In no fault states, injuries claims are usually handled by one’s own auto insurance carrier, although some no fault states have a threshold of damages, which if exceeded allows claims against the so-called at-fault driver.
Arizona is a fault based state, which means an accident victim has to prove fault on the person that caused an accident and/or their injuries.
Establishing fault includes several elements
- You must prove the other person owed you a duty of reasonable care (ie: if driving, one has a duty to drive carefully and obey traffic laws)
- You must prove the other person breached that duty (ie: they were negligent by running a stop sign or red light)
- You were injured and incurred damages as a result of their negligence.
Fault can be split among several people or entities, which each defendant liable/responsible only for their degree of fault in causing an accident/one’s injuries
Arizona is also a state of comparative negligence, which means if you act negligently and such actions contribute to your own injuries, your potential recovery will be reduced by the % of fault attributed to you.
If the at-fault driver has no auto insurance, the injured party can make an injury claim against their own auto insurance carrier, providing they purchased UM (uninsured motorist) coverage.
If the at-fault driver’s auto insurance coverage is insufficient to compensate a victim for their injuries/damages, the injured person can make a subsequent claim against their own carrier under their UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage.
However, UM and/or UIM coverage is not mandatory under Arizona Law. It is an optional coverage that one must purchase if so desired.