Negligence is a central element in personal injury lawsuits. In the case of car accidents, this can be even more complicated. In some situations, the plaintiff may have contributed to the accident to some degree. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recover damages if you were partially at-fault. Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state and knowing how this works can help you understand the factors that can influence your case. If you would like to review the law that governs pure comparative negligence, it is contained in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 12-2501.
Types of Negligence
To get a better idea of what pure comparative negligence is, it is helpful to consider it side-by-side with other types of negligence. The two most basic varieties are contributory and comparative. Contributory negligence means that if a plaintiff was even slightly responsible for the accident, they cannot receive any damages. This is less common but does apply in Alabama, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Other states use comparative fault, which means that it is possible to be partially to blame for an accident and still receive compensation. The court will determine a percentage of fault and the victim can receive this percent of the amount of damages. There are two types of comparative negligence: partial and pure. If partial comparative negligence applies, there will be a set threshold of fault, often 50%. If the plaintiff exceeds this percentage of blame, they cannot recover anything. In the case of pure comparative fault, someone could be 99% responsible for an accident and still receive 1% of the amount the court determines for damages.
How This Affects Your Personal Injury Case
If There Are More than Two Defendants
In a car accident where more than two vehicles were involved, pure comparative negligence determines who will need to pay damages and how much they will be responsible for.
If You Were Partially At Fault
There are many possible situations where you as a victim could be found partially at fault for an accident. One common example is speeding. If the defendant ran a red light and hit your car, but you were speeding at the time of the accident, the court may determine that you shared a certain percent of the blame. The benefit of pure comparative negligence in this case is that you can still recover the remaining percentage of damages.
Since any degree of fault can reduce how much you can recover, this also means that the defendant and the insurance company will likely try to find evidence of any negligence on your part. As a result, you should avoid making any statements that could be used against you in court.
Car Accident Attorneys in Tucson
Car accident cases can be complex and you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At Grabb and Durando, we will examine the evidence and help you get the compensation you deserve for any injuries you sustained.