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Arizona Negligence Laws

Most personal injury cases in Arizona hinge on the legal theory of "negligence." Negligence refers to when someone does not take the proper care in doing something which ultimately causes another person to be injured. Negligence is a complicated area of law, so it is helpful to break a case down to its basic elements. In order to win a negligence case, you must prove the following four things:

  1. Duty -- That the defendant owed some type of duty to you, usually by virtue of your relationship. For example, a doctor has a duty to care for the health of their patient (e.g. providing the patient with proper medical care).
  2. Breach -- That the defendant breached their duty to you by failing to exercise reasonable care. In the doctor-patient example, the doctor may breach the duty to care for a patient by administering the wrong treatment for the patient's condition.
  3. Cause -- That the defendant's actions caused your injury.
  4. Damages -- That there is some way that the court can compensate you for your injury. In a medical malpractice case, for example, the court may award the plaintiff with money damages to cover the cost of the medical care necessary to fix the doctor's mistake.

Keep in mind that Arizona negligence laws follow the doctrine of comparative negligence, as opposed to other states that rely on contributory negligence laws. Under Arizona's comparative negligence laws, an injured party is allowed to recover even if they are 99% at fault. The plaintiff's monetary damages are then reduced by the amount for which they are at fault. Arizona does, however, block any recovery by the plaintiff if they intentionally caused or contributed to the injury or death.

Under the harsher contributory negligence laws used by other states, the plaintiff may not recover any damages if they contributed in any way to the injury -- i.e. even if the plaintiff's fault was as little as one percent.

Arizona Negligence Laws

The following chart highlights some of the main provisions of Arizona's negligence laws.

A.R.S. §12-2505

Definition of Comparative Negligence

  • If the jury finds the plaintiff at fault, they are not barred from recovery. Instead, the plaintiff's damages will be reduced by the proportionate degree of their fault.
  • A plaintiff cannot recover if they intentionally caused or contributed to the injury.

A.R.S. §12-2501

Right to Contribution

  • Contribution exists only when a tortfeasor pays more than their pro rata share of the common liability, and the total recovery is limited to the amount paid in excess of the pro rata share

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

If you'd like to find more information on this area of law in general, check out FindLaw's section on negligence. You can also learn more about your case by browsing FindLaw's more specific negligence topics relating to personal injurycar accidentsmedical malpractice, and product liability.

Finally, if you are considering filing a claim, you may want to retain a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the complicated deadlines and procedures associated with Arizona negligence claims.

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