Act Now: Contact Perez Law Group, PLLC
In the wake of a multi-car accident in Arizona, your first step should be contacting the personal injury lawyers at Perez Law Group, PLLC to discuss the particulars of your injury case. Our auto accident attorney team is here to stand up for your rights, help you navigate the intricate legal process, and help to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to via accident insurance claims and/or a personal injury lawsuit. If you are now an injury victim due to another’s actions or inactions, don’t hesitate; reach out to us now at (602) 730-7100 or online. Our motor vehicle accident attorneys are ready to turn your hardship into a winning personal injury case.
Decoding Arizona’s Car Accident Laws
If you’ve recently been involved in a multi-vehicle pileup in Arizona, you’re likely grappling with a myriad of questions. Among the most pressing: “Who is liable?” In the convoluted aftermath of a multi-vehicle pileup, determining liability can be especially complex. Below, we clarify some of the key aspects of Arizona state laws relating to car accidents, liability, compensation, and the concept of negligence. These clarifications can help crash victims to better determine whether they’re in a strong position to file an actionable personal injury claim with the assistance of a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer.
Before we delve into the intricacies of determining fault, let’s look at some essential Arizona state laws relevant to car accidents. First, it’s important to note that you must generally adhere to a two-year deadline when filing a car accident lawsuit in Arizona’s civil court system. Secondly, Arizona adheres to a “pure comparative fault” rule, which means you may still be entitled to compensation even if you were partially to blame for the accident. Lastly, in Arizona, you are legally obligated to report a car accident if any significant property damage or any accident-related injuries have occurred.
The “Fault”-Based System In Arizona Car Accident Cases
Arizona does not follow a “no-fault” system for car accidents, a system used in several other states. Instead, it adheres to a traditional “fault”-based system. Under this system, the individual who caused the car accident is financially responsible for the resulting harm, such as injuries and vehicle damage. In practice, this usually means that the responsible party’s insurance company will cover the losses of those impacted by the accident, subject to the driver’s liability coverage limits.
Compensation After A Car Accident In Arizona
If you’ve suffered injuries from a car accident in Arizona, you could be entitled to compensation for a variety of crash-related losses. These losses, often referred to as “damages” in legal parlance, include the cost of medical treatment for your injuries, pain and suffering (both mental and physical) resulting from the accident, and any financial impact caused by the accident, such as lost income or diminished ability to work. Remember, Arizona is not a no-fault insurance state, meaning that compensation for pain and suffering is indeed possible.
Understanding Negligence In Arizona Car Accident Cases
Negligence, a central concept in many car accident cases, essentially refers to a person’s failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable individual would have exercised under similar circumstances. To effectively prove negligence in a car accident case, four fundamental elements must be established: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty Of Care
The duty of care is a legal obligation that each driver has to act responsibly on the road to prevent causing harm to others. This involves obeying traffic laws, driving attentively, maintaining their vehicle properly, and adjusting driving behavior according to weather and road conditions. For instance, in rain or snow, a reasonable driver would slow down and keep a safe distance from other vehicles to prevent accidents.
Breach Of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when a driver fails to uphold this duty of care. This can take many forms, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, running red lights, texting while driving, or other forms of reckless or careless driving behavior. A breach of duty can also occur when a driver fails to adapt to weather or traffic conditions, such as not slowing down in a storm or congested traffic.
Causation is the link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the accident. It needs to be proven that the defendant’s breach directly caused the accident and the plaintiff’s resulting injuries. This element can often be the most challenging to establish, as it requires demonstrating that the accident would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligent behavior.
For instance, if a driver was speeding and lost control of their vehicle, resulting in a collision, it would need to be proven that the speeding (breach of duty) directly led to the accident. If something else caused the accident (like another driver’s actions or a mechanical failure), the causation element could be more difficult to prove.
Damages concern the ways in which the plaintiff has been harmed as a result of the defendant’s negligent conduct. These kinds of losses can be tangible, such as injuries or property damage, but can also include emotional distress and financial losses.
Physical damages could include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, or any other harm that required medical attention. Emotional damages might involve trauma, anxiety, depression, or loss of enjoyment of life following the accident. Financial damages could include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income due to missed work, reduced earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Car Accident Cases In Arizona
If both parties involved in an accident share some blame, Arizona applies a “pure comparative fault” rule. This rule requires the jury to calculate the total dollar amount of your damages, as well as the percentage of fault attributable to each party. The plaintiff’s damages award is then reduced by a percentage equal to their share of fault.
For instance, if you are deemed 25 percent at fault for the accident, and your total damages amount to $100,000, you would be entitled to 75 percent of the total, or $75,000. Remarkably, this rule applies even if you bear more blame for the accident than the other party. If you are found to be 90 percent at fault, you could still theoretically claim 10 percent of your total damages.
The Bottom Line
Determining liability in multi-vehicle pileups is not straightforward, particularly given the nuances of Arizona’s comparative negligence rule and the role of negligence in determining fault. However, it’s essential to remember that these rules should not dissuade you from pursuing an auto accident settlement or lawsuit. Hiring a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be instrumental in helping you navigate this complex process and advocating for your rights to recover the compensation you deserve.
Your Next Step After An Arizona Multi-Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a multi-car accident in Arizona, it’s vital to take immediate action to protect your rights and potential compensation. At Perez Law Group, PLLC, our personal injury lawyers are equipped with the legal skills and commitment to guide you through the complicated aftermath of your accident. Our personal injury attorney team is passionate about securing the best possible outcomes for our personal injury clients. We won’t rest until you receive the justice you deserve. Don’t allow an accident to disrupt your life more than it already has. Reach us today at (602) 730-7100 or online and let us shoulder the burden of your legal fight.