Just like in life, the law is not always black and white. In many car accident cases that I see in my Phoenix personal injury law practice, there are complicated and sometimes unpredictable comparative fault issues. What this means that it does have to be a clear-cut conclusion as to fault for a car crash. Often the general public gets hung up on the issue of who was cited by the police; this is not always the end of the story. Sometimes there are multiple parties and even non-parties that bear some portion of the responsibility. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-2505. Comparative negligence and Section 12-2506 recognizes and set forth this analysis.
ARS §12-2506 explains that "[t]o determine the amount of judgment to be entered against each defendant, the trier of fact shall multiply the total amount of damages recoverable by the plaintiff by the percentage of each defendant's fault, and that amount is the maximum recoverable against the defendant.
Often in a car accident case, more than one driver is alleged to have committed a violation of traffic law or safety infraction. In these instances it is necessary to determine the percentage of negligence to assign to each person. This analysis can become very complex, especially in collisions involving multiple vehicles. In some rare instances, even a passenger can bear some responsibility for their own damages, such as in failure to wear seat-belt cases.