How Is Fault Assigned in Car Accident Cases?

Car accidents are one of Arizona’s most common causes of injuries and deaths annually. In 2019 alone, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported 982 traffic accident deaths and 53,809 injuries in the state. If you get injured in a car accident in Arizona, you may wonder who will be responsible for paying for your damages. You or your lawyer will need to navigate Arizona’s fault laws to answer this question.

Fault Laws in Arizona

Arizona is a fault state. After a car accident, this means the driver or party at fault for causing the collision will have to pay for damages. To ensure everyone has the financial means of paying for crash victims’ medical bills and property damages, Arizona has mandatory vehicle insurance requirements. Every driver needs to carry at least $50,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance, $25,000 per person and $15,000 in property damage insurance.

All victims injured in a car accident in Arizona will seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the liable driver does not have enough insurance, the victims’ own insurance may provide secondary coverage. Arizona also has a comparative fault law in place. Comparative fault, also called comparative negligence, is a defense strategy that can reduce the victim’s financial recovery based on his or her percentage of fault for the accident.

Arizona Revised Statute 12-2505 states that it will be up to a jury to decide on a car accident victim’s comparative negligence or assumption of risk. If a jury believes the victim contributed to the crash, this could reduce the victim’s compensatory award by an amount equal to his or her degree of fault. Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning a victim could be more than 90% at fault and still be allowed to recover.

Who Can Be At Fault?

You must identify the at-fault party before you can receive financial compensation for your injuries and property damages after a car crash in Arizona. While Arizona’s fault-based insurance system can mean greater compensation for your damages than in a no-fault state, it requires you to assign and prove fault before you can recover. Assigning fault for a car accident may take a professional investigation into the person or party most responsible for causing the crash. This could be many different parties depending on the case.

  • A negligent, irresponsible or reckless driver may be liable for an accident he or she causes.
  • If the negligent driver was performing work-related duties at the time of the wreck, his or her employer could have vicarious liability.
  • City government. The city or state government may owe compensation to victims injured in car accidents related to road defects, such as potholes.
  • Car part manufacturer. A crash or injury caused by a defective or poorly designed vehicle part could point to liability for the manufacturer.

If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident where the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown – or if the at-fault party does not have adequate insurance – you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance provider instead. A car accident attorney in Glendale can help you determine the at-fault party for your accident, as well as help you prove fault.

Evidence to Help Prove Fault

It will be your responsibility as an injured car accident victim to prove or establish another person’s fault. An insurance company may require evidence of fault before agreeing to pay for your damages. Proving fault takes gathering and presenting key evidence against the at-fault party. This could include cellphone records, eyewitness statements, expert testimony, crash reconstruction, photographs, video footage, police reports and medical records. A plaintiff’s attorney can help you meet the burden of proof during a car accident claim in Arizona.