Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. While Arizona and other states typically uphold that bicyclists are allowed many of the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, other drivers do not use appropriate care around bicyclists as often as they should. Similarly, some bicyclists have no problem enjoying some of the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, but they fail to uphold the responsibilities that come with doing so.
It’s wrong to assume that in an accident case involving a motor vehicle driver and a bicyclist that the driver is automatically at fault for the accident. Drivers indeed have a higher duty of care than bicyclists on the road, but they cannot be held responsible for anticipating everything a bicyclist might do around them. Many bicycle accidents involve partial fault for both the driver and the bicyclist.
Arizona upholds a pure comparative fault statute that all drivers and bicyclists should know and understand, as this law will certainly come into play in any partial fault bicycle accident case. Consult with a Phoenix bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one have experienced this kind of situation.
Determining Fault for a Bicycle Accident
A legal claim over a bicycle accident is a type of personal injury claim. The injured party or plaintiff must identify the party responsible for causing their claimed damages and provide a full accounting of those damages. Proving negligence requires establishing the defendant’s duty of care for the given situation, evidence that they failed to uphold this duty of care, and clear causation between their negligence and the plaintiff’s damages.
In many bicycle accident claims, liability is quite clear, and it’s more often the drivers who bear liability for bicyclists’ damages than vice versa. However, if a bicyclist was in any way negligent and contributed to causing an accident, the bicyclist will absorb partial fault for the accident. Arizona’s pure comparative negligence law allows an injured bicyclist in this position to secure compensation through a civil claim, but they will lose a percentage of the case award.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Arizona
A partial fault bicycle accident claim or any other personal injury claim in which both the plaintiff and defendant bear responsibility for the damages in the claim will fall under Arizona’s pure comparative negligence statute. Most states that uphold comparative negligence laws set a modified threshold of 50% when it comes to plaintiff recovery. If the plaintiff’s fault exceeds 50%, they may not recover damages. Arizona does not uphold any threshold like this, so in theory, a plaintiff who is 99% at fault for claimed damages may still technically recover compensation through a personal injury claim. However, they would likely only qualify to receive 1% of the case value and potentially face liability for the other party’s damages.
If you or a loved one have been involved in any type of bicycle accident in which fault is unclear, or if fault is obviously shared between both parties, Arizona’s pure comparative negligence statute will likely come into play in your bicycle accident claim. A Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer is a great resource if you would like professional insights into your specific situation. A good attorney should be able to break down the fault percentage a plaintiff is likely to incur through the legal proceedings.
Pure comparative negligence in Arizona means that a percentage of the plaintiff’s case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing their claimed damages is subtracted from the final case award total at the end of the case. For example, in a $300,000 bicycle accident claim in which the plaintiff is found to be 50% at fault, the plaintiff could only receive up to $150,000 to reflect their shared fault.
Hire an Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you are concerned about Arizona’s pure comparative negligence statute coming into play in your bicycle accident claim, talk it over with our firm. It’s essential to meet with an experienced Phoenix bicycle accident attorney as soon as you can to start determining your legal options and your likely level of fault for the damages in your claim. A good attorney should be able to quickly identify the areas of greatest concern in your case and assist you in securing evidence that supports your side of the claim.
When you are ready to discuss your legal options with a reliable Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer, contact Luis P. Guerra, LLC to schedule a consultation about your claim. We can identify opportunities and potential challenges in your claim and help you prepare for the proceedings ahead with more confidence.