Phoenix Arizona Negligence involves determining a duty, a breach, a cause, and damages. You hear lawyers, even in the Badger Blog, tossing around the term” negligence.” It gets used a lot in the legal world, but I wonder sometimes whether everyone, including non-lawyers, understand what it means. Here are a few basic principles to help guide your understanding:

In Arizona (as pretty much everywhere else) negligence means “the failure to act as a reasonably careful person would act under the circumstances.” Revised Arizona Jury Instructions, 6th Edition, Fault 1. With certain exceptions (for example, workers compensation and strict product liability) our system of compensation for personal injury is fault-based. That means that the law requires a showing of at least some culpability on the part of the defendant before the law will impose on him or her the onerous burden to pay the plaintiff for his or her injuries.

What Triggers Phoenix Arizona Negligence laws?

How do we know how a reasonably careful person would have acted under the circumstances? Usually, we let a jury of disinterested citizens decide. Sometimes, if there is no jury, then a judge will decide.

In some cases the law dictates that a person is negligent if he or she violates laws designed for the protection of human life. This is called negligence per se. So, for example, if a person was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, the law says that person was negligent. There is no need for a determination what a reasonable person would have done. A reasonable person would not have driven while under the influence. Same goes for a person who blew through a stop sign or traffic light in violation of traffic laws.

What are the elements of Phoenix Arizona Negligence?

Four elements are required to establish a prima facie case of negligence:
  • the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff.
  • defendant’s breach of that duty.
  • plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury.
  • proof that defendant’s breach caused the injury (typically defined through proximate cause)




Causes of Actions for Phoenix Arizona Negligence include:

  • Phoenix Arizona Car Accidents
  • Phoenix Arizona Personal Injury
  • Phoenix Arizona Slip and Falls
  • Phoenix Arizona Products Liability
  • Phoenix Arizona Construction Defects
  • Phoenix Arizona Failure to Warn of Dangerous Conditions
  • Phoenix Arizona Wrongful Death
  • Phoenix Arizona Truck Accidents
  • Phoenix Arizona Semi Truck Accidents
  • Phoenix Arizona Comparative Negligence
  • Phoenix Arizona Vicarious Negligence
  • Phoenix Arizona Workplace Negligence

Arizona follows Comparative Negligence

In Phoenix Arizona, the courts look to who was at fault, and what percentage they are liable for. For instance, the court could find a defendant 50% at fault, and the Plaintiff 50% at fault. In those cases it’s likely Plaintiff will have a battle to recover something. However, if the Defendant is found to be 51% or more at fault, then the Plaintiff will likely recover something.  Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-2505 governs Comparative Negligence in Arizona, and states:

1. The defense of contributory negligence or of assumption of risk is in all cases a question of fact and shall at all times be left to the jury. If the jury applies either defense, the claimant’s action is not barred, but the full damages shall be reduced in proportion to the relative degree of the claimant’s fault which is a proximate cause of the injury or death, if any. There is no right to comparative negligence in favor of any claimant who has intentionally, willfully or wantonly caused or contributed to the injury or wrongful death.

2. In this section, “claimant’s fault” includes the fault imputed or attributed to a claimant by operation of law, if any.

Remember that we are not talking about criminal culpability here. Most negligent conduct does not rise to the level of a crime. Nobody’s perfect. We are all negligent from time to time, some more so than others.  Negligent conduct does not mean you are a bad person. It just means you are responsible for the damage you cause as a result of your negligence.

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