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Arizona Is A “Comparative Negligence” State, What That Means For Personal Injury Liability

According to the National Center for Health Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 31 million individuals around the nation are injured annually and require medical treatment. Of those who are injured, 2 million of those injuries are severe enough to need hospitalization and over 162,000 are fatal. Although these numbers are heavily concentrated in auto accidents, people are also injured through medical malpractice, construction accidents, and product liability.

Statistics compiled from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that of all the tort cases brought to trial in 2005, 60% of them were related to personal injury. That number has steadily increased over the past decade.

In Arizona, when you are hurt as a consequence of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Arizona operates under the law of comparative negligence, which means that it is not always the case that only one party is to blame. Instead, liability can rest with varying degrees on two or more parties.

Comparative negligence is a legal theory which generally states that fault for an accident can rest with more than one person. A person may be found partially at fault if proved that they breached their duty of care to act as a reasonable person would have acted under those circumstances.  There are times when even the injured person may be partially at fault for his/her own injuries. 

How is comparative negligence calculated?

Comparative negligence is calculated by considering the conduct of each negligent party that contributed to the injuries, and apportioning degrees of fault on each party using percentages.  The combined percentages of comparative fault must equal 100%.   To determine the amount each party must pay to the injured person, the court multiplies the total amount of damages recoverable by the injured person by the percentage of each defendant’s fault.  That amount is the maximum recoverable against each defendant.  In a pure comparative negligence case, the injured person’s damages are reduced by the percentage that they have been deemed responsible for their own injuries. For example, if a injured person is found 20% negligent for their injuries, the damages they are awarded are reduced by 20%. The injured person would recover the remaining 80%.  

If you are injured in Arizona due to someone else’s negligence, call the Folger Law Firm.  The insurance company will offer you less than full compensation for your injuries by alleging you caused your injuries or your injuries were caused by a 3rd party. Protect yourself by calling us today – we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Since Arizona is a comparative negligence state, proving that you were not at fault is a critical component to being compensated fairly for your personal injuries.

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