Is Arizona a Comparative Negligence State?
One of the most common personal injury cases involves negligence by someone else.
If you sustained injuries as a result of someone else’s laziness or inattentiveness, then you are a victim of negligence, and you may be eligible for compensation.
When it comes to personal injury law in Arizona, the state practices comparative negligence. This means that the courts and insurance companies may feel that you were in part responsible for your own injuries.
However, this does not prevent you from being compensated for damages as a result of someone else’s negligence, even if they were only partially at fault.
Definition of Comparative Negligence
In a personal injury case, there is usually not just one party who is at fault for the accident. As such, comparative negligence assigns fault to both parties according to what the court deems appropriate.
The plaintiff is the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, the party the plaintiff feels is responsible for his/her injuries.
The courtroom hears both sides and then assigns a percentage to each party. For example, if the court found that both parties were equally negligent, then both the plaintiff and the defendant are assigned 50% at fault.
In the state of Arizona, even if the plaintiff is 99% responsible for their own injuries, then the defendant must compensate the victim 1% of all damages (to include medical expenses, lost wages, and more).
Right to Contribution
Often in a personal injury case, there are multiple defendants who are determined to be at fault for the victim’s injuries.
The right to contribution assigns all responsible parties a portion of the compensation to be paid to the plaintiff. Consequently, if the court finds that the plaintiff is to be awarded $100,000, then the defendants will each be assigned a percentage of that amount that they are required to pay to the victim.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct, then you should speak with a local Arizona personal injury attorney right away.
Proving negligence or misconduct is not an easy process. However, an experienced attorney will be able to help you bring responsible parties to justice.
In personal injury cases, there are four key points that your attorney must address on your behalf: duty, breach, cause, and damages.
Before the injury took place, the person you deem at fault had some kind of duty to exercise care (such as obeying traffic laws to prevent a car accident) or provide adequate services (such as medical care).
The individual you accuse of being at fault demonstrated a breach of their duty.
As a result, the breach caused an accident which resulted in damages.
Your personal injury attorney will describe to the court how these damages merit compensation. The damages include both economic and noneconomic loss.
For example, economic damages might be the total amount of medical bills or lost wages resulting from your injuries. Noneconomic damages might be the emotional toll that you and your loved ones suffered as a result of your injuries.
The court will hear your arguments, and if they decide in your favor, the at-fault party (or parties) will be required to pay you the total amount in damages.
If the court rules your case as comparative negligence (since they feel that you were in part responsible for your own injuries), then the defendant will be required to pay only a percentage of the damages, per the comparative negligence amount assigned them by the court.
For more information about how an Arizona personal injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Ray Arenofsky at 480-345-0444 or visit our website.