How To Prove Your Accident Injury Claim
To establish a claim for negligence, you must prove four elements: (1) a duty requiring the other person to conform to a certain standard of care; (2) a breach by that person of that standard of care; (3) a causal connection between that person’s conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual damages.
Duty is defined as an obligation, recognized by law, which requires a person to conform to a particular standard of conduct in order to protect others against unreasonable risks of harm. The standard of care is defined as what a reasonable person must do, or must not do, to satisfy the duty. If that person has not met the standard of care then there has been a breach of duty and that person is negligent.
As it relates to the operation of a motor vehicle, a driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to exercise reasonable care and operate their vehicle in a safe manner so that they do not cause harm to another person. If that motorist fails to use reasonable care, for example, by being inattentive, by failing to keep a proper lookout, by traveling at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent, then that person has breached their duty of care and they are negligent.
In addition to being liable based on a breach of a duty owed to others, if a person violates a statute in the operation of an automobile that is intended as a safety regulation, that person is automatically considered to be negligent. Examples of this are failure to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, speeding, or failure to yield the right of way. A violation of these statutes makes the person strictly liable for all damages resulting from a collision they cause.
A negligent driver can cause severe bodily injury and extraordinary suffering a to motorists and their passengers. Injured motor vehicle accident victims and their family members may suffer economic hardship and loss, mental anguish, and loss of companionship and assistance. In the event of a death, families are torn apart without warning.
Under the laws of the State of Arizona, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a result of someone’s negligence or misconduct then you are legally entitled to receive money “damages” to compensate you for your personal injuries and losses. In the context of accident injury law, “damages” are the sum of money in which a person is entitled to be paid as compensation for injury or loss.
Obtaining Compensation for Injury
Accidents involving motor vehicles are broadly covered by the principles of Arizona negligence and insurance laws. Accidents involving different types of vehicles or different insurance coverage involve different aspects of that body of law, as well as different insurance policy considerations. These factors can play a major role in the assessment and valuation of a personal injury claim, and in obtaining compensation for an accident victim’s injuries and losses.
When you are seeking compensation for accident related injuries, you must first demonstrate the other driver’s fault and liability for causing the collision. Then, you must show that the collision caused your injuries. Finally, you must prove actual damages. That means that you will also need to show the type and extent of your injuries, and the legally available damages relating to those injuries. When you meet that burden of proof you are entitled under Arizona law to full monetary compensation for all of your injuries and losses.
Assessing Personal Injury Damages
In Arizona, the measure of personal injury damages is set forth in jury instructions which state that if you were injured by a motor vehicle because of the negligence or misconduct of the driver, you are entitled to receive the full amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate you for each of the following elements of damages proved by the evidence to have resulted from the fault of the negligent or reckless driver:
- the nature, extent, and duration of each of your injuries;
- the physical and mental pain and suffering, discomfort, disability, and anxiety that you have already experienced, and that which is reasonably probable to be experienced by you in the future as a result of your injuries;
- any impairment or disfigurement;
- the medical and rehabilitative expenses associated with your medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future;
- your past and future lost earnings, and any decrease in your earning power or capacity in the future;
- the loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of your marital or family relationship;
- the loss of your enjoyment of life, that is, your participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed by you before the injury.
The family members of an accident injury victim may also be able to recover compensation for their loss of consortium, which includes the loss of the benefits of companionship, cooperation, aid, assistance, and affection.
Assessing Property Damage
In car and other automobile and motor vehicle accident cases, the accident victim may bring a claim to recover monetary compensation for damage to their personal property. This includes not only damage to their car or other motor vehicle but also damage to any other property when the damage resulted from the accident. This may include, for example, eye glasses, telephones, computers, or even the clothing that they were wearing.
If your motor vehicle was damaged in an accident, you may also be entitled to recover the difference in the fair market value of your motor vehicle immediately before and immediately after the accident. This is called a “diminished resale value” claim.