Comparative Fault in a Phoenix Car Accident
As Phoenix injury lawyers, we are the first to see that there are thousands of auto accidents in Arizona every year. With the number of drivers on the roads increasing every day, it is possible that the number of auto accidents is only going to increase. This is unfortunate, but with new drivers and tourists coming into Phoenix each year it is the reality of what is happening on our roads and highways.
This is not to say that automobile drivers in Phoenix or new drivers are not safe. People can drive very safely and still be involved in car accidents because of others' distracted driving. Even if you are a safe driver you may still find yourself in a car crash because others on the road are not paying attention. Currently, cell phone usage, and especially texting, while driving is on rise, contributing to many fatal collisions.
Many people who are involved in serious car collisions think that handling their own claim will be a simple matter. Naturally, people think this especially when there seems to be no liability dispute. However, under Arizona law, the insurance company can always argue liability. Even if a car rear ended you, failed to yield, or ran a red light, an insurance company under Arizona law can still find you a percentage at fault for your injuries if they can find the slightest thing that you did wrong and diminish the fault of their insured.
Every percentage point counts when paying out on injury claims. If an adjustor specifically tells you not to hire a lawyer, they are possibly going to try to minimize your injury damages and find some sort of liability argument. If you wait too long to call an attorney, then the insurance company will have the chance to document and gather all of the evidence, hurting your case before you even hire a lawyer.
Due to Arizona law on percentage of fault, calculating the fault of drivers can be difficult and complex. If you could take an extra 10% off everything you had to pay out, wouldn't you try if you had a basis? With all the Phoenix car accident injury claims that insurance companies pay out, if they could assign fault of even 5-10% on another party for each claim, they would save millions of dollars. Generally, insurance companies try to assign even higher percentages of fault.
If you have been in a car accident, there are a number of factors taken into consideration before fault is determined. In addition to the insurance companies using the comparative fault law to assign fault to other people, injured victims of auto accidents can assign fault to other people in order to collect from all individuals who are at fault.
First, your Phoenix car accident attorney will want to determine if an individual was fully responsible or if there were other contributors. For instance, accidents can be caused by road design or lack of a stop sign. Maybe the air bags contributed to the injury. It is possible that the person who caused the crash left a bar drunk and the bar has responsibility for letting their patron drive drunk, which later resulted in a car accident.
Other factors include overgrown trees obstructing drivers' views, which would put the city at fault, and equipment malfunctions, which would hold the manufacturer liable. Of course the most common reason for car accidents is driver error, but due to the Phoenix law of comparative fault, there are many other people or companies that an injured person can collect from when in a serious Phoenix injury auto accident.
The common law method for estimating fault employs a legal theory called pure comparative fault. If the victim is even slightly at fault for an accident, then they have to pay that percentage of fault. Pure comparative fault means that your contribution to the accident will be evaluated as a percentage of the total fault, and that percentage will be deducted from your compensation. If you are 15% at fault for an accident, you will receive 85% of what you otherwise would have been awarded.
Settlement amounts are determined by calculating the expenses resulting from the accident: the cost of medical bills, car repair, alternative transportation, and lost income. An assessment of physical and mental pain is also to be compensated and damages ultimately will be awarded based on the assessment of fault. When it comes to determining your degree of fault, each case is different. At some point, you will be in negotiations with an insurance company representative, who will ultimately decide what percentage of the accident you are at fault for. An attorney can fight against percentage of fault and hold the parties who contributed to your injuries responsible to make sure you are wholly compensated for your injured.
Very few people are able to successfully navigate this process on their own, and finding an experienced Phoenix car insurance attorney who will fight for you is often the key to success. That is why it is important to find the best lawyer that you can find that will make sure you receive the best settlement.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we do not charge for consultations, and we will not charge you unless we successfully settle your case. We do complete investigations as to who is at fault for the accident. Call (602) 267-1280 now and we will answer all your questions.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer