When an incident or an accident occurs and somebody suffers an injury, any person found to be “negligent“ will be made to pay for the harm caused.
Every person is required to act “reasonably“. When a person fails to act reasonably and causes harm to another, then Arizona Law would hold that person responsible for the harm.
However, more than one person can be responsible for the harm that is caused. In Arizona, this is called “comparative negligence”.
Imagine you are walking through a store, and out in the middle of an aisle you slip and fall in orange soda. You can show that the orange soda was there for a period of time and that the store owner was aware of it, but failed to do anything to clean it up. Clearly, the store owner has a responsibility to keep the floors clean from danger. Is the store owner liable?
Likely, the store owner has liability. But in this circumstance, it is also likely that the defense will argue that you were “comparatively negligent“. How is this the case?
Remember the “reasonable person” thing?
Reasonable people watch where they are going, and yet, right in the middle of the open aisle, you slipped and fell in a puddle of orange soda.
It was an open condition. It was an obvious condition. Why weren’t you looking?
In this circumstance, you would blame the store owner, and the store owner would blame you. It is possible that a judge or jury would place some amount of fault on both of you.
This is called “comparative negligence”.
Everybody has a responsibility to conduct themselves reasonably and to provide for their own safety. In Arizona, a judge or a jury would be asked to assign percentages of fault.
In this case, the store owner might be 50% at fault, and you might be 50% at fault. The judge or the jury would then calculate the value of your damages, and the store owner would be responsible for paying for 50% – his share of fault.
In dealing with matters of law including auto accidents, slip and falls and or just about any personal injury case, “comparative negligence” applies to everything and everyone in Arizona.
And, it is just about as fair of a standard as anyone could ask for. The law will hold you responsible for your share of fault, but, only your share of fault.
Could the law be fairer than that?
Zachar Law Firm has been helping accident and injury victims in Downtown Phoenix and throughout Arizona for 25 years.
Feel free to call us today for a free initial consultation in your case.