What Is A Drunk Driving Accident Case?
When a person drives their vehicle, they must be attentive to their surroundings at all times. While on the road, a person may encounter potential hazards including potholes, animals crossing, and other drivers drifting into the wrong lane. With that in mind, it is important to be of sound mind when driving as sudden dangers on the road often require split second responses to avoid an accident.
Unfortunately, in Mesa, Arizona, numerous people get behind the wheel of their vehicles while intoxicated, lowering their ability to make sound judgments and avoid accidents. Furthermore, because drunk drivers have lowered mental awareness and physical coordination, their accidents often cause substantial injuries as the drivers are usually unable to swerve out of the way or slam on their brakes in time to avoid serious impact.
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident in Mesa, Arizona, contact Zinda Law Group at (888) 568 4342. Our highly talented attorneys have the experience and expertise to guide you through the litigation process. By having talented Zinda Law Group Mesa drunk driving accident lawyers in your corner, you can focus your attention on recovering while our attorneys pursue a case on your behalf. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Mesa, Arizona, contact Zinda Law Group for your 100% free consultation. You will not pay us anything unless we win your case.
Common Causes And Examples
When drinking alcohol, even a small amount is enough to lower your ability to focus on your surroundings and slow your reflexes. This effect is amplified by the amount of alcohol consumed, which is why experts recommend that for every drink you have, you must wait at least one hour to drive. For example, if you have enjoyed three standard drinks, you should wait at least three hours before operating a vehicle.
When someone disregards this guidance, they will have difficulty concentrating on what they are doing, which can lead to completely avoidable accidents. Common examples of drunk driving accidents include:
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, placing them, and others, at a substantial risk of a head-on collision.
Typically, head-on collisions are extremely dangerous as the drivers are typically traveling at high speeds in the opposite directions. Thus, the impact of the force from a head-on collision magnifies. Sadly, statistics demonstrate that head-on collisions are more likely to result in serious harm or fatality than other types of drunk driving accidents. In fact, a 2020 study determined that 58% of all vehicle-related deaths were the result of a head-on collision, more than 30% higher than the second most common reason.
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 think 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 was properly stopped because the drunk driver did not properly judge how far ahead the other car was.
Alcohol impacts a driver’s ability to properly react to their surroundings as well as understand the force that they are exerting. In a situation where a drunk driver is trying to avoid colliding with an object in the road, another vehicle, or a pedestrian, the driver may unwittingly turn their wheel while still traveling at a high speed. When that happens, the drunk driver’s car may flip over and cause severe damage to anyone in the surrounding path.
Due to alcohol’s known side effect of blurred vision, a drunk driver may not see a pedestrian properly crossing the street until it is too late. Additionally, if a drunk driver does see a pedestrian, the driver may incorrectly believe that they have enough time with an adequate ability to stop their vehicle in time. Unfortunately, the drunk driver is usually wrong in their belief of their abilities. Furthermore, unlike a collision with another car, 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 may suffer life-threatening injuries, or even death, after being hit by a drunk driver.
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What To Do After A Drunk Driving Accident
Following a car accident, you should follow these steps that will maintain your safety as well as
preserve and assist with a future lawsuit. These steps are:
1.Seeking Medical Attention
First, you will want to evaluate your physical condition as well as the physical condition of any passenger(s), if applicable. Even if the injuries appear minor, receive medical attention as
as soon as possible. In many drunk driving accidents, victims will not feel the full extent of their injuries due to the adrenaline rush that often follows an accident.
This is important to keep in mind because some injuries take minutes, hours, or days to appear. However, by immediately receiving medical treatment, a doctor will be able to tell you what the full extent of your injuries are. Additionally, by not receiving medical assistance following a drunk driving accident, it could impact your ability to receive proper compensation for your injuries as the drunk driver may argue that your injuries must not have been that severe if you did not immediately go to a hospital.
2.Reporting the Accident
Next, you should report the drunk driving accident to the police and then to your insurance company. After a police officer arrives, they will gather information from you, the drunk driver, and, if applicable, any available witnesses. The police officer will take this information and put it into an accident report that documents all aspects of the drunk driving accident including the parties involved, the location of the accident, when the accident occurred, and how alcohol played a role. Typically, the accident report will become a public record within a week of the 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.
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. Importantly, 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 Mesa drunk driving accident lawyer.
3.Documenting the Accident
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 obtain any medical receipts for the costs you incurred as a result of the drunk driving accident as it will help boost your claim and increase your likelihood of obtaining proper compensation.
4.Contacting an Experienced Mesa Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Lastly, you should discuss your case with a Mesa 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 as well as accept a settlement offer that may not actually be a fair deal.
Thankfully, at Zinda Law Group our Mesa drunk driving accident lawyers have a deep and widespread knowledge of the legal system, including how best to approach obtaining compensation after a drunk driving accident, and will handle any calls from insurance companies so that we ensure that you receive a fair settlement offer that will properly compensate you for the accident. At Zinda Law Group, you can count on our Mesa 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 Mesa.
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How Does A Drunk Driving Case Work?
In a drunk driving case, your attorney will work with you to determine the facts and circumstances underlying your accident including whether you share any amount of fault. This is an important to note 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 85% liable while you are found 15% liable, your entitled compensation drops to $85,000.
What are the elements?
In order to prove that the other party is responsible for your accident, you must demonstrate that the party was negligent. Negligence is defined as 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.
After establishing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, 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.
Next, the plaintiff must 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 drifting into the other lane due to intoxication, the plaintiff would not have been injured in a head-on collision.
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.
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 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 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, the driver’s employer if the driver was operating a commercial vehicle, the party 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 lawsuit.
The Driver’s Employer
Sometimes, a drunk driving accident takes place when the perpetrator is driving their company’s vehicle and/or driving while in the course of their employment. In that circumstance, you may have a claim against the driver’s employer. A common example would be bringing a negligence claim against an employer for not taking an employee’s history of drunk driving into account when allowing them to operate the company car.
The Party Host
In Arizona, if a party host supplies alcohol to an underaged individual, 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 (like a bar or restaurant) can be liable for your drunk driving accident if the vendor continued to dispense alcohol to a clearly intoxicated individual or 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.
Usually, economic damages are the easiest to prove as they are tangible and quantifiable. This type of damages includes medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, and the costs to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
Conversely, non-economic damages are tougher to prove because, unlike economic damages, there will not be any receipts to show exactly how much the defendant owes. 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 Mesa 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 be entitled 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 that the defendant engaged in behavior that was so outrageous that it is 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 expert 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 lawyers take the utmost satisfaction in securing compensation for our clients. With extensive experience handling many kinds of drunk driving accident cases in Mesa, Arizona, we are thrilled to have helped countless individuals pursue the maximum amount of compensation available in their case.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations?
In Arizona, you have two years from the date of your drunk driving accident to file a claim against the responsible party or parties for compensation. Importantly, if you do not file your suit within two years, you will not be able to bring a claim to court. Therefore, you should obtain a Mesa 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 Mesa drunk driving accident lawyers to always fight on your behalf to pursue compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries. Our attorneys take pride in providing exemplary service to clientele on a consistent basis. Additionally, our attorneys understand how stressful a recovery from a drunk driving accident can be, particularly if you incur substantial hospital fees and have to miss work as a result of your injuries. That is why we take a fully focused hands on approach to your case, which will give you the much needed time to recuperate and focus on improving your health.
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Mesa, Arizona, contact a Zinda Law Group attorney today at (888) 568 4342 to set up your free initial consultation. You do not need to feel concerned about paying us anything unless we are successful in your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO