Arizona Car Accident Laws – A Complete Guide


Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Every day in Arizona, an average of 3-4 people lose their lives in fatal auto accidents. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), another 144 individuals suffer injuries. With almost 120,000 crashes annually, anyone driving in the Grand Canyon state should be aware of Arizona car accident laws.

Fortunately, this complete guide can help you know what to do in case of an Arizona collision. Read on to learn how to report, who determines fault, and when you need an Arizona auto accident attorney.

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How to Report a Car Accident in Arizona

A woman talking to a policeman in an Arizona car accident.

The moments after a crash are typically disorienting as the injuries impair your senses. That’s why it’s important to think through how you would handle such an event in advance.

The first thing you should do no matter what state you’re driving in is to stop at the scene. That may seem like a given, but many people panic and flee in the heat of the moment. In Arizona, that is not only a bad idea, but illegal as it can be considered a hit-and-run.

According to ARS §28-661, anyone leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death may commit a felony under Arizona law. If there are no injuries but there is property damage, fleeing constitutes a misdemeanor charge (ARS §28-662). Both could result in fines and jail time.

So once again, if you’re in a collision, stop the car.

Next, check for injuries and make sure everyone is safe. Drivers in Arizona have a duty to offer assistance to anyone sustaining injury in a crash per ARS §28-663 if able. This includes making arrangements to get medical help, so if it seems anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately.

Your next move should be to call the police. Arizona car accident laws don’t require private citizens to file auto accident reports. However, officers investigating a crash involving injuries or at least $2,000 worth of property damages must report according to ARS §28-667. The burden to report rests on the officer, so don’t forget to call.

Regardless of if the damage seems minor, it’s important to call the police because you may need that report later. Especially since Arizona car accident laws include provisions potentially assigning negligence percentages to all involved parties.

Info to Gather at the Scene of the Crash

Even if police are present, you’re required in Arizona to give information to the other driver(s) in the accident.

AR §28-663 states that Arizona drivers with injuries or property damage must share their name, address, and vehicle registration to each other after a crash.

Beyond that, you should also collect as many additional details as you can at the scene. Be sure to ask for or take pictures of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • Insurance ID card/policy number
  • Car make, model, and color
  • License plate number
  • Phone and email of involved parties

Additionally, snap photos of vehicle damage, injuries, your surroundings, and anything else you feel may be pertinent to the crash. If there are witnesses, try to get their contact information as well.

Finally, never say anything incriminating or apologize after an accident, even if you think it’s your fault! It will reduce your settlement if you’re found responsible for the collision.

Is Arizona a No-Fault State?

Arizona is actually an at-fault state. In other words, the driver(s) who caused the accident will also be liable for any resulting damages. This includes physical damage (i.e. injuries) as well as property damage.

However, it’s generally not as straightforward as who’s at-fault and who isn’t. That’s because Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence system, meaning both parties involved in a crash may bear some responsibility.

Comparative Negligence For Arizona Auto Accidents

Comparative negligence systems, which are the law in most states, divide the blame between all drivers involved in an accident.

In states that follow pure comparative negligence rules (ARS §12-2505), like Arizona, a jury could find both parties culpable. What that means is any parties caught in a collision who are less than 100% at-fault may recover damages. However, there will be a reduction in any damages a claimant receives by their amount of blame.

To illustrate, let’s say a jury finds you 1% at-fault, then you can still receive 99% of your damage award. But if the other driver is 99% at-fault, then they will only see 1% of any damages.

In most cases, the driver who seems less at-fault will be the one to file a claim. But it’s technically possible for all parties in an accident to still recover damages.

In multi-car crashes or T-bones, the same rules apply. Each vehicle and driver will receive a fault percentage, and that amount will affect their ability to recover damages.

Obviously, in any car accident case in Arizona, it would be advantageous to get the smallest fault percentage possible. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get a car accident lawyer post-crash.

Arizona Car Insurance Requirements

An insurance adjuster looking at a headlight, highlighting insurance requirements in Arizona.

Similar to most states, Arizona requires that drivers carry car insurance in order to legally drive within its borders.

Though the state sets minimum requirements, once you use up those amounts, you’re on the hook. Accordingly, many drivers choose to carry policies with higher coverage limits. That ensures they have enough coverage in case they’re the more at-fault party in an accident.

There are three ways to get compensation after an accident:

  • File a claim with your own insurance company
  • File a third-party claim with a more at-fault driver’s insurance
  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver

These three options give you more latitude for recovering money to cover any injuries or damages. But they also mean you need to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage if you’re driving in Arizona.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

The ADOT sets the following minimums for liability insurance that must be purchased through a licensed Arizona insurance vendor.

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability for one person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability for two or more persons
  • $15,000 property damage liability

Insurance companies will notify ADOT of new policies, cancellations, and non-renewals. If you don’t have registered coverage, the Motor Vehicle Department will contact you to check your status.

Failure to maintain proper coverage could lead to the suspension of your registration or termination of your driver’s license. So, make sure you update and manage your insurance via the official site for the ADOT MVD.

Additional Insurance Coverage Options

Keep in mind that liability insurance doesn’t cover your own injuries or damages following an accident in Arizona. As such, it may be prudent to consider additional coverage in case no one else’s insurance applies to your losses.

While there are no required minimums for these policy additions, you may wish to add:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay. These policies can go towards paying your personal medical bills after a car accident.
  • Collision Coverage. This optional coverage can help with costs to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.

Always keep proof of coverage in your car. Digital copies or documentation on smart devices are also acceptable options if law enforcement asks to see insurance in Arizona.

Types of Damages After a Car Accident in Arizona

If insurance—yours or the other driver’s—doesn’t cover your losses, it’s time to consider a personal injury lawsuit.

You’ll want to get a lawyer to help with your claim, since you’ll be “suing” the driver you think is more at-fault. The case may go before a judge and jury, but most settle before reaching that point. Any court appearances will be to assess fault percentages and also to seek damages.

A skilled auto accident attorney can help you manage such a litigious scenario. They’ll also be better able to get you a decent financial settlement.

So, what kind of payout can a person get after a car accident? There are two types of damages a person can seek in a personal injury car accident case: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

These are the more tangible damages that a victim may seek. They’re usually monetary or otherwise somehow quantifiable. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical bills above what PIP covers
  • Lost work or wages (not covered by PIP)
  • Car repairs and maintenance costs
  • Rental cars
  • Damaged property
  • Physical therapy or the purchase of assistive devices (like wheelchairs)

Non-Economic Damages

These are damages that are less quantifiable, thereby making them sometimes harder to prove but no less hurtful. Common examples of non-economic damages include:

There are no caps on damages in personal injury or car accident cases in Arizona. However, it’s never wise to ask for totally unreasonable numbers. A lawyer can help you determine the appropriate amounts depending on the severity of your crash.

Statute of Limitations in Arizona

A law statute holding a clock, showing the statute of limitations in Arizona

Every state has a time limit before which you must file a civil lawsuit for a car accident. Keep in mind that this is different from the timing for starting a claim with your insurance.

In Arizona, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. The same two-year parameter holds true for cases involving wrongful death as well. However, in those instances the clock starts from the date of the victim’s passing.

While two years may seem like a long time, it takes a while to effectively build a claim. Do not wait if you think you have a case. Meet with an auto accident attorney and put your claim in process.

If you miss this deadline, your claim may be thrown out by the court, which you don’t want to risk. Also, it is more likely you’ll have a positive outcome if you file while details are fresh.

Contact LegalASAP to Get in Touch With an Attorney in Your Area

Arizona’s car accident laws put you at risk of liability if you’re even slightly responsible for a crash. Accordingly, it can be more difficult to get the compensation you need to cover losses, even from your own insurance.

Rather than risk getting a paltry settlement, let us connect you with an auto accident attorney in our network. It won’t cost you anything out of pocket since the consultation is free and most lawyers work on contingency.

Don’t let Arizona car accident laws keep you off the road. We’re ready to help drive your claim forward today.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes toCosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more,, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann