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Common Questions

1. What is my case worth?

Often times, people want to know what type of compensation they can expect from their particular claim. This is often a difficult question to answer at the beginning of a case because all of the factors to be considered are unknown right after an accident. Some people believe case value is determined by multiplying medical bills by a particular factor. This is truly a misnomer. Sometimes the value of a case is dictated by the amount of insurance coverage available. What Arizona law provides, however, is that an individual is entitled to an amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate the individual for the nature, extent and duration of their injury, the pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement and anxiety already experienced and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future, as well as the reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, lost earnings and compensation for the loss of love, care, affection, companionship of the family or marital relationship and loss of enjoyment of life's activities. We can help you appropriately document these harms and losses to make sure that you are fully and fairly compensated.

2. How long will the claim take?

Each case is different. Each case depends on the particular facts and circumstances. Some injuries are not as significant and heal within a few weeks. Some injuries are more significant and take several months or years to resolve. Some people never recover from their injuries. First, we are concerned with making sure that you find appropriate medical care and that you have gotten as well as you can as quickly as you can. Once you have reached that state of recovery, we will then attempt to settle your claim with the responsible party's insurance company. If appropriate compensation cannot be had through negotiation, then we will discuss the factors involved in proceeding with a lawsuit and the litigation process.

Our attorneys will be with you every step of the way.

3. Should I see a doctor that specializes in accident injury care?

We recommend that you see a health care provider that you are comfortable with and that you trust. There are physicians who are familiar with the claims process and understand the information that the insurance company is looking for when considering your claim. Physicians that are unfamiliar with appropriate medical documentation can cause problems when it comes time to present your claim. Another consideration is that some physicians actually work for the insurance companies and, therefore, may not have your best interests at heart. If you do not know a physician or if you need a specialist to help guide you through the recovery process, we are available to help you find health care professionals that can help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

4. Do I have to worry about the lien filed by my doctor?

Under Arizona law, in order for a health care provider to make sure they are paid from available liability insurance, the doctor is required to file a lien with the County Recorder. The doctor often will have a copy of this lien forwarded to you. Often times, people are upset by seeing a lien placed against them in this manner. If such a lien is filed against you by a physician or by a health insurance company or other entities, we can investigate the lien to make sure whether it is valid or not. We will also help you in resolving the lien and making sure that an appropriate lien release is filed.

5. Who pays for my car damage?

Ordinarily, in an auto collision claim, there are two sources to pay for your car damage. The first source would be the insurance company for the responsible party. The second source is your own collision coverage through your insurance company. Sometimes the insurance company for the responsible party drags their feet in investigating a claim. They may initially refuse to pay for your damaged vehicle. This becomes a problem when your car is not driveable and you need immediate transportation. We can help coordinate submitting the claim for your car damage in order to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

6. My damaged car was brand new. Can I recover for it's lost value?

Under Arizona law, the responsible party's insurance company is responsible for paying you for the "diminished value" of your vehicle. That is, Arizona law recognizes that a vehicle's value may be reduced once the damaged vehicle has been repaired. We can help determine if presenting a diminished value claim to the responsible party's insurance company is appropriate. Presenting such a claim ordinarily requires enlistment of experts in the automotive field. We can help put you in contact with these experts, to make sure you are fairly compensated for your losses.

7. Do I have to pay back my insurance company?

 People are concerned about whether they are required to pay back their automobile insurance company for benefits received. In most circumstances, a person is not required to reimburse their own insurance company. In certain circumstances, reimbursement of your insurance company may be required, but only if appropriate notice has been filed by the insurance company. We can help analyze your case and confirm whether you have an obligation of reimbursement or not. We will confirm what your actual legal responsibility is.

8. Won't using my insurance raise my rates?

People are often concerned about whether their insurance rates will increase if a claim is made through their insurance policy because of injuries or damages suffered in a collision. Many people purchase insurance coverages, paying the insurance company a premium to have certain protection and then find themselves afraid to present a claim. Arizona law specifically holds that an insurance company cannot increase a motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured who has not caused or significantly contributed to an accident. It is, therefore, illegal for an insurance company to raise rates in such a circumstance. Often times, people carry no-fault coverages which only apply to situations where benefits are needed because the fault of another. This would include claims for medical payments coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. These coverages are important coverages for which benefits have been paid. It is contrary to Arizona law for an insurance company to raise a victim's insurance premiums when claims are made under these coverages.

9. Is the money I receive taxable income?

There are specific tax codes which regulate the taxability of compensation received in a personal injury claim. Ordinarily, compensation for personal injuries is NOT taxable income. In rare circumstances, a portion of compensation received for a claim may be taxable. It is best to have an attorney review these matters, along with your tax professional, to make sure you are fully protected.

10. Why should I hire your law firm?

The Vakula Law Firm, P.C. has superior qualifications and is uniquely qualified to handle your personal injury claim. Nicholas Vakula has over 25 years of experience in Arizona personal injury law. He is also a Certified Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum and he is recognized as a Preeminent Lawyer by the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers of America/Martindale Hubbell.

The lawyers at The Vakula Law Firm, P.C. are also members of the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers Association. This is the exclusive Arizona association of attorneys dedicated to representation of injury victims.

When considering hiring an attorney for your personal injury claim, consider the following: there are approximately 20,000 attorneys admitted to practice law in the State of Arizona. Of those 20,000 attorneys, approximately 200 are Certified Specialists in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. Of those 200 members, approximately only 50 attorneys have dedicated themselves to representing injured individuals through membership in the Arizona Association of Justice. Many other certified specialists represent the insurance companies against accident victims. Of the approximately 50 members of the Arizona Association of Justice who are Certified Specialists in Personal Injury and Wrongful death, only 10 are lifetime members of the Arizona Association for Justice. Mr. Vakula is a lifetime member of the Arizona Association for Justice and a Certified Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.

We are uniquely qualified to handle your personal injury claim.

We are ready to fight for you.

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Phoenix Metro Office
11240 North Tatum Blvd.
Suite 120
Phoenix, AZ 85028
Phone: 480-905-9114
Fax: 480-905-9113

Central Arizona Office
203 E. Union St.
Prescott, Arizona 86303
Phone: 480-905-9114
Fax: 480-905-9113