Whether driving on Interstate 10 or cruising down Grand Avenue there’s always the chance of being involved in a car accident.
The U.S. traffic fatality rate was 11.7 deaths per 100,000 residents, and some of these car collisions occurred on Arizona streets and highways. While these statistics are quite sobering, it doesn’t mean you don’t get behind the wheel. Instead, it should make you more aware of your surroundings while you’re driving around Phoenix.
Curious about what are the most common types of car accidents in Arizona? We’ll take a look at this, along with how to determine fault if you’re involved in a vehicle wreck.
Common Types of Car Collisions
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in Arizona, While this type of accident can happen almost anywhere, they typically occur at red lights and stop signs. The accident is frequently caused by tailgating, which is when a driver is following too closely behind the vehicle in front of them.
While injuries and vehicle damage are often minor at traffic lights, it’s different when a rear-end collision happens on the highway. A vehicle traveling around 50 to 60 mph can do some serious damage when it rear-ends another car. Read-end collisions on highways often occur in traffic jams when a vehicle brakes suddenly.
Some car manufacturers are adding safety features to their vehicles to help reduce the number of rear-end collisions. These features include alerts and warning drivers of slowed or stopped traffic. Automatic braking systems are another popular feature—however, staying alert behind the wheel is the best way to prevent rear-ending another driver.
A head-on collision can involve another vehicle or occur when a car hits an unmovable object like an overpass pillar or a guardrail. A car crossing over into oncoming traffic can also result in this type of accident.
Head-on collisions are usually the most serious type of vehicle accident, frequently resulting in severe injuries and extensive property damage. A common cause of this type of accident is distracted driving.
Side-impact (T-Bone) Collisions
Also known as broadside collisions, a side-impact crash can be devastating. A T-Bone collision occurs when one vehicle hits another one on the side. Since most automobiles lack a proper impact or crumple zone on their sides, injuries and vehicle damage are often severe.
Vehicles failing to stop at red lights are a common cause of side-impact accidents. Broadside collisions can also occur on a left-hand turn, where the turning vehicle fails to yield to oncoming traffic and is hit on the side.
Determining Fault After a Car Accident
Arizona is a comparative fault state, which means that multiple individuals can be assigned blame for causing a car accident. If blame is assigned to more than one driver, it affects their settlement amounts if they file a personal injury and/or property damage claim.
For example, if you’re 35% at fault for the accident your settlement amount is reduced by the same percentage. Arizona also doesn’t follow a modified comparative fault law, so you can be assessed up to 99% of the blame for the vehicle accident. Thankfully, amodified comparative fault rule caps the blame for an individual at 50%.
Factors Determining Fault
When it comes to determining who’s to blame for an automobile accident, the responding police typically gather evidence at the scene.
What evidence do the police look for? They evaluate multiple factors that can include the following:
- Injuries and the severity sustained by either party
- Eyewitness accounts
- Photographs/video of the scene
- Traffic patterns at the time of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Mitigating circumstances like a stop sign or red light
- Vehicle damage
- Level of negligence for all involved drivers. For example, did a driver look away from the road before the accident
- Time of day, including visibility conditions
If possible, it’s also a good idea to gather evidence on your own. Not only can this help strengthen a personal injury and/or property damage case, but your attorney may have a different take on the evidence than the responding officers.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident Case
Even after gathering evidence, proving fault in a car accident case can be complicated. You’ll need to establish a few factors that include duty of care, breach of duty, direct cause, and subsequent damages, which includes both injuries and property damage.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a fancy way of stating every driver owes others on the road the respect of following Arizona laws and regulations. For example, coming to a complete stop at red lights and always maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Proving duty of care is usually pretty straightforward: the driver who failed to follow the rules of the road is typically the one who is determined to be at fault.
Breach of Duty
Okay, you’ve proved the other driver failed to obey traffic laws, the next step is proving a breach of duty, which means the other driver is negligent in their actions behind the wheel. Texting while driving is an example of a breach of duty. Other examples include driving while intoxicated and speeding.
Now, it’s time to prove that the other driver’s negligent actions are the direct cause of the accident. This factor is often a little harder to prove, but working with an accident attorney can simplify this step. Your attorney is skilled at gathering the necessary evidence.
After proving the above factors, it’s time to look at the damages. Your damages can include injuries sustained in the accident, vehicle damage, or both. This is when it’s time to bring out your receipts and bills.
These include medical and vehicle repair bills. Any payments you may have made can also be submitted for compensation. Just make sure you have the receipts, along with any relevant financial statements.
Let An Arizona Attorney Help With Your Car Accident Case
The journey through a lengthy trial or settlement process following a car accident is often arduous, complex, and mentally draining. It is highly beneficial to allow an attorney to take on the majority of this burden.
With their expertise and experience, they can effectively manage the intricacies of proving your case, thereby alleviating much of the stress and time commitment it demands from you.