In recent days, we are saddened to report that there have been two fatal accidents on the interstates near Flagstaff, Arizona. Interstate 40 saw the loss of life of a Flagstaff mother who was only 27 years old.* Interstate 17 was the scene of an accident in which a man was pronounced dead by authorities just south of Munds Park, which is in Coconino County.** These horrific accidents are shocking and upsetting. And they are a powerful reminder of the dangers of high speed travel and the various road and weather conditions in Northern Arizona.
At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we remind everyone to be alert and drive safely. As the weather gets nicer, we see more car accidents and serious injuries on our roadways. Yes, winter weather is the cause of many wrecks. But we all know Flagstaff is one of the nicest places to spend those beautiful summer days. Nearly 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. Flagstaff is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. We have tourists, athletes, students, workers, Phoenix residents escaping the heat, and all kinds of additional traffic in the warm spring and summer months near Flagstaff. We are at the heart of the I-17 and I-40 intersection. We want to take a moment to talk about insurance policies as they relate to car accidents. As Flagstaff’s car accident law firm, the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC litigates all aspects of car insurance policies. There are often misconceptions about insurance policies, so we want to share some insight.
In order to keep my costs down, is it okay to purchase minimum coverage?
We understand the difficult economy of today. Times are tough, and we know that. That said, insurance policies are not always the best way to save money. We all hope we are never going to be in an injury-involved car accident. So why pay more for insurance? Well, it comes down to this. The required coverages in Arizona are called “Bodily Injury” and “Property Damage.” Under Arizona personal injury law, the minimum required limits are as follows:
- For bodily injury: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
- For property damage: $10,000 per accident. If a person is injured in a car accident, and medical bills are $50,000, the $15,000 limit for bodily injury will not be enough.
It won’t even be close. And that can force people in debt, collections, and ultimately bankruptcy. Therefore, to avoid the horrible circumstance of not being able to afford necessary medical care, it is important to work with your insurance company to come up with an affordable rate that provides more than the minimum coverages required in Arizona.
If I am a passenger in a single-car accident, can I recover damages for my injuries?
Yes, it is possible. It depends on the circumstances of the case, but you do not have to be driving to recover damages from an insurance company, including your own.
If I am a pedestrian, or bicyclist, and I am hit by a car, can I recover damages?
Yes, it is possible. As always, it depends on the facts of the case. But most people don’t know that they can recover damages from their own car insurance policy, even if they were not inside a vehicle at all when they were injured. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we recently obtained a $75,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle, and some of that recovery came from the pedestrian’s car insurance policy.
If the driver at fault is uninsured or underinsured, am I out of luck?
Not necessarily. We will search for every insurance policy that could help you. We check for collateral sources of recovery. And most importantly, we will look at your policy for uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists. It is very important that you purchase an uninsured and underinsured policy. That way, if you are injured in an accident, we can push to get the maximum recovery for you.
If I take on the insurance companies by myself, will I get more money than if I hire a lawyer?
Generally, no. What we do is maximize your recovery and negotiate down your bills and liens, so that the large majority of our personal injury clients actually recover more money than if they accepted what the insurance company offered to them. Usually, the insurance companies offer very low settlements. Don’t let them trick you into giving up your legal rights. Insurance policies are complicated and adjustors never want to give you the money that you deserve.