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No limits for compensation for Arizona accident victims

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Arizona streets can get very busy, and for that reason all motorists who drive on them need to keep safety at the front of their minds at all times. Filing to do so can result in motor vehicle accidents and personal injuries. When injuries occur, the people injured and those acting on their behalf can seek compensation from the person who caused the accident.

According to a new ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona state lawmakers can't limit the amount of money that drivers who are at fault for a crash have to pay when people get hurt or killed in a crash. That ruling applies to relatives who are seeking money on behalf of a victim, e.g., for a deceased victim's children, widow or widower.

The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel said that a 2006 law that originally limited compensation for victims to $10,000 contradicted an amendment to the Arizona Constitution that voters approved in 1990 — the Victims' Bill of Rights.

Last year, lawmakers increased the amount allowed to $100,000. However, the Arizona Court of Appeals panel of judges said that any limit would be unconstitutional.

Previous cases had overturned financial awards to victims and their families if those awards exceeded the limit that lawmakers had in place at the time the awards were made. However, the victims and their attorneys felt that was unfair and unconstitutional, leading to the current ruling, which hinged on defining the word "restitution". In the view of the Arizona Court of Appeals panel of judges, "restitution" means all the compensation that is needed for a particular victim, which precludes limits that may keep them from getting all that they need.

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West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman P.L.L.C.

310 S. Williams Blvd
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Tucson, AZ 85711

Phone: 520-518-3781
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