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Car accident personal injury

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?

The majority of people reading this have heard the term “personal injury,” but many people have the wrong idea of what it actually means. You can make a personal injury claim if you have been emotionally or physically injured due to the wrongful act(s) of another individual or company. When you make a claim, you are looking for financial compensation from the person/business that wronged you.

A common personal injury claim is for “negligence,” which means you are saying the other party’s reckless actions resulted in a personal injury to you. Automobile accidents are classic examples of negligence claims. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were over 103,000 automobile accidents in the state during 2011, more than 33,000 of which resulted in personal injuries.

Another type of claim is if you trip, fall, and get hurt on a company’s premises. This is known as “premises liability.” If you suffer from an injury or illness due to carelessness by a medical professional, this is known as “medical malpractice.” If someone is injured or dies while working, a “worker’s compensation” claim can be made. Unlike other personal injury claims, this one doesn’t require you to prove someone else was careless.

When Should I File a Claim?

Personal Injury on Job Site

Basically, there is a chance of filing a successful personal injury claim if you have been injured in an accident of any kind. If you have been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else, it is imperative that you get in contact with a reputable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The quicker you do this, the more likely it is that you’ll remember important details of the incident, and this will help your legal team make the case on your behalf.

You may read articles online claiming it is possible to file a personal injury claim yourself. While this is certainly true, you are unlikely to receive the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to. What happens in these cases is that the claimant deals directly with the negligent party or insurance company, and the issue is settled out of court. The problem is that insurance companies are always looking out for themselves and will offer you an amount far below what you are actually entitled to.

When you have an experienced attorney on your side, insurance companies will be unable to try their old tricks. If any of the following applies to you, get on the phone with an attorney today:

  • You have been injured in an accident and the other party has insufficient insurance on their vehicle, property, etc.
  • Your injuries require medical treatment and the insurance company is dragging its heels when it comes to paying up. As a result, you are getting medical bills that place you in an uncomfortable financial situation.
  • The party responsible for your injury has no insurance and you are not able to claim compensation from them.
  • An insurance company is bullying you into accepting a settlement.
  • You are confused by the situation and have no idea how to proceed. Many individuals who have suffered a personal injury are unaware of their rights and responsibilities after an accident.
  • If you have sustained injuries from an accident that require ongoing medical treatment.
  • The accident has left you with injuries that have hampered your quality of life.
  • The injuries have ensured you are unable to work for six or more months.

What to Do After an Accident

Car accident injury

Please remember there is a statute of limitations in the state of Arizona. While you have two years to file a lawsuit related to a personal injury claim, it starts from the day of the accident. If you don’t discover an injury until a later date, however, it is possible the statute of limitations only begins from the date of this new discovery.

If you have a claim against the state of Arizona, a city, or a county, you only have 180 days to file a formal claim and one year to file a lawsuit.

When you decide to file a claim, you must be honest with your attorney from the beginning. If you withhold information and this comes to light during the trial, your case could be dismissed and you will receive no compensation. If you have been involved in an accident and wish to make a personal injury claim, follow these steps:

  • Write down everything you remember about the incident, including the time leading up to it and the aftermath. This can help show the court how the accident has affected your life.
  • Go to the doctor immediately. You may feel “fine” after an accident, but this doesn’t mean no injuries have been sustained. Certain injuries take a while to become obvious, and only a medical professional can discover such issues.
  • Take photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries, if possible.
  • Get the contact details and names of any witnesses at the scene.
  • Never admit it was your fault.
  • Contact a trustworthy personal injury attorney as soon as you can. The quicker your legal team can put together a case, the less likely it is that vital testimony will be lost.

The Legal Process

Your attorney will begin the process with discovery, where he or she finds and shares information. In the majority of personal injury cases, things get settled once both parties have reviewed the information presented by the other legal team. At the end of the case, you receive financial compensation if the court finds in your favor. The settlement covers medical expenses, bills, financial loss due to the injury, and any other costs caused by the accident and subsequent injury.

We have found that those who get fair treatment during the course of their lawsuits have an improved state of mind after the accident, and this helps immensely in the recovery process. If you believe you have a legitimate personal injury claim, get in touch with an attorney who regularly practices this type of law to ensure you receive the financial compensation needed to cover present and future costs.


Mother Walking Child Across Street

Pedestrian Safety in Flagstaff

Mother Walking Child Across Street

Last year in Arizona there were approximately 1,507 pedestrian and automobile accidents. Out of those 1,507 crashes, 154 pedestrians were killed and 1,253 pedestrians were injured.

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If Ralph Waldo Emerson knew of the dangers that exists for walkers and pedestrians in the modern world, he probably would have stayed at home and wrote another book. Today pedestrians face numerous challenges when they go on a walk, from: distracted drivers, cell phones, i-pods, train crossings, busy roads, unmarked crosswalks, and dimly lit sidewalks to no sidewalks. Pedestrians have a lot of distractions and a lot to pay attention to when they stroll down the street.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, last year in Arizona there were approximately 1,507 pedestrian and automobile accidents. Out of those 1,507 crashes, 154 pedestrians were killed and 1,253 pedestrians were injured. In Arizona, there has been a slow rise in pedestrian deaths, which has been attributed to more people walking on a daily basis. Distracted driving may also contribute to the increase of pedestrian and car accidents because distracted drivers are not paying attention to traffic and instead are concentrating on their smart phones—not a smart idea. Safety experts have also attributed the increase in accidents to drivers and pedestrians who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The City of Flagstaff has found that 13% of all trips in Flagstaff are made on foot which is higher than the national average of 3%. Pedestrians make up approximately 7.5% of commuters compared to the 2.9% nationally. If you are one of the thousands of pedestrians in Flagstaff you have to be cautious because you do not want to be a statistic. Although the law requires that drivers exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians under A.R.S. § 794 the best way for a pedestrian to protect themselves is to be on the defensive. Tips for pedestrians to avoid accidents:

  • Walk as if you are invisible; never assume that the driver sees you even if you have the “right-of-way”.
  • Cross streets at designated crosswalks and under A.R.S § 28-792 drivers must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian unless the crosswalk is controlled by a traffic control device. If you have to cross at a non-designated crosswalk the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles in the roadway under A.R.S § 28-793.
  • Take extra caution at intersection because drivers can fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, but if you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic because it’s the law under A.R.S. § 28-796.
  • Flagstaff is an International Dark City so increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective clothing.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian/car accident seek medical attention immediately. Do not talk to insurance agent before you seek the advice of an attorney. Remember the insurance agent does not have your interests in mind; the insurance agent wants to settle the case as quickly as possible to protect the insurance company’s interest.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a victim of a pedestrian/car accident contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400 and ask to speak with Daniel, Matt or Tony. We have helped protect the rights of hundreds of accident victims in Flagstaff and throughout Arizona. We offer a free thirty minute consultation and have two convenient office in Flagstaff and Cottonwood and if you cannot come to use, we can visit you at your home or office.


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