Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Frequently Asked Legal Questions
Request a Free Consultation REQUEST

Do I need to get a copy of the police report?

No, not in most cases. Typically, we will get the police reports and make sure you get a copy.


If I hire you as my lawyer, what are your goals for me?

Our first goal is to address the injuries you have suffered in the accident by getting you to see a doctor. We can normally get you in to see a doctor the same or next day once meeting with us. All doctors we find for you will wait for payment until your case settles.

Next, we strive to take away the burden and stress of the process. Insurance companies are big and bureaucratic. They can be difficult to work with. We can fight for your rights while you concentrate on getting better.

Our final goal is to maximize the amount of the settlement of your claim and minimize the time required to receive it.


What if I need medical treatment but can’t afford it?

We can find you doctors throughout the Valley who will wait for payment until the case settles. In most cases, we can find you a doctor who is close to your home and can see you quickly – often in just a few hours.


Will it cost me any money to get started for a personal injury or traffic accident case?

No. We work on a contingent fee. This means we only receive payment for our services if we successfully collect on your claim. The normal contingent fee in Arizona is 33.3 percent of the total sum collected. We offer a 25 percent discount fee on all cases not requiring litigation (the filing of a lawsuit). Our fee is 33.3 percent only if the case requires litigation.

We pay all up front costs, including, but not limited to, expenses for police reports, medical records and medical bills, postage and photocopies. We are reimbursed for these costs at the time of settlement. Clients are responsible for costs, regardless of the outcome of the case. The fee is calculated on the total sum collected and before costs or medical bills are deducted.


Do I really need a lawyer?

You would expect a lawyer to answer this question with “Absolutely!” If you have sustained injuries or are not satisfied with how the insurance company is treating you, you need an attorney to protect your rights.

What if you don’t have any issues? Do you still need a lawyer? Only you can answer that question. But consider this — the insurance company is a business. Their job is to resolve your claim for as few dollars as possible. Doesn’t it make sense to have someone on your side whose job it is to protect your rights and make sure you receive every dollar you deserve?

The insurance company deals with accident victims every day. We deal with insurance companies every day. We know what’s fair and reasonable and what’s not. We’ll make sure you’re treated fairly. We can also assist with the property damage claim, make sure you have access to treatment by a doctor who will wait for payment until the claim is settled, and attempt to recover every dollar to which you are legally entitled.


My car is not driveable, what do I do?

If your car is repairable but you are unable to drive it, check your automobile policy for rental car coverage. Your insurance company may direct you to a rental car company. We can also find a repair shop that may be able to arrange a rental car for you.

When another vehicle hits you and the driver has insurance, it is possible the driver’s policy will cover rental car costs for you. However, this can take 30 days or more. If your car is being held in a storage yard, it is important that you arrange to get it to a repair shop within a reasonable amount of time.

If the insurance company declares your car a total loss, the same basic advice applies.


What should I do if the insurance company contacts me after I have retained Petersen Johnson?

Do not discuss the accident or your medical condition with the insurance company. Refer them to us for all matters, with one exception — they will need to inspect your damaged vehicle.

You can answer their questions regarding where your damaged vehicle is and make an appointment (at your convenience) for them to view the vehicle. Beyond that, have them call us.


Will we have to go to court for personal injury or traffic accident cases?

If the insurance company does not deal with your case in a reasonable manner, we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit on your behalf. However, the majority of cases we handle are successfully settled and DO NOT require a lawsuit.

When we feel it is necessary to go to court, we will recommend that we do so. It is your final decision whether a lawsuit is filed. We are well-prepared to represent you in court and have in-house lawyers who are aggressive, full-time litigators. Find out more information about litigation here.


For personal injury cases, how long will the process take?

Vehicle damage claims are normally settled before bodily injury claims. Settlement of bodily injury claims depends on how serious your injuries are and how quickly your body responds to treatment. We cannot make a demand on the insurance company until your condition has been stabilized and all the medical evidence is collected.

Cases that require a lawsuit to be filed take longer than cases that are settled. There is no average amount of time it takes to settle a claim. We do everything we can to move your case toward settlement as fast as is reasonable and prudent.


Should my insurance company get involved if it was the other driver’s fault?

When dealing with a property damage claim, it is often preferable to file a claim with your insurance company if you have collision coverage, rather than relying on the other driver’s insurance company. The main advantage is speed. Your insurance company will normally pay the claim sooner.

Additionally, if you have medical payments coverage on your policy, your insurance company is legally responsible for paying the medical bills incurred because of your accident. If you do not have this coverage, it is advisable that you add it to your insurance policy.

Many people believe their premium will increase if they file a claim with their insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, your insurance company cannot increase your premium simply because you filed a claim.

We advise everyone to add what is called “uninsured motorist coverage” to his or her policy. This coverage protects you if someone without insurance caused your accident. Even though it is mandatory to have auto insurance in the state of Arizona, many people still do not have coverage. The cost of this additional coverage is small and well worth the extra protection.


What’s my case worth?

We cannot value your case accurately until your medical treatment is complete. This means your condition is stabilized and all of the medical evidence is available for review.

Soreness or stiffness in the neck, shoulders or back that sometimes accompanies auto accidents is normally caused by soft tissue injuries. This will heal with proper treatment.

Most often, it is the first symptom of other injuries that can lead to serious damage or disability. If anyone is trying to place a value on your case before all the medical evidence is in, be very, very cautious.

Petersen Johnson