Vehicle accidents occur on a regular basis throughout Arizona. According to the state Department of Transportation, there were approximately 130,000 total vehicle collisions during the latest reporting year. We know that these incidents are typically caused driver error, but determining liability can be challenging. These cases can quickly devolve into “he said, she said” incidents and disputes about fault arise regularly. This can significantly jeopardize a crash victim’s ability to recover compensation. Here, our Phoenix personal injury lawyers want to discuss what you can do to dispute fault if you have been blamed for a vehicle accident that you think you did not cause.
If you are involved in a vehicle accident and your insurance carrier or the other party’s insurance carrier denies a claim because they consider you to be at fault, you need to immediately notify the insurance carrier that you are disputing their finding of fault.
There are various reasons why an insurance carrier or the other party will seek to blame others for the incident. However, there are steps that those involved in a crash can take to help show that they did not cause the incident. Some of these steps begin immediately after a collision occurs. This can include:
However, even if a crash victim takes these steps, they could still be blamed for the incident. For example, if you receive a citation in the aftermath of a vehicle accident, this will likely result in insurance carrier blaming you for the incident. However, you can fight the ticket in court. Just because you receive a ticket does not mean that the officer was correct in making their determination about the citation.
Fighting a ticket or voicing disagreement with the finding of fault will often result in further investigations on the part of the insurance carrier or law enforcement that could lead to revised findings. This also establishes a record of your disagreement that could be important later on in the claim.
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and have been blamed for the incident, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If you do not believe that you caused the crash, an attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to conduct a complete investigation into the incident. They will obtain all evidence necessary to determine exactly what happened and move forward with the claim on your behalf. Often, an attorney can uncover additional evidence that was not available at the time the incident occurred, including video surveillance from nearby buildings, mobile device data, vehicle “black box” data, and more.
The key thing to remember is that Arizona operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that crash victims can still recover compensation even if they are found to be at fault for the incident (even if they are up to 99% at fault). However, the total amount of compensation awarded in these situations will be reduced based on the particular party’s percentage of fault.