A car accident can happen in a split second, and those few unexpected moments can have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. Car accidents can cost victims thousands of dollars in medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, and other expenses, and if the car accident was caused by someone else’s fault, either entirely or only partially, you may be entitled to compensation. Determining who was at fault in an accident as soon as possible is essential to helping victims recover, and if you’re in the Phoenix area, having a personal injury lawyer like Mike Lyding can help with the process.
How is Fault Determined in a Phoenix Auto Accident?
The laws for determining fault can vary by state, so let’s discuss what the liability laws are if you’re living and driving in the Valley of the Sun. We’ve touched on this before in our earlier blog, A Breakdown of Basic Arizona Auto Insurance Laws, so be sure to check that out too.
Under Arizona law, insurance companies can argue and assign liability because Arizona follows the doctrine of “pure comparative fault” or “pure comparative negligence” when assigning fault in a car accident. Even if it seems like your accident was obviously caused by the other driver, you may still be found partially liable! Yes, even if you were rear-ended, or the other car failed to yield or ran a red light, in Arizona, the insurance companies allege comparative negligence and it may be that It may be that the issue needs to be litigated.
And every percentage point matters, because those percentage points will determine how much compensation you get for your injuries. If the insurance adjuster assigned to your case specifically tells you NOT to hire a lawyer, they are likely trying to find some sort of liability argument to minimize your injury damages. It’s always a good idea to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyerabout the specifics of your accident before giving too much information to the insurance companies.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Your Injuries?
Every case is different, and there are always a number of factors to take into consideration before determining fault in a car accident. It may not be as simple as just assigning to the other driver whose negligence caused the accident. In fact, typically, there are four parties that could potentially be assigned fault for personal injuries sustained in an accident.
- Individuals: This is the most obvious possibility when determining fault. Most car accidents involve two or more vehicles and if the other driver caused the collision because of distracted driving such as texting or talking on the phone or otherwise, then they will likely be held liable. Obviously, if it’s proven they were driving under the influence or driving recklessly, they will also be held liable for injuries you’ve sustained as a result of their negligence.
- Companies: If the other driver was driving a company owned vehicle and not their own vehicle, it’s possible their employer could be held liable for the accident. The logic behind this is that companies are required to exercise care when hiring responsible employees and maintaining vehicles. If a company hires an employee who is reckless with the company vehicle, or the company vehicle isn’t properly maintained, causing an accident, then you may be able to hold the company itself liable. Furthermore, if a restaurant or bar over-serves a patron who then gets behind the wheel, they can also be held liable for damages from a resulting car accident.
- Government Agencies or Cities: Car accidents can be caused by improper signage, poor road maintenance, and other dangerous conditions that government agencies are responsible for. For example, if there are overgrown trees obstructing drivers’ views of the road or intersections, a city could be deemed at fault. Or, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a huge pothole in the road, which has been there for a long time, and agencies like ADOT have failed to repair it, you may be able to hold them responsible for the lack of proper road maintenance that contributed to your accident.
- Car and Automobile Parts Manufacturers: There have been countless cases of car accidents being caused by faulty auto parts, and such accidents often lead to severe injuries. Even if the accident wasn’t caused by the faulty parts, defective vehicle parts like improperly working airbags can significantly increase the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident. You may have a personal injury claim against a car or automobile parts manufacturer if you’ve been injured in an accident because of a defective part.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Lawyer for Information on Arizona’s Liability Laws
Mike Lyding of Lyding Personal Injury never charges for consultations, and he doesn’t get paid until your case is settled. With nearly 5 decades of experience as a personal injury attorney, there’s no one else who can do a better job fighting for you. If you’ve been involved in a car accident or you’ve been the victim in another accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Mike today to get your questions answered.