Insurance Considerations

Bicycling & the LawI’m reading Bob Mionske’s excellent book Bicycling & the Law (available from velogear), here is what I distilled out of the section on car insurance and liability systems as it relates to Arizona.

Arizona operates on the traditional “tort liability” system. By comparison, the three other systems used in decreasing order of popularity are: no fault, hybrid, and choice.

Furthermore, Arizona uses the “pure comparative negligence” basis — that is where damages are awarded solely (“purely”) according to whatever percentage is assessed. The other two systems are modified comparative and contributory negligence.

As an aside — the contributory negligence scheme seems particularly onerous. That is where a party having any percentage (think e.g. 1%) of negligence cannot recover any of his damages. I’m sure there’s some historical reason for all of this, interestingly all the states that use contributory negligence are clustered in the mid-Atlantic region: Virginia, Maryland, D.C., North Carolina, and Alabama.

Here is an article that has more details on Comparative Negligence in Arizona by Greer & Alles, PLC… “Arizona follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. The comparative negligence statutes are found in A.R.S. § 12-2501 et seq. …The comparative negligence laws provides that each defendant is only liable for the amount of plaintiff’s full damages allocated to that defendant in direct proportion to the defendant’s percentage of fault and a separate judgment shall be entered against the defendant for that amount”

2 thoughts on “Insurance Considerations”

  1. Here is a case where a seriously injured bicyclist had to sue his own insurance company — and won

    The whole opinion is here … it involves UIM (underinsured motorist) under the victim’s auto policy, AND an umbrella policy, AND the insurance company’s failure to provide notice that UIM was available under the umbrella policy. (Remember all those notices the insurance company is always sending out?)

    This fragment is particularly interesting, for us Arizonans:

    ¶55 In Ormsbee v. Allstate Ins. Co., 859 P.2d 732 (Ariz. 1993), for example, the Arizona Supreme Court determined that an umbrella policy providing automobile liability coverage was an automobile liability policy within the meaning of state statutes. Arizona’s UM/UIM statute required insurers to offer UIM coverage “in limits not less than the liability limits within the policy,” Id. at 733 (citing Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 20-259.01(C)(1992)). The court determined that an insurer’s failure to offer UIM coverage as part of an insured’s umbrella policy resulted in “imputation” of the UIM coverage to the policy as a matter of law.

  2. SB1153rental cars; liability insurance; subrogation

    http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=SB1153&Session_ID=107

    I learned of this only because there was a stuffed notice in my car insurance bill…
    “A recent Arizona law, SB 1153, effective Nov 1, 2012, modifies the way insurance is applied if you have a claim in Arizona while renting a car from rental car company. Rental car companies can now insert language in the rental agreement that makes your insurance primary in the event of a claim. This could result in a claims surcharge if you are found to be at-fault for the accident…”

    I suppose this doesn’t affect me in any way since I always reject the rental company’s insurance anyway.

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