Driving in a vehicle is probably the riskiest thing you do
Do you need car accident lawyers? More than 2.2 million Americans every year suffer permanent injuries in a car accident, with many more suffering minor injuries.1 Over 33,700 Americans die in car accidents.2
Gage Mathers has helped thousands of car accident victims. While our focus at the end of your case is maximizing your financial recovery, in the beginning, we are focused on your medical recovery. It is vitally important that you are evaluated by a medical professional and that you follow their treatment advice. Our staff is here to help you focus on getting better so you can let us worry about the legal issues.
You generally only get one chance to go after the other driver for causing a car crash, so you need to choose the right law firm early on. You need a law firm that is invested in you and your case, has substantial experience, is known for its results, and is not afraid of trial. That is why thousands of people have trusted their cases with Gage Mathers. We have a national reputation for getting results for our clients—maximizing the compensation they receive from a car accident case. Contact us to see how we can help you.
Car accidents lead to death and disability, property damage, as well as financial costs to both society and the individuals involved. A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision, including vehicle design, speed of operation, road design, road environment, and driver skill, impairment due to alcohol or drugs, and behavior, notably speeding and street racing. In Arizona, the three biggest causes of car accident deaths are alcohol, speeding, and distracted driving. This tracks national statistics.3 Interestingly, the number of alcohol-related deaths is on the decline, while the incidence of distracted driving deaths is on the rise.
In 2019, more than 38,000 Americans died in car accidents.4 Over 980 of those people were killed in Arizona crashes, resulting in over $9.3 billion in economic losses. Arizona had over 129,750 car accidents, resulting in total economic losses of almost $18.5 billion. That is more than the GDP of almost half the countries in the world!
Since 2011, Arizona has seen a steady increase in the number of car accidents—rising from 103,958 to 129,750. This percentage increase actually correlates with the percentage increase in registered vehicles. In other words, more vehicles on the roads means more car crashes. Thankfully, though, the number of fatalities has only risen a minor amount—rising from 827 to 982.
Arizona data shows you are least likely to have a car accident between the hours 8:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., likely because there are far fewer vehicles on the road. Not surprisingly, you are more likely to have a car accident during rush hour (e.g., 3:00 p.m. – 5:59 p.m.). The number of fatalities does not follow the same logic. Peak times for traffic fatalities are the 3:00 p.m. hour, and 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., with an uptick between 11:00 p.m. and 12:59 a.m.
When you factor in the day of the week, you can see that the highest percentage of crashes occur Monday through Friday between 3:00 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. During those times, people are likely tired after working all day, distracted by thinking about what they need to do when they get home, focusing attention on conversations or texts with family and friends, or trying to catch up on what they missed during the day. The least number of crashes are on the weekend—fewer people on the road.
The number of cars on the road and likely explanations for car accidents do not correlate with fatalities. Saturday (162) and Sunday (145) are the deadliest days, while Monday (102) and Tuesday (118) are the least deadly days. The single deadliest time for car accidents is Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. (i.e., it is possible that was a statistical anomaly caused by one crash).
Since alcohol is a significant cause of car accident fatalities, it is not surprising that the deadliest periods on the road are from Friday at 8:00 p.m. to Saturday at 2:59 a.m. and from Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to Sunday at 2:59 a.m.
If you are driving during any of the times discussed above, try to be more attentive to your driving and watch out for other drivers that are not doing the same. With the vast majority of crashes being rear-end collisions, you want to make sure you are slowing down way before you need to stop in hopes that the person behind you will respond with enough time to avoid hitting you.
If you, or someone you care about, is hurt in a car accident, call the experienced car accident lawyers at Gage Mathers now. We have successfully handled thousands of car crash cases, from simple fender benders to multi-vehicle pileups. We will manage all legal aspects of your case while you focus on getting through this difficult time. We will keep in frequent contact with you to make sure nothing is missed. We’ve developed innovative methods to deliver legal services focused on getting you justice and the results you deserve.
What to do After a Car Accident
What you do after a car accident can have significant ramifications on your health, safety, and ability to hold the responsible driver accountable for causing the crash.
1. Do NOT Exit Your Vehicle Until it is Safe
The moments after a crash can be confusing, not only for you but other drivers on the road. Since distracted drivers are becoming more common, it is possible another driver approaching your crash might not realize it right away, especially if traffic has not fully slowed down. Therefore, stay in your vehicle until it is safe. Look around and make sure no one is barreling towards you. Then make sure that you are okay enough to get up and walk. You might not realize you have a head injury, which could cause you to become dizzy or lose your ability to stand. If, after talking with the other driver, you decide to move your vehicles to a safer location, take photos of the crash before doing so. Moving your vehicle out of the roadway is much safer, especially at night. Either way, use your vehicle’s emergency lights, reflective emergency triangles, or flares if you have them.
2. Collect Information
You will need to provide a driver’s license and proof of insurance to the police, so make sure you have those on hand. You will also want to get this information from the other driver and provide your information. Avoid yelling at the other driver or antagonizing them. Trust us when we tell you that there is nothing to be gained by that, but if your case makes it to Court it could make you look bad. We recommend you take a photo of the other driver’s license and insurance card. You should also take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, the people involved, and your injuries. Photographs help tell a story and are valuable pieces of evidence. We also recommend taking with any witnesses and taking video, if possible, of them identifying themselves, their contact information, and their description of what they saw. This will be very helpful in proving the crash was not your fault. Memories fade, but video is forever. When you have a moment, you should also record your memory of what happened.
3. Call the Police
In Arizona, state law requires you to immediately notify the local police, sheriff, or highway patrol if you are involved in an accident causing injury or death.5 It is also good to do because the responding officer will complete an Arizona Crash Report that identifies who was involved in the crash, who owns the vehicles, which automobile insurance companies are involved, and what happened in the crash. It will also include citations if any driver violated Arizona driver’s laws. This will help establish liability in your injury case.
4. Get Medical Care
Even a minor crash can cause serious injuries from muscle or ligament tears to concussions. With the initial adrenaline rush, you might not realize you were injured. Most people experience pain the night or morning after the crash. Some people also suffer emotional symptoms, including a fear of getting back in a car. This is all normal and it is all treatable. Before rushing back to work or school, or dealing with other issues in your life, you should see a doctor. Best case, the doctor tells you everything is okay and gives you peace of mind that there is nothing to worry about. Worse case, the doctor identifies something that requires additional attention. Listen to your doctor, but also listen to your body. If the doctor says you are fine but you are not feeling better, or if the doctor says you need treatment but you feel okay, see a different doctor for a second opinion.
5. Keep Track of Everything
- Maintain a Pain Journal to help your doctors and lawyer understand what you are experiencing.
- Keep a list of all your providers (e.g., ambulance, hospital, PCP, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.).
- Document time away from work, or school, whether or not covered by sick leave.
- Note any missed promotions or raises that you might have qualified for.
- Keep a list of activities you could not do or that you did with pain (e.g., difficulty sleeping, difficulty performing daily household activities or caring for family members, inability to exercise, impact on personal relationships, change in mood).
6. Call Gage Mathers
Gage Mathers is an elite personal injury firm with significant experience helping car accident victims. We have helped thousands of clients obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries and damages.
Should I hire a lawyer after a car accident?
The answer is yes.
In Arizona, injury victims are entitled to compensation for:
- The nature, extent, and duration of the injury;
- The pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of the injury;
- Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future;
- Lost earnings to date, and any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life, that is, the participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed before the injury.
RAJI (Civil) 6th Ed.6
You want an injury lawyer who is knowledgeable, experienced, and knows how to get results. Insurance companies are not in the business of giving away money. They are usually traded on the stock market, which means they are in the business of making money for shareholders. Not you. As a result, most states created laws requiring your insurance company to look out for your interests; although, most insurance companies have been fighting against this. The problem is, laws about good faith and fair dealing do not always apply to the other driver’s insurance company.
Therefore, you need someone on your side to make your claim more successful. Studies from the Insurance Research Council and other national agencies report that car accident victims who hire an injury lawyer receive significantly higher settlements than those without a lawyer. Our experience shows that insurance adjusters try to take advantage of unrepresented accident victims by making low-ball offers and then trying to scare people from hiring a lawyer. Don’t be taken advantage of.
Hire an award-winning firm like Gage Mathers who has a national reputation for fighting and winning. But do not wait. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you have a professional looking out for your best interests. Also, in Arizona, you only have two years7 to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit; however, that time limit is significantly shortened if the claim involves a public entity (e.g., the State of Arizona, the Arizona Board of Regents, or City or County) or a public employee of one (e.g., an EMT or health care provider, police officer, or teacher). If that is the case, a Notice of Claim must be served on the appropriate entity(-ies) within 180 days of the date of injury, with the claim needing to be settled or a lawsuit filed within one year of the date of injury.8
Human Errors Cause 90% of Car Accidents
It makes us angry that the vast majority of car accidents are caused by human error. The most common errors drivers make include:
- Missing road hazards or detecting them too slowly.
- Choosing incorrect defensive driving actions.
- Driving in a distracted or altered state, such as having inadequate sleep, being distracted by a phone, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.9
That means that the vast majority of car accidents, and the significant damages they cause, could be avoided if people paid attention. The National Safety Council is committed to keeping people safe on the road and eliminating deaths. There are several behaviors that need to change, but the easiest one is for people to pay attention to road conditions and traffic all around them, the second easiest is for people to avoid driving when fatigued.
Tens of thousands of people are injured or die from distracted driving every year.10 We are constantly surrounded by screens, information, and things clamoring for our attention. They are part of everyday life. Our familiarity with them and their repeated use provide a false sense of security. These technologies lead to cognitive distraction and inattention blindness.
Let us make this clear:
You are NOT a multitasking master. No matter how smart you are, how technologically savvy you are, or how attentive you think you are, you are NOT. You are human. The human brain has evolved with limitations.
Some people believe Driver Assistance Systems and Autopilot functions allow them to relax while driving. No matter how great the technology, it is based on computer code written by humans, camera and sonar systems built by humans, and the philosophy that one-size fits all. They do not replace you. These systems are great at alerting drivers to impending hazards, most of the time, but your attention to your surroundings should be your primary safety feature.
Arizona Auto Insurance: Full Coverage Does Not Mean Complete Coverage
Arizona recently updated its automobile insurance requirements. Arizona vehicles are required to have a minimum level of insurance:11
(i) $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident.
(ii) $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident.
(iii) $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
These insurance limits only apply to people you injure or property you damage. They do not protect you.
To protect you, automobile insurance carriers offer:
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- providing additional insurance money for bodily injury when the person who hits you either does not have insurance or has minimal insurance;
- Comprehensive Coverage
- providing coverage for your vehicle from theft, fire, hail, or vandalism;
- Collision Coverage
- providing coverage for damage to your vehicle from a crash;
- Medical Payments Coverage
- providing additional money to pay for medical treatment for people injured in your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault for the crash;
- Other Protections
- Rental Reimbursement or Transportation Expense, if your car is disabled;
- Gap Coverage, if your car is unable to be repaired by you owe more than it is worth;
- Ride-share Coverage, if you use your car for Uber or Lyft services.
The problem in Arizona is that insurers are only required to offer you Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage, but they do not have to explain it.12 As a result, many Arizona residents are driving around without the additional coverage that would protect them from uninsured motorists or drivers who only carry the bare minimum. This is important because the cost of an ambulance ride and ER visit, not including subsequent care with a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic doctor, could exceed Arizona’s minimal insurance requirement.
It might seem expensive to buy these additional coverages, but we have seen how clients without these additional coverages have suffered a lot when the at-fault driver did not have insurance or had too little.
- Leading Causes of Nonfatal Injury Reports, 2000 – 2018. CDC.
- Key Injury and Violence Data. CDC.
- Motor Vehicle Deaths Estimated to Have Dropped 2% in 2019. National Safety Council.
- 2019 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts for the State of Arizona. Arizona Department of Transportation. 29 June 2020.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 28-666. Arizona State Legislature.
- Personal Injury Damages Instructions. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (Civil), 6th. July 2013.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 12-542. Arizona State Legislature.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 12-821.01. Arizona State Legislature.
- Drivers are Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel. National Safety Council. 2020.
- Ending Distracted Driving is Everyone’s Responsibility. National Safety Council.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 28-4009. Arizona State Legislature.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 20-259.01. Arizona State Legislature.