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Personal Injury

Personal Injury is a legal term used to describe any injury (physical or emotional) you received as a result of the carelessness of another person. The law in Arizona requires people to act reasonable and take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to another person. If they do not act in a reasonable manner, their actions or lack of actions are classified as negligence.

The most common types of personal injury claims are auto accidents, boat accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, assault claims and wrongful death. Depending on the type of incident, the case could involve Federal and State Law.

If you have been injured you should contact an attorney as soon as you are healthy. First, you will start receiving bills and you should have a strategy to deal with the bills and the collection companies. Second, Arizona has a Statute of Limitations for certain accidents, which means there is limited time for you to file a lawsuit against the people and/or business that might be liable for your damages. If you do not file the lawsuit within this stipulated time, there is a very good chance you will not be permitted to collect any money for your damages. Wachtel, Biehn and Malm offers a free personal injury consultation. There is no commitment required. Call (928) 855-5115 and set a free consultation with Jay Bidwell. Do not make any decisions until you know your option.

WBM starts the process by conducting a thorough interview and discussion of the accident and following up on the treatment of the victim. WBM has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and WBM will not suggest you settle for anything less than you deserve. WBM has developed a long standing relationship with the medical community, legal community and insurance community.

FAQ: Understanding your rights when you've been injured in an accident is important. The following are frequently asked questions and answer regarding personal injury cases.

Q. I have been injured. Do I have to hire an attorney to collect my damages?
No. You do not have to hire an attorney, but you must be extremely careful. Filing a lawsuit may seem simple, but the other party will most likely hire an attorney or their insurance carrier will get involved and/or hire an attorney. This drastically changes the situation. There are several court rules and procedures you will most likely not know. If you miss one of the steps in the judicial system, you could permanently lose the ability to recover any money.

If your injury is minor and your damages are limited, it is possible you can do it yourself; however, your claim is probably worth more than you think. But, why not get the opinion of a professional? Initial consultations on personal injury cases are free (LINK to the word free).
There are several important factors you must keep in mind when dealing with your claim. Insurance Claims Adjusters are people employed specifically to save the insurance company money. This is what they do every day. They may seem like they are trying to help you, when in reality they are building a case against you. If they know you will represent yourself, they will most likely not give you the best deal because of the advantage they have over you in the legal system.

The bottom line: you probably can do it yourself, but why not meet with Jay Bidwell for a free consultation. He will advise you what your options are. WMB recommends you not settle an injury claim without consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Q. What do I look for in selecting a personal injury attorney?
This is a personal decision which will affect the rest of your life. Personal injury case typically take longer than you might expect. Your decision should depend on the lawyer’s competence level in personal injury and your comfort level with this lawyer. The attorney must have the skills and experience to fully represent you to receive the best possible outcome.

I have medical coverage under my auto policy. If I am hit by another vehicle and the incident was their fault, which insurance policy pays my medical bills? The "medical coverage" of your auto policy will pay your expenses without regard to fault or other insurance. You paid for this protection. The other driver’s medical coverage, if it exists, will not apply. His "liability" coverage will be available to compensate you for all of your losses, including your medical expenses at the end of the case (not as bills come in). This is one of the rare situations where it is possible to be compensated twice. Premiums go up when, and if, your insurance company determines the accident was your fault.

Q. Why is it so difficult for an innocent accident victim to receive fair treatment from insurance companies?
Aggressive and unreasonable insurance adjusters take orders and instructions from managers. Most were trained by their insurance companies to deal with injured victims and the adjuster has one objective: save money for the insurance company. Many victims complain of unfair and unreasonable treatment in these situations. Insurance adjusters and defense people often have to be persuaded to deal fairly with the victims of these injuries. Sometimes the only way the innocent victim can receive fair treatment is when she or he has hired an attorney. Victims should talk to a competent trial attorney before giving a written or recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The recorded statements are utilized by the insurance company to calculate the potential liability and damages. Furthermore, these statements, although not under oath, can be used against you in trial. The recorded statements are used because your recollection of the events will be more accurate the closer to the date of the accident. If you are worried about making a statement to an insurance company, contact Jay Bidwell for a free consultation.

Q. The Insurance company is claiming I have a “pre-existing condition”. What does that mean?
A pre-existing condition is an injury you had before the accident. Insurance companies will most likely attempt to classify majority of your injuries as “pre-existing” because this gives the insurance company more room to negotiate your damages. If you have been treated before the accident for an injury, there is a good chance the insurance company will “low-ball” your damage assessment. The insurance company believes they should not compensate you for any injuries or damage you suffered before the incident. Jay Bidwell is familiar with this process and he can clearly articulate why your condition is not “pre-existing”.

Q. What is a contingent fee?
The contingent fee is the most common form of payment for plaintiffs seeking legal representation in personal injury litigation. If the plaintiff does not receive any compensation for damages, the attorney receives nothing, except costs expended. This fee basis gives injured people, regardless of financial status, an even break in the courtroom and an opportunity to pursue a valid claim against even the largest wrongdoers for their negligence. Wachtel Biehn and Malm takes personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means you do not have to come up with a retainer (cash up front which is deposited into a trust account held in your name) or make monthly payments to an attorney. This will allow you to concentrate on your medical needs while the attorney concentrates on your case.

Q. What is a Medical Lien?
A lien is a right to keep property belonging to another person until a debt is paid. Medical Liens are used to make sure doctors, hospitals, therapists and any other medical providers obtain payment for their services. A medical Lien is a legal encumbrance upon your personal property or real property in order to secure the debt or money owed to the medical provider.


The Colorado River stretches miles along Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Parker. This long strip of fresh water has made Mohave County popular for thousands of boat and water enthusiasts. Unfortunately, this means the Colorado River is more congested with people having a good time. While most people on the River are experienced, there is no doubt there are thousands of people who are inexperienced. An accident on the water can be much more severe than on land because of the lack of seat belts. One negligent watercraft operator can cause an incident which will change your life forever. The injuries from boat accidents can range from bruises, lacerations, head injuries, paralysis, spinal cord damage and even death. During this time you will be forced to deal with medical bills, lost wages and even funeral expenses.

If you have been injured in a boat accident you are entitled to a free consultation with an experienced attorney from WBM. WBM will analyze the current issues and inform you of your options.


Dogs are commonly known as man’s best friends, but there are several factors which can lead to a vicious dog attack. If a dog is nervous or feels threatened, the dog may feel necessary to defend itself. Dogs can also be victims of abuse by the owner. Dog bites can be extremely painful and can result in debilitating injuries. Arizona law holds dog owners liable for any dog bite, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s awareness of a vicious tendency. The law is called strict liability, which means the liability (what person is responsible) is assumed and the dog owner is responsible for the damages. The dog owner must pay for treatments and may be responsible for additional damages, such as mental anguish, disfigurement such as scarring and pain and suffering. If you have been attacked by a dog, go the hospital immediately. While there provide as much detail about the incident as possible. Insist on getting all relevant blood tests. Additionally, report dog bite to contact Animal Control call 928-855-4111. They will most likely quarantine the dog and provide an assessment of the dog. This will assist WBM in the civil litigation case. Dog attacks have a severe impact on the victim and this can be especially severe with children. Be observant of any behavior change and consult a medical specialist as soon as possible.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. The newsletters and articles on this website are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Areas of practice:

  1. Personal Injury (Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Dog Bites)
  2. Wrongful Death
  3. Criminal/ DUI
  4. Wills, Trusts and Estates
  5. Business Law
  6. Real Estate
  7. Construction Law

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