How does comparative negligence work?

Being injured in a car or pedestrian accident can completely disrupt an individual’s life. The injuries can cause severe physical pain and suffering that can be not only expensive to treat but difficult to overcome. Some wind up with personal disabilities, while others succumb to their injuries. When such an accident is caused by the negligence of another, a victim and his or her family may be able to recover compensation for their damages if they are able to prove certain legal elements. However, they may be afraid that they were partially at fault and how that will affect their legal claim.

Fortunately, Arizona recognizes comparative negligence. This means that fault can be divided amongst multiple parties. Depending on one’s fault, of course, his or her recovery may be diminished. Therefore, if a victim is found to be 45 percent at fault, then he or she would only recover $55,000 of a $100,000 judgment. There is no cutoff at which an individual cannot recover compensation. Even if a plaintiff is found to be 99 percent at fault, he or she could, theoretically, recover compensation for the one percent of fault incurred by the defendant.

So what does this mean for car accident victims? It means that they not only have to be aggressive in their attempt to impose liability, but they also have to be prepared to play a little bit of defense in order to curtail the amount of fault attributed to them. Therefore, every aspect of the accident has to be carefully analyzed to determine if a victim contributed any fault. Only then can a thorough legal strategy be crafted.

The facts of every case is different, and so, too, are the ways that fault can be apportioned. Truth be told, two identical cases could turn out completely differently if different legal arguments are made in each case. Therefore, it is crucial that car accident victims carefully develop their legal claim to ensure that they proceed competently and confidently.