Comparative Negligence

Even if you were partially at fault, contact a personal injury attorney to learn how you may be able to recover for the fault of others.

Many people forego making legitimate claims to recover for personal injuries because they think they were at fault for the accident. Before deciding that you do not have a viable and legitimate personal injury claim, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Arizona law allows you to recover for personal injuries even if you were at fault for the accident. A.R.S. 12-2505. In cases where the other party intentionally, willfully or wantonly caused or contributed to your injury, you can recover 100% with no offset for your comparative negligence. Likewise, if your injury was caused by the failure of a product, your negligence may not even reach the jury. Until you contact a personal injury attorney, you may never know your rights or the full extent of your damages.

For individuals injured in Arizona, courts apply a comparative negligence rule that allows the jury to assess percentages of fault to all actors involved in the injury producing accident. Though the other party will generally argue that you were 100% at fault for your personal injuries, you are entitled to prove to a jury that the other party was wholly or partially responsible for the personal injuries you sustained. The jury then allocates fault to each party based on the evidence presented. If you sustained $100,000 in personal injuries, lost wages, and other damages as a result of an accident and the jury allocates 50% of the fault to you, you are still entitled to recover $50,000 from the other party or parties found at fault. Though not a complete recovery, 1/2 of your damages can be significant when faced with medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation. A personal injury attorney can help you assess the value of your claim.

There are several factors to consider when determining who was wholly or partially at fault for an accident. Motor vehicle crashes are just one example. If there was more than one vehicle or individual involved, there may have been more than one cause. Because personal injury accidents are complex, you need an attorney experienced in complex litigation, and accident investigation and reconstruction to determine all possible causes. Even if you were cited for a crash and the other party was not, the other party’s speed or other factors may have contributed to your personal injuries.

For example, if you turned left in front of another vehicle while departing an apartment complex or mall, it would not be uncommon for the investigating officer to cite you for violating the other vehicle’s right of way. However, if the other driver was speeding and there were landscaping or roadway design issues that restricted your view of oncoming traffic, you may still have a valid claim not only against the other driver, who was speeding, but also against the business or city responsible for ensuring that your field of view was unimpaired. In such a case, you are entitled to show that the other driver was at fault for speeding and that the apartment complex or mall failed to maintain the landscaping such that it did not inhibit a clear view of oncoming traffic. Even if cited, you may still be able to show a jury that you were not the cause of the crash or your personal injuries and that but for the action or inaction other parties, you would not have sustained any personal injury.

Because Arizona law limits the time you have to recover for personal injuries sustained in an accident to two-years, you should contact Blehm Law as soon after the accident as possible. And you should do so before making a statement to an insurance company or settling any claim.