If you’re ever involved in an auto accident in Arizona, it’s important to know the basics of the law and how the situation might unfold after the incident. Taking the time to understand some of the high-level pieces can help you determine which direction to go in the days and weeks following.
One of the initial issues will be assigning fault to whoever is most responsible for causing the incident. Arizona is an “at-fault” state, meaning the driver who causes the accident is responsible for paying the other driver’s bills (typically through an insurance company).
What Comparative Fault Means
Arizona is a comparative fault state, which means that courts will break down each individual’s responsibility for an accident when assessing damages in personal injury lawsuits. For example, if you were going fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit and were in an accident with someone who ran a stoplight, the court may find that you were 20% responsible for the accident, while the other party was 80% responsible. As a result, your settlement would be reduced by 20% of the normal damages.
In “tort” states like Arizona, medical costs are only paid out after the fault has been legally assigned, which means that you could initially be on the hook for bills if significant litigation is required to assign blame. Your reimbursement could take much longer as a result.
Along with that, Arizona law has a statute of limitations that requires any lawsuit brought for injury, vehicle damage, or wrongful death be brought within two years of the incident.
What To Do After a Car Accident
Especially in the sprawling Phoenix area, car accidents are not uncommon, especially at high speeds on our expansive freeway network.
If you end up getting into an accident and have confirmed that no one needs immediate medical attention, it’s important to stay at the scene and answer any questions should the local police arrive to assess the situation. You’ll also need to exchange insurance and other important information with the other driver(s) and ensure everything has been answered before leaving.
It’s also a good idea to take your own personal notes in a timely manner following the incident while details are still fresh. The more that can be independently confirmed, the easier it may be if you decide to pursue damages. Taking pictures of injuries and vehicle/property damage also helps establish the actual severity of damage rather than returning at a later date when things might change.
It is vital to have clear and accurate records of every detail of the accident. These will go a long way towards establishing personal injury care should you decide to pursue additional action. Also, never speak with an opposite party’s insurance company before speaking with a qualified auto accident attorney.
Arizona Mandatory Insurance Minimums
The following is required for any auto driver in the state:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
- $30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, and
- $10,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.
If you don’t have this basic coverage and are caught without it, you could face a license suspension or worse.
Above all, if you feel that you’re entitled to damages following an auto accident in Arizona, it’s important to consult a qualified personal injury attorney to learn about your rights and options. Call Rabb & Rabb, PLLC today at (520) 888-6740 to learn more and schedule your free consultation.