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How to Determine Fault in an Arizona Car Accident Case

March 21, 2024 Legal Team

In Arizona, as in many states, determining liability is a critical aspect of resolving car accident claims. Establishing who was responsible for a car crash affects the injured party’s ability to recover damages and shapes how insurance companies will approach settlement negotiations or litigation. Fault is ultimately determined by comparative negligence laws.

Determining Fault in an Arizona Accident Case

Gathering Evidence is Essential

Determining fault in an Arizona car accident case revolves around collecting as much evidence as possible to support your account of events. This typically includes:

Photos of The Accident Scene

Right after the accident occurs, you should begin gathering evidence if you are physically able to do so safely. Valuable types of evidence include photos or videos capturing vehicle positions as well as any road signs or signals nearby that show who may have had the right-of-way.

Capturing images of damage sustained by all vehicles involved from multiple angles gives a clearer picture of impact severity and the dynamics of the accident. This type of photographic documentation is important as it offers context for how damages likely occurred.

Witness Statements

Eyewitnesses can provide unbiased third-party accounts of the accident, which might corroborate your recollection of the incident or offer other viewpoints that help establish fault. Make sure to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene in case their testimony is needed later on.

Police Reports

When law enforcement officials arrive at the scene of an accident, they conduct a preliminary investigation and prepare a police report. The report generally includes details such as date, time, location of the accident, involved parties’ information, any citations or violations issued, witness information, and often a diagram of how they believe the accident occurred. This perspective can greatly influence how fault is assessed.

Insurance Companies’ Investigations

Following an accident, insurance companies often conduct their own investigations. This includes reviewing the evidence you’ve gathered as well as any information contained within the police report to construct a narrative of what happened.

Adjusters from your insurance company and those representing other parties involved will often reach out to request statements and may ask for access to medical records or further documentation regarding damage claims.

Your Lawyer May Use Accident Reconstruction 

In certain situations, particularly where fault is unclear or disputed, your attorney may enlist the help of accident reconstruction specialists. These experts use science and engineering principles to analyze the crash details and recreate what they believe happened during an accident.

Accident reconstruction involves methodical inspection of physical evidence, like skid marks, vehicle damage, final resting positions of vehicles, and any other relevant evidence from the crash scene. 

Experts in this field will often perform calculations regarding speeds at which vehicles were traveling, vehicle dynamics, and use computer programs to simulate accident scenarios.

Other Expert Witnesses Your Lawyer May Consult With

Your Phoenix accident lawyer might consult with a variety of other expert witnesses to help build a strong case on your behalf and establish fault in an Arizona car accident.

For example, medical experts can provide testimony on your injuries, required treatments, expected recovery timeline, and potential long-term effects. They are essential for validating the extent of physical harm suffered as a result of the accident.

Economists can also play an important part when your claim involves significant long-term financial losses due to medical costs and lost earning capacity. They are specialized professionals who can project these financial impacts over time.

In an Arizona car accident case, determining fault is central to achieving a successful outcome.  If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an accident, we’re always here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.