Joey’s Law Cracks Down on Hit-and-Runs in Arizona

It was nearly two years ago when 18 year-old Joey Romero was walking home from work and run over by a car that had jumped the curb. Instead of stopping and assisting, the heavily medicated young woman driving the vehicle fled the scene leaving the injured teenager to fend for himself.

Days later the Centennial High School student was pronounced dead.

Joey’s death was naturally very tough on his father Jesse Romero especially after learning the driver who killed his youngest son was looking at only a one to two year prison sentence.

That is when Jesse decided to do something about it and Joey’s Law was born.

Earlier this year, SB 1163 “Joey’s Law” was signed and enacted into state law by Arizona legislatures. The new law creates tougher punishments for drivers who commit hit-and-runs.

Before if a driver was convicted of a hit-and-run, they faced a possible 3 year suspension of their license if someone was seriously injured in the incident and a 5 year suspension if someone was killed. Not to mention the period of suspension could begin during time served in prison.

With Joey’s Law, convicted drivers now face an automatic 5 year suspension of their license if someone is seriously injured and 10 years if someone is killed. Furthermore the periods of suspension only begin after the driver serves their prison term.

While nothing can ever bring back the memory of a loved one, Jesse Romero’s hard work and effort is a great example of channeling sorrow into a positive venture that could help others not have to endure the same pain and loss he suffered.

If you or someone you know is injured in a hit-and-run or any type of accident contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Dealing with the Insurance Company After an Accident

Whether you’re at fault or the victim in an accident, dealing with an insurance company requires a certain finesse. A few key strategies and tips can help you cope with insurance company tactics and ensure you don’t harm your case. Make sure you know what to do – and what not to do – before you talk to an insurance company about an accident.


Never admit fault.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember when you’re dealing with an insurance company to never admit fault. Even if you think you might have contributed to an accident, don’t talk about it until you see a police report and talk to your attorney. A police report could reveal that you were mistaken about fault, but if you admit fault in the beginning, it becomes much more difficult to get insurers to pay.
If your accident was investigated by Arizona Highway Patrol, you may request a report here.


Avoid providing a written statement.

Many insurers will ask you to provide a written statement about an accident. Avoid providing a statement until you’ve consulted with an attorney, and make sure the attorney reviews and approves your statement. If you provide a written statement without first getting legal advice, you could write something that could potentially hurt your case.


Don’t lie about injuries.

It may be tempting to exaggerate or minimize injuries when you have an accident. Don’t. If you have injuries, get them treated and don’t try to minimize them. Alternately, if you’re not injured, don’t try to pretend that you are; insurers will find out and you’ll just hurt your own case.


Remember that the insurance company doesn’t want to pay.

Insurers are in business to make money. If they pay out on every insurance claim, they wouldn’t make money. Therefore, insurers don’t want to pay. Keep this in mind when you’re dealing with an insurer. You must prove that the insurer has to pay, and establish how much the insurer should pay, before you’ll see anything near what your case is worth.


Refer the insurer to your lawyer.

The safest way to deal with an insurance company after an accident is to refer the insurer to your lawyer. Once you retain legal counsel, an insurer is required to talk to the attorney – not you. This can help you avoid saying the wrong thing, and can make sure you don’t hurt your case.

Here is a Video from Phoenix personal injury lawfirm Wattel & York discussing how to handle insurance companies.