Understanding Comparative Negligence Law

Were you hurt in an accident caused by someone else? You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Under Arizona law, your damages are subject to comparative negligence law, which determines how fault rests on both a defendant and a plaintiff.

Pure Comparative Negligence

The state of Arizona follows what is known as the “pure comparative negligence” rule. If you are hurt, and you claim your injuries are the result of another person’s actions, the court will review your case to determine if fault can be placed solely on that person, or if you were to blame as well.

For example, if you are injured in a car accident, and you sue the other driver for causing the accident, the court will review your role in the accident, too. Were you driving cautiously, or speeding? Did you look carefully before turning onto a street, or did you turn without looking both ways?

If the court determines you are liable in any way, it can reduce the amount of your award. Say you sue for $100,000 in damages, and the court decides that you were 25% at fault for the accident, while the other driver was only 75% liable. Your award will be reduced to $75,000.

How to Prove Negligence

Personal injury cases all rely on proof of negligence. In order for your case to have a successful outcome, you have to provide valid proof that the defendant caused your injury. Negligence can be difficult to prove, but there are four questions you can answer that will give you a good idea of the strength of your case:

1.) Was a duty owed?

During their general interactions, people are expected to extend a duty of care to each other. For instance, your landlord is obligated to provide a safe sidewalk and walkway leading to your home. Your doctor’s duty is to care for your health.

2.) Was that duty breached?

Did the person owing the obligation to you neglect to use reasonable care? If your landlord doesn’t replace lightbulbs on the exterior of your apartment, or leaves tools scattered on the stairs, he has failed to provide a safe walkway and has, therefore, breached his duty of care.

3.) Whose actions caused the injury?

You will have to provide details showing the defendant caused your injury. In the landlord scenario, you can explain that the burnt-out bulbs hindered your ability to see everything, and the tools on the stairs were tripping hazards. Answering this question can also help you see if you would be considered responsible for any part of the accident under comparative negligence law.

4.) Will damages provide sufficient compensation?

Damages are monetary awards that cover your loss. If you’ve been injured, the damages you ask for should cover your medical bills, money lost while you were out of your job, and any other costs related to the injury, such as physical therapy or psychiatry services. It’s important to remember that you likely won’t receive the entire amount requested if the court finds you liable at all.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Understanding comparative negligence law can be complicated, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. The attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC can help you determine what, if any, liability you have, and get you the compensation you need to recover.

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 need legal advice regarding What to Do If You Think You Have Been Misdiagnosed, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at  480.461.5335,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. 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.