Everything You Should Know About Arizona Car Accident Laws

From filing a report to claiming damages, here’s all you need to know about Arizona’s car accident laws.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you’re in a car accident in
Arizona
, you’ll need to report it to the police and your insurance company. You can claim damages through your insurer or personal injury lawsuit depending on your level of fault.
Car accidents can be traumatic, and it’s hard to remember what to do when you’re standing on the shoulder looking at a smashed car. That’s why it’s crucial to know your state’s car accident laws before you have to. 
Here to walk you through Arizona’s car accident laws is the
car insurance
super app,
Jerry
. We’ll go over accident reporting, financial responsibility, personal injury lawsuits, and comparative fault to make sure you’re ready for any outcome of a car accident in the Grand Canyon State.
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What to do after a crash: Arizona car accident reporting laws

The
first thing to do after a car accident
is to make sure everyone in your vehicle is safe. Check for injuries and call 911 if anyone is hurt. Move your car to a safe spot away from traffic, if possible. 
Keep in mind: If you weren't involved in an accident, but you see emergency vehicles approaching, you must pull over and reduce your speed as per Arizona
move over laws
.

Documenting the scene

After the dust settles, it’s crucial to document the accident in whatever way you can, like taking photos or taking note of any road conditions or signage that could have contributed to the incident. It’s also important to exchange information with the other driver and any other witnesses. This will generally include the following: 
  • Name, address, and contact information
  • Driver’s License number 
  • License plate number and state
  • Car insurance information

Filing a report

What’s next? In Arizona, you don’t have to submit a report to the state yourself—law enforcement officials are required to file a written report if the accident resulted in:
  • An injury 
  • A death 
  • Property damage exceeding $1,000
  • A citation was given to any driver
Even if the accident is minor, it’s always a good idea to call the police to the scene of a crash. If you don’t call law enforcement and you leave the scene, you could be charged with a
hit and run
.
It’s also important that the police investigate the scene to cover all of your bases, even if the other driver doesn’t think it’s necessary. This way, you’ll have a record in case you or the other driver discovers more serious damage or injuries than initially assessed. This could also protect you in the event of a lawsuit. 
After you take care of everything at the scene, you’ll want to
report the incident to your car insurance company
. Many insurers require you to report accident claims as soon as possible—sometimes within 24 hours. It’s a good idea to check what your insurance provider requires in the event of a wreck. 
Important note: If you're involved in a 
DUI or DWI
, have been ticketed repeatedly, or if you were involved in a serious accident that caused damage, injury, or death, you will likely require an
SR-22
.

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Arizona’s insurance laws

Nearly every state requires drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance no matter what. So how much does Arizona require, and what happens if you get caught without it?
Under Arizona law, every driver has to have a liability insurance policy that complies with
Arizona minimum insurance requirements
. In Arizona, you have to have 25/50/15 liability coverage, or:
Those caught driving without insurance or proof of insurance in Arizona will face a minimum fine of $500 and a
license suspension
of three months—and that’s just for the first offense. You’ll also be on the hook to pay for any damage you cause without coverage. 
Even with these requirements, some Arizona drivers still lack the minimum liability coverage. In 2019, a study by the Insurance Information Institute (III) reported that 11.8% of Arizona drivers aren’t insured at all
If you’re in the 88.2% of insured drivers, you could hit quite a few snags when claiming damages in an accident with an uninsured driver. Most insurance companies in Arizona provide
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
, so it’s a smart idea to have it in your back pocket. 
MORE:

Claiming damages after an accident: Arizona’s personal injury laws

In some situations, you might want to do more than just file an insurance claim after an accident—you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit and collect damages. According to Arizona’s personal injury laws, collecting damages will fall into three categories:
  • Economic damages: medical bills,
    loss of income
    , lost employment or business opportunities, loss of use of property, and burial expenses
  • Non-economic damages: pain and suffering, mental suffering, inconvenience, and humiliation
  • Punitive damages: punish a defendant if they intentionally harmed the victim or knew their behavior could cause harm
Arizona’s statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits and personal injury claims is two years. This time generally starts on the date of the injury or accident. However, sometimes injuries are only discovered after the accident, so the period could start later in some cases. 

Damage caps 

Many states set limits on the amount of compensation someone can collect in damages. Unlike most states, Arizona’s Constitution forbids the court to set any limits on damages. However, if the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages is more than 9:1, it will likely be held unconstitutional. 
MORE:

Who’s to blame: Arizona’s pure comparative negligence law

After a car accident, one of the main problems to solve is the question of who’s at fault. If James hits Mandy’s car while speeding, but Mandy was texting and driving, who’s to blame? And who collects the damages?
Arizona follows what’s known as pure comparative negligence, meaning each driver collects damages that are proportionate to their level of fault—unless they’re 100% at fault. 
Using the previous example, James and Mandy both broke traffic laws, so neither will be 100% at fault. If Mandy is found to be 35% at fault and James is 65% at fault, Mandy will be responsible for just 30% of James’s damages. James or his insurance company, however, will have to cover 70% of Mandy’s vehicle repairs or medical bills
Arizona is one of just 12 states that follow pure comparative negligence, otherwise known as pure comparative fault. These rules are likely to change if you’re in an accident across state lines, though.

How to save money on car insurance in Arizona

If you’re found at fault in a car accident in Arizona,
your insurance premium could increase
by an average of 54%. Finding a cheaper rate doesn’t have to be a headache, though—not when you use
Jerry
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