How is Liability Determined after a Car Accident? How Can an Attorney Help In Your Case?

Accidents happen and they can occur even when we are paying close attention to traffic. Once an accident happens the cause of the accident needs to be determined. The crash could be the fault of one driver or multiple drivers. Many people wonder, how is liability determined after a car accident? The answer is rather complex. Not all states treat accident liability in the same way. In Arizona, every responsible party is assigned a percentage of fault which is used in deciding how payments should be made.

Comparative Fault

Arizona law uses the theory of comparative fault. This means that the fault of the accident may be placed on drivers based on their amount of responsibility. For example, in an accident where one driver is found to be 80% at fault and the other driver at 20% fault, damage recovery would be divided based on these percentages. The driver who was found to be 80% at fault would have to pay for 80% of the resulting damages.  Another way to look at it is the driver at 20% fault would have his recovery reduced by 20%.

Determining Fault

The fault of an accident can be difficult to determine. Simply because one driver received a citation does not necessarily mean that he is responsible. Arizona law states that any driver may bear some responsibility for the accident regardless of whether a ticket was issued. The police will gather evidence at the crash scene which will be useful in determining fault. Witnesses, if there are any, will also play a role in piecing together what happened. Surveillance cameras may hold footage of the accident.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Will Help

After an accident you may be approached by the insurance company to make a statement and to agree to a settlement. All too often, talking to the other driver’s insurance company can make things worse. Remember that they are likely trying to place some of the blame for the accident on you, so it is best not to discuss the accident until first speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney. Additionally, do not accept a check for damages because it may not be enough to cover all of the expenses caused by the accident. Your lawyer will handle all negotiations and will assist in determining how best to proceed in your situation.

If you have been seriously injured in a vehicle accident in Arizona, call the skilled legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding How Is Liability Determined after a Car Accident,  or other personal injury matters, call Mesa AZ Personal Injury Attorney Clark R. Richter at 480-461-5321 or contact him at for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.