What is Arizona’s Law of Pure Comparative Negligence?

Even if you’re not found “at fault” for your auto accident, your actions will still come under some scrutiny. That’s because the defendant in your case has a lot to gain if they can lay more responsibility for the accident squarely at your feet.

In Arizona, each party is assigned a “percentage” of fault. Either side may recover damages from the other’s insurance company, but the award will be reduced by the amount of negligence each party is responsible for. Negligence can go anywhere from 0% to 100%. At a certain percentage of negligence, of course, it stops making sense to press the case.

What is an example of comparative negligence?

Imagine an accident at an intersection. One party makes an illegal turn. The other speed up to run the yellow light.

While the party who made the illegal turn was probably at-fault for the accident, the one who sped through the light wasn’t exactly being a safe driver either. That decision contributed to the accident, even though it was technically legal.

Remember, each driver has a “duty of care” to all the other drivers on the road. Preventing accidents is the first responsibility of anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car.

So in this case, the party who made the illegal turn might be found 70% at fault. The other driver is found 30% at fault. They can still recover for their accident, but not as much as they did. If they got a $100,000 award, they’d only receive $70,000.

Comparative negligence is a fantastic reason to have a skilled attorney on your side.

What are defenses to negligence?

Most of the time, negligence isn’t very straightforward. One defense will be to show you acted with as much reason, caution, and care as could be expected under the circumstances. Another way would be to show the defendants have their case facts wrong as it pertains to your actions.

In rarer cases, we might show that you didn’t have a duty to act in a particular way. If you don’t have a responsibility to perform certain actions then you can’t be held negligent. 

How can you reduce your negligence percentage?

Hopefully, you did everything right during your accident. Yet even if you didn’t, having a good attorney by your side can make a world of difference. Often, the percentage of fault you are assigned often comes down to who has the best argument.

In fact, comparative negligence is one reason why you should never, ever try to handle a personal injury claim on your own. If you don’t have an attorney yet, call one of ours: there’s no risk or obligation for you.