Why is it called Personal Injury? The term “personal injury” is legal language that was adopted a long time ago to mean injuries that happen to a person, their mind or emotions as opposed to property damage. It can include defamation (injury to your reputation from saying something malicious and false), medical injuries and all manner of accidents that cause injury or wrongful death. The most commonly seen personal injury claims are car or truck accidents, pedestrian accidents or slip and fall accidents.
The term “accident” can be misleading. When children hurt each other unintentionally, we often chide the harmed child to forgive because it was “an accident.” Because the other child didn’t intend to hurt, all should be forgiven. As adults, we are held to certain higher standards, referred to in the law as “duties.” As the driver of a car, you learn the rules of the road and all drivers are expected to follow those rules. If a driver doesn’t follow the rules and causes an accident, that person is responsible for the injuries that result from their negligence – another legal word for not doing something that you were supposed to do or doing something that you shouldn’t have.
Since the person who caused the injuries can’t uninjure you, the law is limited. Instead, your claim for injuries has to be translated into money damages. It is the only way to try to put you back into the position you were in before the accident. That is the reason we purchase car insurance – to pay for our damages or the other person’s damages if an accident happens. So, how are your damages calculated?
First, you are entitled to recover for your medical expenses and any other direct monetary loss you suffered as a result of the injury. The ambulance and hospital bills, doctor bills, chiropractic bills and physical therapy are just a few examples of medical expenses you may incur. Some lesser known expenses are the mileage required to travel to and from your doctor appointments, time lost from work due to your injuries and prescription/pharmacy costs. The money you recover for these direct expenses is meant to put you back financially to the position you would have been in had the accident not occurred.
The State of Arizona also recognizes intangible damages – commonly referred to as pain and suffering – but it includes much more than just pain and suffering. A person injured due to the fault of another is supposed to recover an amount of money that will fairly compensate you for: the nature, extent and duration of your injury (whether the injury was particularly painful, how long it took to recover and how severely injured you were); the pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement and anxiety experienced; any wages you lost or will lose over the course of your lifetime as a result of the injury and your loss of enjoyment of life.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Sometimes. If you have found this webpage, you may be wondering why you need to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim against the other person’s insurance company. The answer isn’t a one size fits all solution. But one thing is certain in all cases, the insurance company is not on your side. Insurance is a business, a very successful business. What makes insurance companies successful is bringing in lots of money and paying out much less. It is literally their job to pay you as little as you will accept to release their insured and close the claim. If it sounds like we are trying to say that insurance companies are evil, that’s not the case. To them, it’s just business. To you, it’s personal.
Here are a handful of ways the insurance company has the upper hand: They have all the time in the world, you have an incentive to not spend all your time going to doctor appointments or talking on the phone with claims people and get back to work. They have plenty of money, for many people an injury can throw your life into a financial tailspin. They have teams of people to criticize and analyze your claim, without a law firm on your side, you just have yourself. To recap, they have more time, money and energy than you do. And in Arizona, they have one other advantage, if you can’t reach an agreement on the value of your claim and you must file a lawsuit, you cannot name the insurance company. You must sue the person who caused the accident. And when the case goes to trial, we can’t even mention insurance. It’s the law. What that means is that when a conservative Arizona jury hears about your accident, they see Joe Defendant who is an average guy sitting in a chair. He may even admit he made a “mistake” and caused an “accident.” The jury may even assume that you have already collected money from insurance and are just being greedy by filing a lawsuit against this poor schmuck.
Having a lawyer is often beneficial. We understand the process because we do it every day. Fite Law Group can help you find medical providers who are willing to wait for payment until the conclusion of your claim. A lawyer takes over gathering information, communicating with the insurance company, presenting your claim in the best way possible and negotiating for the best resolution. A lawyer can file a lawsuit and navigate the court system if necessary. We can negotiate the reduction of liens (claims against the recovery money). Essentially, a lawyer helps level the playing field. We invest our time, money and energy leaving you free to recover and move on with your life, knowing that your case is in good hands.
Fite Law Group isn’t just any law firm, either. We believe the client comes first. No matter the circumstances, we will treat you with respect. We guarantee effective, aggressive representation and our reputation and history of successful litigation speaks for itself. Our consistent track record of uncompromising ethics instills confidence and trust. We use cutting edge technologies that allow us to respond quickly and give you the most relevant information and perspectives on your case. Come find out for yourself.
We offer a FREE meeting to discuss your claim and see if we are a good fit. This isn’t a timeshare presentation. There is no sales pitch and no obligation. We provide real information. If we think we can help you, you will be given a chance to review and sign a fee agreement. What does the fee agreement say? No surprises here, we need to have the chance to be paid for our services, but the lawyer fees are contingent – another legal word that means we only get paid out of what we can get for you. Our fees for injury cases are typically 1/3 of the total recovery if we can resolve your claim without filing a lawsuit. Costs are separate. We pay those up front for things like ordering medical records and police reports. Obviously we can’t rewrite the whole agreement here, but it’s all pretty standard and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. One other thing: clients of the law firm have the cell phone number of one of our partners. That way if you need to talk to a lawyer TODAY, you can. Of course, we also have wonderful and capable support staff who may be able to handle your request, but you’ll never be prevented from speaking with your lawyer.