Flagstaff Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
What Is A Drunk Driving Accident Case?
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Arizona and is a leading cause of traffic deaths in the state. Unfortunately, this is a common problem in Flagstaff, Arizona, as numerous intoxicated people get behind the wheel of their vehicles everyday despite the dangers associated with drunk driving. Furthermore, because drunk drivers have lowered cognitive abilities and physical coordination, their accidents often cause substantial injuries as the drivers may swerve directly into oncoming traffic or fail to use their brakes at a stop light.
While a drunk driving accident often is frustrating due to its preventability and scary due to its severity, there is help available. If you or a loved one are involved in a drunk driving accident in Flagstaff, Arizona, contact Zinda Law Group at (888) 568 4342 for a 100% free consultation.
You will not pay us anything unless we win your case.
Common causes and examples
Drinking alcohol can slow the body’s reaction time, blur vision, reduce the ability to concentrate, and impact the driver’s judgment. If a driver has enough alcohol in their system, they may not be able to see other vehicles or pedestrians on the road that they otherwise would have seen if sober. Additionally, while intoxicated, a driver may think it’s a good idea to drive through an object on the road or suddenly turn the wheel of their vehicle while still at a high speed, rather than simply slow the vehicle down and drive around the object.
Often, drunk drivers struggle with staying in between the lines while on the road. This can be due to drowsiness, an inability to focus, or even fully falling asleep at the wheel. When this occurs, the drunk driver may steer their vehicle into another lane, one way road, or exit ramp, placing them, and others, at a substantial risk of a head-on collision.
Commonly, a drunk driver’s impairment will negatively impact their ability to properly judge how far ahead another car is from them. Additionally, the drunk driver may not realize how fast they are traveling and falsely believe that they have more time to slow down than they really do. Thus, this can lead to a scenario where a drunk driver hits a vehicle in front of them who has already stopped or is properly slowing their own vehicle down.
Unlike other vehicles, motorcycles are not as visible due to their smaller size and can sometimes seem hidden if a driver is not paying attention to the road and their overall surroundings. When a driver is operating their vehicle under the influence, they may suddenly swerve into another lane without checking their blindspots and hit a motorcyclist.
A drunk driver may not see a pedestrian walking across the street until it is too late to stop their vehicle. Unfortunately, a drunk driving accident involving a pedestrian is often catastrophic. That is because a pedestrian will not have any airbags or other forms of protection that could soften the blow of being struck by a vehicle. Therefore, pedestrians have a higher likelihood of suffering life-threatening injuries after being struck by a vehicle in a drunk driving accident.
What to do after a drunk driving accident
Following a car accident, you may experience confusion, you may feel frightened, and you might not know what to do next. However you are feeling in the immediate aftermath of your drunk driving accident, you should follow these steps as they will protect your safety and preserve your ability to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. These steps are:
1.Seek Medical Attention
First, you will want to evaluate your physical condition and monitor for any injuries. Even if the injuries appear minor, receive medical attention as soon as possible as your injuries could end up becoming severe, expensive, and time-consuming to recover from. By immediately receiving medical treatment, a doctor will be able to tell you what the full extent of your injuries are. Additionally, you should keep track of any symptoms you are feeling and report them to your attending doctor as they could be a sign of a serious injury.
Importantly, when you are receiving medical treatment for your injuries, you will want to document as much as you can including when you visited, what you were visiting for, what your diagnosis is, and how much you are paying for treatment. This information can later be used by your attorney when determining how much your claim is worth.
2.Report the Accident
Next, if your physical condition is okay and you feel comfortable and safe to leave your vehicle, you should report the drunk driving accident to the Flagstaff Police Department and then to your insurance company. After a police officer arrives, they should gather information that includes:
● The time, place, and date of the accident;
● The contact information, including names and addresses, of all involved parties;
● Witness statements;
● Description of the weather conditions; and
● Description of the damages to property and injuries to parties
The police officer will then take this information and put it into an accident report that documents all aspects of the drunk driving accident. Once the accident report is available, you should request a copy of it as accident reports are crucial pieces of evidence that the drunk driver was responsible for your accident.
There are multiple ways to request a copy of the accident report. For example, you may contact the Flagstaff Police Department at (928) 214 2530, go to the Flagstaff Police Department’s physical address, or visit the LexisNexis Police Reports website.
Afterwards, you will want to notify your insurance company of the drunk driving accident. Even if you are not at fault, it is important to promptly contact your insurer and disclose that you were in an accident so that you have access to your policy’s benefits. Note, that the failure to notify your insurer that you were in an accident could lead to your insurer denying coverage on what would otherwise be a valid claim. Importantly, when you contact your insurer you should only provide general details of the accident, such as the location, time, and the contact information for any involved parties. Don’t discuss the issue of liability or agree to a recorded statement until after you have consulted with a Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer.
Next, you will want to document all relevant evidence and paperwork relating to the accident.
Often, it is helpful to take photographs of the accident and the surrounding area. Specifically,
you should take photographs of your injuries, your vehicle, and the other party’s vehicle.
Furthermore, if possible, you will want to obtain information about the other driver including their
name, contact information, and insurance provider. Additionally, if there are any witnesses, you will want to try and obtain their contact information as well. This is important as
credible witnesses often bolster claims and increase the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for accident victims. Finally, you will want to put all of your evidence into a safe and secure binder. This will be very helpful for your attorney in filing a claim and negotiating with the other party’s insurance company for a fair settlement as all of the necessary information will be stored in an organized file.
4.Contact a Flagstaff Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Lastly, you should discuss your case with a Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer. A drunk driving accident may leave you in a tough spot where you cannot work or afford the costs of your medical expenses. Additionally, you may also be dealing with calls from insurance companies asking you to provide a statement on the record about your accident and they may even pressure you into accepting a settlement offer.
Fortunately, the Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group have years of experience in how best to approach obtaining compensation after a drunk driving accident, and will handle any calls from insurance companies so that we ensure that no settlement offer is accepted unless it properly compensates you for your drunk driving accident. At Zinda Law Group, you can count on our Flagstaff drunk driving accident attorneys to offer you a free initial consultation, provide frequent updates on the status of your case, and maintain availability to answer any questions.
Call Zinda Law Group today at (888) 568 4342 to discuss your case and answer any questions you have regarding what you should do following a drunk driving accident in Flagstaff, Arizona.
How does a drunk driving case work?
For a drunk driving case, your attorney will work with you to investigate the facts and circumstances underlying your accident including whether you share any amount of fault. This is important as Arizona law follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, meaning that an injured party’s recoverable compensation is based on their percentage of fault in the accident.
For example, if you suffered $100,000 worth of injuries and damages in a drunk driving accident and the opposing party is found 95% liable while you are found 5% liable, your entitled compensation drops to $95,000. Additionally, even if you believe that you are mostly at fault for the drunk driving accident, Arizona law allows you to file a claim and collect compensation even if the opposing party is found to be less than 50% responsible for any injuries and damages you suffered.
What are the elements?
To prove that the other party is responsible for your accident, you must demonstrate that they were negligent. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonably ordinary person would have exercised under the same circumstances. In a personal injury case, negligence breaks down into four elements:
The plaintiff (injured party) must show that the defendant (alleged at-fault party) owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Drivers on the road owe other drivers a duty to follow the law and operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
Next, the plaintiff must show that the defendant violated that duty in some form. A drunk driver breaches the duty of care by driving their vehicle while impaired, which is a violation of the law and puts other drivers at a higher risk of harm.
After, the plaintiff must directly link the drunk driver’s breach of their duty of care with the accident. For example, a plaintiff may show that were it not for the defendant being intoxicated, the defendant would have been able stop their vehicle in time before striking you at a crosswalk.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that suffered a loss as a result of the defendant’s actions. This can be in the form of injuries, damaged property, lost wages, medical bills, emotional trauma, and more. Often, an accident report is helpful to have as it lays out the circumstances of the accident, how it happened, and what the initial damages were.
If your attorney is able to show that another party violated their duty of care and is responsible for your accident, this information can be used to negotiate a favorable settlement agreement with the responsible party’s insurance company. During negotiations, your Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer will strongly advocate on your behalf to secure a settlement from the insurance company that pays the full value of your claim. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will prepare for litigation and present documented evidence in a court of law and use it to prove that the other party is financially liable for any injuries and damages you suffered as a result of your drunk driving accident.
Who can be sued?
Frequently, in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, the victim will have the ability to sue different parties including the driver, a social host, and the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver.
As the party directly responsible for your accident, the drunk driver is the most commonly sued party in a drunk driving accident claim. Besides the accident report, if the drunk driver was arrested after the accident, your Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer may follow up on the drunk driver’s arrest and see if a conviction occurs. You can use a DUI criminal conviction in your civil liability lawsuit to increase the strength of your claim.
The Social Host
In Arizona, if a party host supplies alcohol to an underaged individual who later gets into an accident injuring you, the host may be liable for your drunk driving accident injuries and damages. However, this liability only applies if the drunk driver is not of the legal age to drink alcohol.
The Bar or Restaurant
Arizona’s dram shop laws state that a licensed liquor vendor can be liable for your drunk driving accident if the vendor continued to dispense alcohol to a clearly intoxicated individual, served alcohol after closing time, or provided alcohol to an individual who was under the age of 21.
What Damages Can Be Recovered
When an injured party brings a claim for a drunk driving accident, they are seeking compensation to reimburse them for damages resulting from the accident. That reimbursement can include damages that are both physical and mental. In Arizona, an injured party in a drunk driving accident may receive compensatory damages. Within compensatory damages are economic damages and non-economic damages. Additionally, in certain circumstances an injured party may be able to also obtain punitive damages.
Economic damages are tangible and quantifiable. Economic damages include past and future medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, and the costs to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
Conversely, non-economic damages are tougher to prove as they are intangible without any receipts documenting their exact costs. Non-economic damages may include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While there is no specific formula to calculate non-economic damages, a Zinda Law Group Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer can use your unique story and circumstance to help determine what the proper compensation is owed for your emotional anguish.
In some scenarios, you may have entitlement to punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to put the injured party back in the place that they were prior to their accident, the primary purpose of punitive damages is to punish the party responsible for the accident. Under Arizona law, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted “with an evil mind” in order to collect punitive damages.
Arizona courts have determined that a defendant acts “with an evil mind” when the defendant intended to injure the plaintiff, engaged in unsafe conduct that the defendant knew, or should have known, would likely injure the plaintiff, or the defendant engaged in behavior that was so outrageous that it can be assumed that the defendant intended to injure the plaintiff. While a drunk driving accident will not always arise to this level, each case is unique. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer who will go through the facts and conclude whether your particular case may entitle you to punitive damages.
At Zinda Law Group, our Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyers take pride in securing compensation for our clients. With extensive knowledge gained through handling many types of drunk driving accident cases, we are happy to know that we have helped countless individuals pursue the maximum amount of compensation available in their case.
What is the statute of limitations?
Each state has a finite amount of time that an individual has to file a civil claim against an alleged responsible party, or parties. In Arizona, you have two years from the date of your drunk driving accident to file a claim. Importantly, if you do not file your suit within two years, you will not be able to bring a claim to court, regardless of its legitimacy. Therefore, you should obtain a Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as you can to ensure that you receive assistance in obtaining proper compensation for your injuries.
Why Hire Zinda Law Group?
At Zinda Law Group, you can count on our Flagstaff drunk driving accident lawyers to have the knowledge and expertise to properly investigate your claim, quantify what you are owed, and negotiate with insurance companies to obtain what you are entitled to. You can take comfort in the fact that our attorneys will always fight on your behalf.
Additionally, our attorneys understand how stressful a recovery from a drunk driving accident can be, particularly if you are bombarded by insurance companies while also incurring substantial hospital fees and not being able to work. That is why we take a fully focused hands on approach to your drunk driving accident case, which will give you the much needed time to focus on recovering and getting back to the life you previously had.
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Flagstaff, Arizona, contact a Zinda Law Group attorney today at (888) 568 4342 to set up your free initial consultation. You do not need to worry about paying us anything unless we are successful in your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.