Car accidents, traffic crashes, and other roar-related incidents can happen anywhere in Maricopa County. With a swelling population and congested highways, it may not surprise you to realize that more than 100,000 collisions happen on Arizona roadways every year. And of all those accidents, roughly 1/3 cause injuries to one or more individuals involved. Of all the crashes in Arizona in 2014, the Department of Transportation reports that 7,749 accidents happened in Tempe and that 3,285 people were hurt as a result.
Tempe is an important part of the Phoenix metropolitan area with more than 160,000 people calling it home. In addition to those who reside in Tempe, thousands come to the city every day to work and tens of thousands drive through its borders on their way to other destinations in Maricopa County like Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa. Daily, countless motorists are at risk for becoming the victims of car crashes or other traffic incidents even when they do not make any mistakes behind the wheel. So what happens to these innocent victims whose lives are changed by injuries? The good news is that they are protected by several laws in Arizona that guarantee them the right to seek help.
When a crash happens within Tempe’s borders, an accident victim can seek relief against those deemed legally responsible for the collision. In some cases, this may be another driver who caused the crash or the owner of an at-fault vehicle. In other cases, it could be the manufacturer of a defective car, a city who designed an unsafe road, or even a body shop who performed faulty repair work on a vehicle. Often, legal liability for injuries may not be the same as legal liability for a traffic incident which means that a driver may be held liable for her conduct in causing a crash even if she is not ticketed by police or if she is found not guilty on any traffic tickets she receives.
A claim for injuries is a civil claim, a type of action that is distinct from any criminal charges or traffic citations that may result from a crash. Further, where criminal and traffic actions are designed to punish offenders and benefit the State of Arizona, civil claims for injuries focus on the fact that victims should be compensated for their damages so that they can return to their pre-injury states. This means that the relief available and deserved in any given case will depend on specific facts, including what injuries resulted, what the long term prognosis is for a victim, whether that victim was forced to miss time from work, what amount of pain and suffering was endured, and whether the harm will leave any lasting effects, like decreased mobility or scarring.
It is the right of a victim to make a claim stemming from a Tempe car accident and an at-fault driver cannot prevent a victim from seeking relief. It is also the right of a victim to retain and work with a personal injury attorney if that victim so desires so that a victim’s interests can be protected and preserved.
All civil claims, including those that arise in the metro Phoenix area, must be brought within a time period specified by law or they will be forever barred; however, the time period, known as the statute of limitations, may vary depending on the nature of a collision, who was involved in that crash, and where the accident took place. Acting swiftly is a good idea if a victim is interested in pursuing any legal relief that may be entitled to her.
Prior Blog Entry:
15 National Parks in Arizona Offer Free Admission from April 16-24, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 11, 2016.
Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, Arizona Department of Transportation, published June 1, 2015.