. The same is true with a slip and fall. If you fall at the grocery store but don’t get hurt, you really have no basis to sue. This may not be what you want to hear. It is better to know the truth going in. If you meet with an experienced personal injury attorney in Arizona, they’ll let you know up front whether you have a case or not.
In order to be entitled to any damages, your lawyer is going to have to prove negligence. In other words, they’ll have to show that the defendant didn’t act the way a reasonable person would have acted given the circumstances. In order to prove negligence, they need to demonstrate the following four (4) things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – It’s important that you be able to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care. This isn’t always that hard to do. If you’re involved in a car accident, you need to show that the other driver owed you this duty. At a minimum, drivers are required to obey all traffic laws. If the defendant breaks the law, they are in breach of this duty. Your attorney will submit the necessary evidence to show that they had a duty in the first place.
- The defendant breached their duty of care – This is typically the hardest thing to prove in your Arizona personal injury lawsuit. It’s not enough that you were injured. You need to specifically show that the other driver did something the normal person wouldn’t have done. For example, let’s consider a driver who was drinking and driving. They crash into you going 80 mph in a 45-mph zone. The fact that they were speeding is probably enough to show that they breached their duty. But the added fact that they were drinking and driving makes it even easier to prove your case.
- You were injured – As mentioned above, you need to show that you suffered an injury in order to demand compensation. If you weren’t hurt in the accident, then you aren’t going to be entitled to damages. This is why Arizona personal injury lawyers always tell their clients to go to the hospital after their accident. You need to be able to prove your medical injuries. The best way to do this is by submitting a copy of your medical records. If you don’t go to the hospital for treatment, you won’t have this proof.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach – It’s not that difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s behavior. Unless something else intervened, they would be presumed to have caused your injuries. There are cases where this doesn’t happen. Imagine that you have been using drugs at the time of your accident. You end up overdosing at the scene. You are revived, but you suffer significant brain damage. If the defendant can show that you would’ve overdosed regardless of their smashing into you, it will hurt your claim.
In order to get you the money you deserve, your attorney has to prove all of these elements of negligence. If they’re able to do so, there’s a good chance you’ll receive compensation. Rather than take your chances in court, your Arizona personal injury lawyer will recommend that you settle your case instead.