Is Arizona a Comparative Negligence State?

April 20, 2020

People get injured all the time. Unfortunately, these injuries are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person. When that happens, the injury victim may be able to secure compensation for their losses through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. However, what if multiple parties are found to be at fault for an incident that causes an injury? It is important to understand comparative negligence laws in Arizona in order to properly determined how liability is assigned and how this can affect an injury settlement.

What is Comparative Negligence in Arizona?

Most personal injury cases In Arizona revolve around proving negligence. In other words, the person who is responsible for causing an injury will generally be the one who has to pay for any damages that occurred to others.

However, it is often the case that more than one party was negligent in an incident. Arizona follows what is called the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under Arizona’s comparative negligence laws, an injured party is allowed to recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident in question. Arizona law allows for a person to recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident.

In these cases, an injury victim’s damages will be reduced based on the amount in which they were found to be at fault. For example, if a car accident victim is awarded $100,000 and damages after a crash, but were found to be 20% at fault for the incident, they would only receive $80,000 in total compensation.

Elements of Negligence

Proving negligence in a personal injury case can be incredibly difficult. In order to be successful in a negligence case, a plaintiff (or their attorney) will need to prove the following four elements:

  • Duty. The plaintiff (injured party) must show that the defendant (alleged at-fault party) owed them a duty of care. The duty of care will vary depending on the situation. For example, a driver owes a duty to others on the roadway to operate their vehicle safely. A doctor owes a duty of care to their patients.
  • Breach. When a duty of care has been established, it needs to be shown that the defendant breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care to the plaintiff. For example, an intoxicated driver breaches their duty of care when they operate a vehicle impaired.
  • Causation. There needs to be evidence that the actions of the defendant directly caused an injury to the plaintiff.
  • Damages. There needs to be proof that the plaintiff sustained some type of losses (damages) in order for a personal injury claim to be valid. This can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more.

Is an Attorney Necessary for These Cases?

Proving negligence in personal injury claims can become incredibly difficult. In many cases, an injury victim does not have the resources or legal experience necessary to properly conduct a thorough investigation. The goal of an injury victim is to prove that the other party was completely responsible for the incident. A Phoenix personal injury attorney will be able to conduct a full investigation and obtain all evidence necessary to prove liability. An attorney will also be a skilled negotiator, ready to take on aggressive insurance carriers to obtain maximum compensation.