Determining Accident Negligence in Arizona
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting, from injuries to medical bills to time off work. You may feel stressed and emotionally drained from the events of the wreck, and dealing with insurance companies or deciding whether to file a personal injury case in the days after the crash can exacerbate that stress.
However, knowing who’s at fault in a crash and organizing the facts of your case are both essential to getting you fair compensation after an accident.
How to Determine Negligence
The first step in determining fault will be determining if negligence was involved in the auto accident. Whether it’s distracted driving or impairment, there are a number of ways that a driver can be negligent on the road. If any of these are factors in the accident, the distracted, impaired, or reckless drivers will most likely be at fault, though under state law, comparative negligence in Arizona comes into play.
What is 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.
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: Once you’ve established a duty of care, you must prove 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: You must produce evidence that the actions of the defendant directly caused an injury to the plaintiff.
- Damages: You must prove that the plaintiff sustained damages. This can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more.
Organizing the Facts of Your Accident
Once you’ve determined who’s at fault in an accident, organize the facts and prove your case. A few basic steps are involved when it comes to proving fault in an accident, and the first is to acquire your police report. Then, you’ll have to show that the accident resulted in a financial loss, whether that includes lost potential earnings in the event of a long-term injury, medical bills, and/or time off from work for treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, etc.
Statute of Limitations for Filing an Accident Claim
Keep in mind that you only have a specific amount of time to bring a case. Each state will have a different statute of limitations after an auto accident. For example, Arizona’s statute of limitations is two years.
Contact Your Attorney
Finally, it’s important to contact your attorney. Your lawyer can act as a liaison on your behalf after an accident, allowing you to recover and relax. Your attorney can also help you organize the facts of your case. This ensures you file well within the statute of limitations for your state.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Phoenix
Stay calm, organized, and collected after an accident. Ensure that you’ve gathered all possible information, including the police report, and proceed with an attorney. Review all options, even after a minor collision. Your lawyer will help make the process smooth and stress-free.
Contact our Phoenix injury lawyers at ELG today at (623) 877-3600 for a free consultation.