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“Accidents Happen.” Or Do They?

March 23, 2018 By John Torgenson

Of all the words in the English language, “accident” is undoubtedly an insurance adjuster’s favorite. An insurance adjuster’s job requires them to undervalue personal injury claims. Accordingly, it is easy to see why the word “accident” is well liked in the insurance industry. An “accident” is defined as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” In the personal injury context, this definition implies that the injury is sudden and nobody’s fault. Phrases like “it was an accident,” “accidents happen,” or even “your motor vehicle accident” can cause personal injury victims to doubt the validity of their personal injury claims. They may be more inclined accept low-ball offers from insurance adjusters because they are led to believe that their injury was wholly unavoidable. Do not be fooled by an insurance adjuster’s misleading tactics. The truth is, the word “accident” is almost always inappropriate when describing personal injury claims.

There are two major flaws in categorizing personal injuries as “accidents.” First, it ignores the legal standard that the law actually applies to personal injury cases. In Arizona, a person will be liable for the personal injuries of the victim if they negligently caused the victim’s damages. As a general rule, one is negligent if he breached his duty of reasonable care under the circumstances. The negligent party need not “intend” to cause the injuries. Thus, even if the “accident” was “unintentional,” the person who caused the injuries is not absolved from liability.

Second, using the word “accident” is misleading because it suggests that the sudden and unexpected nature of the injuries indicates that they were unavoidable. This is absolutely false. Nearly every time someone suffers personal injuries, someone is at fault, and the injuries could have been avoided. This does not mean that anyone who suffers personal injuries will be compensated for their damages. It is obviously possible that the personal injury claimant himself was responsible for his own injuries. Perhaps, the person who caused the injury did not breach their standard of care. Regardless, the issues of fault and the standard of care in a given situation should be assessed by those who have extensive legal training and experience and a sharpened understanding of the nuances of Arizona law, not insurance adjusters.

As Arizona Injury Lawyers, one of our most demanding challenges is persuading insurance adjusters, defense attorneys, and juries that accidents do not just happen. If you or a loved one is injured, do not allow an insurance adjuster to trick you into believing that your claim is worthless. Call Torgenson Law at (602) 726-0747 for a free consultation. We will give you the honest and informative assessment of your personal injury claim that you deserve.

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John Torgenson

John Torgenson is a highly experienced personal injury lawyer with over 20 years of practice in Arizona. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame. John has a proven track record of securing substantial verdicts and settlements, including an $8.25 million recovery for a gunshot injury victim. His expertise has earned him AVVO ratings and recognition as a Super Lawyer.

John is also a sought-after lecturer on personal injury law, sharing his extensive knowledge with peers and aspiring attorneys. Beyond his legal practice, John is an avid golfer and actively supports organizations like the Military Assistance Mission, Arizona School for the Arts, Page Balloon Regatta, University of Arizona Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, and the Tim Huff Pro Bono Golf Classic.

Passionate about advocating for injury victims, John dedicates his career to battling insurance companies and corporate interests, ensuring that the rights of those who are hurt are vigorously defended.