Negligence Law in Arizona
Accidents that cause serious injuries and expensive medical bills are often the result of another person’s negligence. At Van Norman Law, we have extensive experience identifying and proving negligence cases. We’re dedicated to helping you earn the compensation you deserve when someone else causes you harm, so you can find emotional and financial relief. If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, continue reading to learn more about the Arizona negligence laws, and how they could apply to your case.
What Is Negligence?
Legally, negligence is when someone fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care, resulting in injury to a person or their property. One example of negligence is when a driver fails to stop and hits a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.
If someone’s proven negligence has caused you harm in Arizona, you are entitled to compensation under tort law. However, because Arizona is a comparative negligence state, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on your own degree of negligence during the accident.
Comparative Negligence Law in Arizona
In contributory negligence states, you cannot receive compensation if you are to any degree at fault for the accident that resulted in your personal injury. However, Arizona follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means that the victim can still be entitled to damages even when they are partially at fault.
Under Arizona Revised Statute (ARS), 12-2505, the court determines how much the victim and the defendant were each at fault for the accident. To calculate damages, the court will weigh each party’s degree of negligence and remove the victim’s at-fault percentage from their compensation.
For instance, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages for a personal injury claim, but are deemed 50% at fault for the accident, you would only receive $50,000. You can still seek compensation even if you are 99% at fault for an accident. However, you do not have the right to comparative negligence if you deliberately cause or contribute to the victim’s injury.
How Is Negligence Determined in Arizona?
In order to win a negligence claim and recover damages in Arizona, you must be able to prove all four of the following factors:
- Duty: The defendant owed a duty to you. For example, doctors owe a duty to their patients to provide proper medical care. Drivers owe a duty to others on the road and must drive safely.
- Breach: The defendant breached the duty they owed to you. A doctor who injures their patient or a driver who texts while driving has breached their duty of care.
- Cause: Your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
- Damages: The court can compensate you in some way, such as with money to cover your medical expenses that are a result of the injury.
Other Types of Negligence in Arizona Personal Injury Cases
Vicarious or “imputed” negligence is when one party is liable for the harm that a different party caused, because they were legally responsible for the victim. For instance, employers are legally responsible for their employees’ safety, and parents are legally responsible for their minor children. In personal injury cases, such as dog bites, the dog’s owner is the one held responsible due to vicarious negligence.
Negligence Per Se
There are some instances where you do not have to prove all four elements of negligence. According to the doctrine of negligence per se, if the act of the defending breaking the law caused your injury, you do not have to provide evidence that the defendant owed a duty to you and breached that duty.
One example of negligence per se is when a driver speeds and hits your car, resulting in your injury. In this case, the first two elements of negligence are proven automatically because, under law, the defendant owed you the duty of driving safely and breached it by breaking the law. You will only have to prove that the car accident caused your injury and that you should receive compensation.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona
Arizona negligence law is complex and can get confusing. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact the expert team at Van Norman Law in Scottsdale. We’ll analyze your case and help you prove the negligence involved. When we handle your case, you can focus on rest and recovery. Call 480-481-0616 today to schedule your free consultation.