Can You Sue a Bar if You Were Hit by a Drunk Driver?

CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with an Arizona drunk driving accident lawyer

Victims of drunk driving accidents are unfairly left to pick up the pieces after an accident caused by the negligence and carelessness of someone else. Because of the actions and decisions of someone else, they are forced to deal with potentially serious mental, physical, and emotional injuries. Victims likely have some sense that the drunk driver may be liable for their injuries, but they may also begin to wonder, “Can I sue a bar in Arizona if I was hit by a drunk driver?” An experienced Arizona drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand what your options are if you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident.

If or a loved one has been in an accident involving a drunk driver, call (800) 863-5312 to speak with Arizona drunk driving accident lawyers.

Can I sue a bar in Arizona if I was hit by a drunk driver?

In terms of determining liability for a drunk driving accident, the After all, they were under the influence and made the decision to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. However, in certain circumstances, the bar, or even private home where that driver consumed the alcohol may be held liable for an accident as well. Determining whether a bar can be held liable in a drunk driving accident case involves an analysis of Arizona’s dram shop laws.

What to do after an Arizona drunk driving accident

Even when dealing with the pain and shock that comes with going through a drunk driving accident, it is critical to understand that the actions you take after your accident occurs can impact your case as much as the accident itself. Below are some of the most important steps to take after your accident:

Talk with the Police

If you can, contact law enforcement and make sure that they respond to the scene of the accident. Once the police are there, they will be able to generate a report that can be helpful in ultimately determining who is responsible for the crash. The evidence they collect at the scene can be very important in supporting your claim. Additionally, they can apprehend the driver depending on the circumstances and collect their information to ensure that they are held accountable for their actions.

Seek Medical Attention if Injured

After an accident, your adrenaline can mask the pain of an injury, leading you to believe that you are okay. Therefore it is critical to seek help as soon as possible from a medical professional. Not only can they provide potentially lifesaving treatment, but they are also the people who are in the best position to accurately document your injuries for your personal injury claim.

Collect Evidence

While you should take care of your physical health first,, you should also document everything about your accident as thoroughly as you can. Memory can quickly fade after an accident, so one important step is to write down everything that you remember about the accident as soon as possible so you don’t lose this information. While you are at the scene of the accident, make sure to gather the contact information of everyone involved in the accident, as well as any potential witnesses. It is far better to have more information than you need than having too little.

Contact an Arizona Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Perhaps the most important step in the entire process is to contact the right Arizona personal injury lawyer to assist you with your claim. The right lawyer will have experience dealing with similar claims in your area, as well as access to the appropriate resources to be able to argue your case successfully. Your attorney will be able to help you analyze your claim at the outset, contact the other parties involved, and provide advice throughout the legal process.

drunk driving accident injuries

Alcohol can severely impact a driver’s ability to react or make good decisions on the road. Impaired driving  dramatically increases the risk of an accident and serious injuries. Some examples of injuries associated with drunk driving accidents include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries result from forceful blows to the head or body, such as what might happen in a high-speed collision between two vehicles. The symptoms of a TBI can be wide-ranging and unique depending on the person involved and the severity of the injury. Some of the possible symptoms of a TBI include becoming unconscious, vomiting, loss of coordination, profound confusion, and slurred speech. If you notice these or any other irregular symptoms, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Read More: Brain Injury Lawyers

Fractures

Car crashes can also lead to broken bones due to the sheer amount of force involved in a car accident. Fractures can be minor, or they can be severe to the point of causing a complete break in the bone. They may typically be treated with a splint or a cast, but they may also require surgery to correct.

Burns

In addition to generating a tremendous amount of force, vehicle collisions can also generate large amounts of heat. This, combined with the presence of the gas and oil, creates the opportunity for fires. Like any other type of injury, burns can range from minor to life-threatening, depending on the location and severity of the burn.

Regardless of what type of injury you experienced because of your accident, speaking with an Arizona drunk driving accident attorney will give you an understanding of how to best move forward with your case.

Arizona’s dram shop laws

A dram shop law is a type of law that renders a bar or other establishment liable when they negligently serve a patron and that patron causes harm to a victim after being overserved. In Arizona, the dram shop law can be found in Chapter 311 of Section 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. In order to establish dram shop liability, you must be able to show that the establishment sold liquor to a minor or an obviously intoxicated person, that the individual consumed that liquor, and that the consumption of that liquor caused your injuries.

It is not enough to simply show that an individual purchased alcohol from a given establishment and then drove while under the influence. To fulfill the first requirement of the statute, the bar must have served the patron when their intoxication was obvious to those around them. Some signs of inebriation would be slurring speech or lack of physical coordination. Next, you must show that the person who bought the alcohol consumed it. In the case of a bar patron who orders a glass of beer and drinks it in sight of the bartender, this is straightforward. However, dram shop laws will not apply to a liquor store manager who sold a sealed container of alcohol to a drunk driver that did not actually drink the beverage before the accident.

Finally, the consumption of the alcohol bought on the premises of the store or bar must have been a cause of the subsequent injury. This means that the driver’s drunkenness must have played at least some role in the accident. If the actual cause of the accident was a third party or road conditions, then it is possible that the Arizona dram shop laws would not apply.

licensee vs social host responsibility

When discussing third party liability in drunk driving accidents, it is important to make the distinction between a licensee and a social host. A licensee is an establishment with a license to sell liquor, like a bar or a liquor store. A social host is simply someone who has a guest in their home. The dram shop laws specifically apply to licensees and exclude social hosts who overserve their guests. However, the law does not preclude liability for social hosts who provide alcohol to underage guests. Speaking with an Arizona drunk driving accident attorney will help you understand which laws apply to the unique facts in your case and how the laws affect compensation.

damages in dram shop cases

Aside from asking the question of, “How do I find a personal injury near me?” many accident victims will also wonder what their case could be worth in the form of monetary compensation. There is no surefire way to determine what your case could potentially be worth without speaking with an Arizona drunk driving accident lawyer, but there are some basic guidelines that can be helpful to understand when beginning the process.

In personal injury cases, there are two main types of damages—economic and non-economic. Economic damages are compensation for objective, tangible, monetary losses. This includes things like past and ongoing medical expenses, costs to repair or replace your car, and even lost wages if you were unable to work for a period of time. Economic damages are usually proven with things like bills or receipts. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to compensation for non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. Non-economic damages are subjective and therefore harder to quantify, but the more serious an impact your injuries have on your life, the higher this number will typically be.

While these two types of damages are intended to compensate an accident victim for their losses, there is another category of damages that may be available in a small subset of cases. Punitive damages are meant to punish particularly reckless or even intentional behavior. They are also intended to serve as a deterrent by sending the message that similar behavior will be treated similarly in the future.

time limits in dram shop cases

In every type of personal injury case, there is an associated statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the legal term for how long a victim has to file a claim based on a given incident. Typically, the clock on the statute of limitations will start to run when the accident happens or when a victim discovers or should have had reason to discover a given injury. The statute of limitations that applies to dram shop cases in Arizona is two years, which means that victims have two years to file a claim for their injuries.

There can be certain circumstances that would alter the general statute of limitations rule. For example, if a victim was underage at the time of the accident, then they might be given extra time to file a claim. This could also be true if a victim’s injury only appeared long after an accident and they had no way to discover it earlier. The best way to avoid running into any sort of issues and having your case thrown out for a lack of timeliness is to call an Arizona personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Call zinda law group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with Arizona personal injury lawyers

Drunk driving accident cases are complicated. Adding the additional layer of liability through Arizona’s dram shop laws adds more complexity and requires the assistance of an attorney who has the necessary experience to be able to handle your case. If you were injured in a case involving a drunk driver, contact one of the Arizona drunk driving attorneys at  Zinda Law Group today.

Zinda Law Group attorneys have the expertise of a boutique firm combined with the resources of a nationwide operation. This means your case gets the individualized attention it deserves but is backed by sufficient strength to get the job done. Additionally, we believe that accident victims should never have to worry about their ability to afford quality legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.