What’s Comparative Fault and What Does it Mean for My Personal Injury Claim?

Comparative Fault

Sometimes, a personal injury occurs because of the actions of only one party. In many cases, however, more than one person contributes to the events that cause a personal injury. In some cases, even the injured victim may have contributed to the events that caused their injuries with their own negligence.

How can multiple parties cause an accident?

An accident might occur both because a person ran a stop light and because another driver was speeding. In that case, both drivers are partially to blame for the fact that the accident occurred. They’re also both partially to blame for the severity of the accident. In another example, a slip and fall might occur because a store left a water spill on the floor for too long and because a patron was running in the store.

How does the law handle cases where multiple parties are to blame?

In Arizona, the law aims to hold a person accountable for the injuries that they cause. If multiple people contribute to an accident, each person should pay their share. When a person shares in the blame for their own injuries, the law aims to hold them accountable for some of their own losses. The rule that assigns liability for a person’s damages based on their contribution to the accident is called comparative negligence or comparative fault.

What is Arizona’s comparative fault law?

Arizona law 12-2505 is Arizona’s comparative fault law. The law says that when a person contributes to their own accident, they can still recover to the extent that they’re not to blame for the damage. Their recovery gets reduced by the percent that they contribute to their own accident.

In the previous example, if the person who ran the stop sign is 75 percent to blame, the person who was speeding must be 25 percent to blame. If the person who ran the stop sign has injuries, they can still recover for their losses. However, their recovery gets reduced by 75 percent because that’s the percent that they’re to blame for causing their own injuries.

It’s up to the jury to decide

The jury decides whether you share fault for the accident. If they decide that both parties or multiple parties share fault, they assign fault based on their view of the case. It’s the jury that actually assigns the percentage of fault as part of their verdict. They also determine your damages. You recover the amount of your damages multiplied by the percent that you’re not to blame for the accident.