Understanding Personal Injury Law In Arizona
If someone intentionally harmed you or a loved one, they could be prosecuted in criminal court. But what if you were seriously injured in an accident that was most likely caused by negligence or was otherwise preventable? The action may not be a crime, but the consequences you face are still very real: medical bills, time away from work, permanent disability, etc.
In situations like this, you can seek compensation through the civil court system in a personal injury lawsuit. On this page, I’ll discuss more about the specific state laws governing personal injury cases.
Time Limits To Pursue Litigation
Every state limits how much time you have to file a lawsuit after you have been harmed. This is called the statute of limitations. In Arizona, the statute of limitations on most personal injury and wrongful death claims is two years from the date of injury or death. Although you have two years, it is often better to file much sooner to preserve evidence and keep memories fresh.
Determining Fault And Seeking Compensation
In a car accident (or other injury scenarios), the accident may have been entirely one person’s fault, or fault may be shared. You, as the plaintiff, may even be partially at fault for your own injuries because you did or failed to do something that made the situation worse (like not wearing a seatbelt).
The good news is that even if you were partially at fault, you can still seek compensation. Arizona uses a legal principle known as “pure comparative negligence.” Under this principle, the jury determines the total value of your personal injury claim, and it assigns a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and the defendant. If you won your case but were found to be 10% at fault, you would be awarded 90% of the full amount of damages. The award is reduced by your percentage of fault.
The Role Of Auto Insurance
In Arizona, determining fault is also necessary for auto insurance purposes, because the money to cover claims will come from the at-fault driver’s insurance company (up to the limits set in the policy). If you were injured by another driver, you could seek compensation in a few ways, the first being a personal injury lawsuit.
You can also file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurer or by filing a claim with your own insurer. If your own insurer agrees to cover the claim, the company will likely sue the at-fault driver’s insurer to recoup the costs of your claim.
Because insurance can be a bureaucratic mess, you may find it easiest and most effective to hire a personal injury lawyer and file your own lawsuit. This often gives you the most control over the process and the outcome.
Contact Me To Discuss Your Options In A Free Consultation
I am Josh Wood, your East Valley personal injury attorney. Located in Gilbert, I proudly serve clients throughout the area. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, call Wood Law Group, PLLC at 480-877-1107, or send me an email.