Other Negligence Issues

In Arizona, the negligence of others can be proven in many ways. A personal injury attorney can explain how the negligence and comparative fault of the others can benefit you.

Negligence Per Se

Negligence per se can be the easiest to prove. This occurs when the other party violated a law or rule designed to protect the public and the party’s violation of that law or rule caused you to be injured. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 1 (“A persons who violates a statute enacted for the protection and safety of the public is guilty of negligence per se.” Good v.City of Glendale, 150 Ariz. 218, 221, 722 P.2d 386, 389 (Ct. App. 1986)). If someone, another driver for example, violated a law designed to protect you from the type of harm you suffered, the other party may have been negligent per se. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss whether the other party’s conduct can be considered negligence per se.

Negligence of a Child

Children are not held to the same standard as adults. Rather, children must use the degree of care that is ordinarily exercised by children of the same age, intelligence, knowledge, and experience under the existing circumstances. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 3. This standard, however, does not apply to the operation of a motor vehicle as all drivers are held to the adult standard. Burns v. Wheeler, 103 Ariz. 525, 446 P.2d 925 (1968). As adults, we must be able to anticipate the behaviors of our children knowing they will not behave as reasonable adults. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 3. To discuss whether you can recover for the negligence of a child, contact a personal injury attorney.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Res ipsa loquitur is latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” The legal doctrine presumes the negligence of another if you can show that:

  1. The accident occurred as a result of an instrumentality that was under defendant’s exclusive control;
  2. In the normal course of events, the accident would not have occurred unless defendant was negligent; and
  3. Plaintiff is not in a position to show the particular circumstances which caused the accident.

Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 3. An example includes someone who keeps a flowerpot on a third floor window sill. If the flower pot falls off and causes you injury, you may be able to recover under res ipsa loquitur. To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney.

Negligent infliction of Emotional Distress

If you witnessed someone suffer personal injury due to the negligence of another, you may be able to recover for the negligent infliction of emotional distress. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 8. If witnessing the injury producing event caused you such emotional distress that you suffered physically, you may have a claim. This claim arises frequently in motor vehicle accidents involving a familyTo recover in Arizona, the emotional distress “must be manifested as a physical injury” and the damages must have been caused by “the emotional disturbance that occurred at the time of the accident.” Keck v. Jackson, 122 Ariz. 114, 593 P.2d 668 (1979). To learn more about negligent infliction of emotional distress, contact a personal injury attorney.

Willful or Wanton Conduct

Aggravated negligence occurs when someone’s willful or wanton conduct causes injury. Willful or wanton conduct occurs when someone acts or fails to act with reckless indifference to the results or to the rights or safety of others. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 10. A person is recklessly indifferent if he or she knows or a reasonable person in his or her position ought to know that:

  1. The action or inaction creates an unreasonable risk of harm; and
  2. The risk is so great that it is highly probable that harm will result.

Where the wrongdoer’s conduct was intentional, willful or wanton, the wrongdoer has no right of contribution.A.R.S. 12-2501(C). Nor does said wrongdoer have a right to comparative negligence. A.R.S. 12-2505(A). To learn more about how the other party’s conduct affects your case, contact a personal injury attorney.

Driving Under the Influence

Where a motorist injures others and the motorist was under the influence of alcohol, the court will issue a negligence instruction to the jury stating that impairs to the slightest degree that “a driver is under the influence of alcohol when alcohol impairs to the slightest degree that driver’s control of the vehicle.” Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 2. In cases where the other driver’s blood alcohol concentration was .08 or above, the jury may presume that he or she was under the influence of alcohol. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 3. To learn more about recovering from an intoxicated driver, contact a personal injury attorney.

Right to Assume Laws Will Be Obeyed

In Arizona, we have the right to assume that all laws will be obeyed when we walk our city street or operate a motor vehicle. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 4. When involved in an accident, the other party may argue that your failure to avoid the accident was negligence on your behalf that should reduce any damages you are awarded. In such circumstances, the jury needs to be instructed that you had a right to presume the other party would yield the right of way and obey the traffic laws. Such an instruction can help ensure that your damages are not reduced. To learn more about your rights, contact a personal injury attorney.

Nonuse of Seat Belt or Motorcycle Helmet

If you are being sued because you caused a motor vehicle accident and injured the other party, you can admit evidence showing that the other party’s failure to use an available seat belt or motorcycle helmet exacerbated their injuries. If the jury finds that the other party’s injuries were enhanced because of their failure to protect themselves, this will reduce any damages award you may be required to pay by the amount of the other party’s fault. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Fault 11.

Sudden Emergencies

When we are faced with a sudden emergency, we are not held to the same negligence standard. As a result, the jury can consider the emergency and our reaction to it in determining whether we acted reasonable under the circumstances. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (CIVIL), 5th, Negligence 6. Where reasonable, the jury need not find the injury producing conduct negligent even though, in hindsight, the jurors feel that under normal conditions some other or better course of conduct could and should have been followed. To learn more about how the sudden emergency doctrine can impact your case, contact a personal injury attorney. Whatever your circumstances, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover because others may also have been at fault.