Arizona Car Accident Introduction
The Grand Canyon State is characterized by sweltering deserts in the south around Phoenix and mountainous terrain (and a more temperate climate) in the north near places like Flagstaff. Arizona is home to several universities, art galleries, and about 6.6 million residents. The natural beauty of the Grand Canyon and surrounding countryside make Arizona a popular tourist destination, and there is no shortage of opportunities to participate in active sports like rafting, hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
No one wants to be involved in an injury accident in Arizona or elsewhere. Even when a car accident does not result in fatal injuries, a car crash can leave a victim with permanent disabilities and expensive medical bills. A spinal cord injury may never fully heal (for example), causing the victim to miss thousands of dollars in pay because he or she cannot return to his or her job. A victim who sustains a concussion and suffers from constant headaches may struggle with pain and frustration for the rest of his or her life. A car crash lawsuit cannot undo any physical harm suffered by a victim, but it may be able to help alleviate financial concerns the victim may have.
Arizona Car Accident Statistics
Arizona sees its share of car crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities. According to the state’s Department of Transportation, in 2015 there were a total of 116,609 collisions and about 36,139 injury incidents reported. This means that approximately 100 people were being injured every single day in Arizona car crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reported 893 traffic-related fatalities, a significant jump from 2014’s number of 773. A majority of these fatalities occurred in urban areas, not rural.
It is not always clear what specifically caused a collision to happen, but most collisions occur because one or more individuals involved were behaving recklessly or carelessly before the crash. Careless behavior can include sending or reading text messages while driving, applying makeup while driving, drinking alcohol or consuming impairing drugs (whether legal or not) and then attempting to drive, or refusing to abide by the “rules of the road” as they are posted (i.e., by speeding or disregarding stop signs or traffic lights). When a person decides to engage in this sort of behavior, it follows naturally that that person is not at a greater risk for causing a car crash that can end up killing or seriously injuring another person.
Arizona is a “Fault-Based” Insurance State
Because a car crash can happen at any time and can cause severe financial difficulties for the victim of the crash, Arizona requires all resident drivers to have an insurance policy in force. Arizona auto insurance policies can be referred to as “fault based” policies because a successful claim for compensation requires evidence that the insurance company’s client was at fault in causing injury to the person submitting the claim to the insurer. If the insurer is not convinced that its client caused harm to the injury victim, or if the insurer believes the victim was also negligent and caused his or her own injuries, the insurer may choose to not pay the claim or to pay the injury victim a smaller amount of compensation.
Dissatisfaction with the insurance company’s resolution of his or her claim can cause injury victims to look elsewhere for the compensation they need. Injury victims in this situation may choose to file a car crash lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This may be a more beneficial route for the victim to pursue, especially if he or she was responsible (in part) for contributing to the accident’s occurrence. Arizona follows a pure comparative fault doctrine that allows the victim to recover compensation from the other party involved so long as that other party was at least one percent responsible for causing the crash.
Arizona’s Statute of Limitations
Lawsuits for compensation after car crashes are governed by Arizona’s statute of limitations, which holds that such lawsuits must be filed within two years of the occurrence date of the accident. This operates to make sure that only those claims that can be reasonably expected to be supported by witnesses and/or evidence make it before the court. If a victim’s lawsuit is filed outside this two-year window, the case will likely be dismissed and the injury victim will not be able to recover any compensation at all.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 and discuss your car accident case and questions with us today. We believe in empowering our clients and partnering with them as we help them obtain the compensation they need to be made whole. We can help our clients handle the technical and legal aspects of their cases so they can focus on their families and their recovery.