Did your Chandler car accident lawyer use the phrase “comparative negligence” but never explained it? Perhaps you heard it used somewhere and never really understood its meaning. We will explain everything you need to know about it in the following lines.
Before we get to it, though, keep in mind that communication is key to any client-lawyer relationship. If you cannot ask questions or talk openly to your legal advisor, then maybe you need to keep looking. You have the right to know everything related to your case. It is your accident lawyer’s job to provide all the explanations and answers you need.
Comparative Negligence and Arizona Car Accident Laws
Most Arizona car accident cases are built on the “negligence” theory. “Negligence” is a broad term, and we are not going to analyze all its meaning on this occasion. In car accident cases, it refers to situations when one party fails to exercise proper care and harms another party.
But, sometimes, both or several parties involved in a car accident act negligently. “Comparative negligence” is the legal principle or doctrine applied in such cases. According to it, car accident victims can seek compensation even if they are 99% at fault for their injuries.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-2505 dictates that plaintiffs found at fault do not lose their recovery right. Their damages will be reduced by a percentage comparative to their fault percentage. Only those who caused or contributed to their injuries intentionally lose their right to compensation.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-2501 refers to cases in which two or more parties share liability. In such cases, all the parties responsible will pay a portion of the damages comparative with their fault. The best way to understand how these laws may impact your case is to take a concrete example.
Let’s say a car accident in Chandler resulted in $100,000 worth of damages. It involved three parties: John, Adam, and Nancy. The evidence revealed the following fault percentages: John – 25%, Adam – 60%, and Nancy – 15%. Under Arizona laws, the parties will cover damages as follows: John – $25,000, Adam – $60,000, and Nancy – $15,000.
How much money each party will actually pay depends on what damages each incurred. Although Adam was the most at fault, if his damages exceeded $60,000, he may still recover some of them. This is only possible in Arizona and other states following the “comparative negligence” doctrine.
As your Chandler car accident lawyer may explain, other states follow the “contributory negligence” doctrine. They bar recovery for plaintiffs with a high share of liability. In the above example, even if Adam had incurred all the damages, he would have no right to recovery. In cases involving only two parties, the party that is more than 50% at fault loses the right to compensation.
Why Is Comparative Negligence So Important for a Chandler Car Accident Lawyer?
Assigning fault for a car accident is no exact science. The decision of the insurance claim adjuster or of the civil court can easily be influenced. Auto accident attorneys in Chandler know that, so they do not expect to win a case without a fight. You should not expect that either.
After all, for the defendant to your car accident claim, every fault percentage they assign to you matters. It lowers the compensation they will have to pay. And this is not all. Under Arizona laws, in car accident cases, the burden of proof falls on the claimant.
This means you have to prove how the accident occurred and what its consequences were. If you want to obtain the due compensation, you need to show that the defendant:
- Owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- Their actions caused your injuries
- Those actions and injuries led to the damages you seek compensation for.
This is not always easy, especially for car accident lawyers that take over the case months after the accident. If you want to make sure your auto accident lawyer can find all the necessary evidence, get in touch fast! The sooner they start working for you the better their case results will be.
Contact a Chandler Car Accident Lawyer Now!
Do not risk being accused of comparative negligence and having your compensation claim diminished! Contact an experienced Chandler car accident lawyer and gather the evidence you need to build a strong case. Call our law firm office at 480-757-3211 and make an appointment now! We will not rest until we get you the compensation you deserve!