Vehicle accidents are not uncommon throughout the state of Arizona. However, the aftermath of an accident can be incredibly confusing. Here, we want to discuss the main laws that you need to be aware of when it comes to handling the aftermath of a vehicle accident in AZ. We want to discuss auto insurance laws, the requirements for reporting vehicle accidents, the time frame for reporting a crash to your insurance carrier, and more.
Reporting the Car Accident
When we look at Arizona law, we can see that individuals involved in vehicle accidents or not required to personally report the incident. However, law enforcement officials are required to file a written report about a vehicle accident if any of the following has occurred:
- An injury
- Any fatalities
- Property damage that exceeds $1,000
- A citation issued to any driver involved
Any person involved in a vehicle accident, no matter how minor or severe, must remain at the scene and exchange information with others involved. In Arizona, fleeing the scene of an accident could be considered either a misdemeanor or felony hit and run. A person could be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run offense they cause damage to another vehicle and then fail to stop or flee the scene. Individuals could be charged with felony hit and run if they fail to stop after an accident that causes physical injury or death to another person.
Individuals who share responsibility for causing a crash will still likely be able to recover compensation for their losses. Arizona operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that an individual can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for causing the crash. However, the total amount of compensation a person will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident.
For an example of how this might work for a vehicle accident case, suppose an individual sustains $10,000 in property damage and medical expenses as a result of being rear-ended by another driver. However, if that individual was found to be 30% at fault for the crash because one of their brake lights was not working properly, they may only receive $7,000 instead of a full $10,000 to account for their percentage of fault.
Statute of Limitations
It is crucial for those involved in an accident to report the incident to their insurance carriers as soon as possible. Insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines and have no problem delaying or even denying a claim that is not promptly reported.
Overall, the personal injury statute of limitations in Arizona is two years from the date an injury occurs (ARS 12-542). If a car accident victim fails to file a lawsuit within this timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses from the at-fault party.
Working With an Attorney
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another driver in Arizona, you need to reach out to an attorney for help with your case immediately. A skilled car accident lawyer can use their resources to fully investigate the incident and help you uncover the evidence needed to prove liability. They will negotiate vigorously with insurance carriers to help you recover maximum compensation for your losses. Contact MDK Attorneys today for a free consultation.