CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States, as it is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities. Though preventable, it is sadly common in every state. Arizona is no exception. Though all car accidents can be frustrating, if you happen to get involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be particularly frustrated because of its preventable nature.
If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our drunk driving accident lawyers.
STATISTICS ON DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS
Drunk driving accidents often lead to fatalities. Nationally speaking, nearly a third of traffic deaths in the United States are a result of driving under the influence. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a million people were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence. In Arizona, though alcohol was involved in only 3.7% of all crashes in 2018, 26.3% of fatal crashes involved alcohol. As you can see, alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of a fatal crash.
ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON THE MIND
Slow Reaction Time
When a certain amount of alcohol is in your body, your ability to react to different situations changes. Often, your reflexes become slower. Therefore, if a car or a pedestrian suddenly appears in front of you while you are driving under the influence, you may be unable to avoid them in time.
Lack of Coordination
Drinking alcohol can affect your motor skills. You have probably seen video footage of a police officer asking a DUI suspect to walk in a straight line and the suspect failing miserably. If an individual is unable to walk in a straight line, he or she does not have the motor skills to drive a car.
Heavy intoxication can lead to blurry vision and lack of eye control. Because driving requires you to measure the distance of cars in front of you and to notice the various objects on the road, blurry vision and lack of eye control are especially dangerous.
We all know that a heavily intoxicated person may say or do things that he or she would not say or do when sober. Similarly, a drunk driver will make decisions that he or she would not have made if he or she were sober. For instance, a sober driver may avoid an obstacle on the road without a problem, but a drunk driver may simply just drive into the obstacle.
Though we often associate reduced concentration on the road due to the predominance of mobile phones, alcohol can also influence your concentration. Though we may not think about it on a daily basis, think about how much concentration is needed for you to drive safely. Staying in your lane, watching your speed and other vehicles, and stopping at traffic signals are extremely difficult when you are intoxicated.
ARIZONA DUI LAWS
Below are some DUI laws in Arizona you should be aware of.
A basic DUI is given to an individual whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is between 0.08% and 0.14%. A woman of average weight achieves this BAC within 2-3 drinks. A man of average weight achieves this BAC within 3-4 drinks.
An extreme DUI is given to an individual whose BAC is 0.15% or higher. A woman of average weight achieves this BAC within 4 or more drinks. A man of average weight achieves this BAC within 5 or more drinks.
An aggravated DUI is given to an intoxicated driver under the following circumstances:
- The driver was driving under a suspended license
- The driver has been caught driving under the influence for a third time within a seven-year period
- The driver was driving with a passenger under 15 years old
TYPES OF INJURIES THAT CAN RESULT FROM A CAR CRASH
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
WHO MAY BE LIABLE?
The Drunk Driver
As the perpetrator of the accident, the drunk driver is primarily responsible for the accident.
Hosts who serve alcohol at a party may be responsible for a drunk driving accident if the host is found to have served alcohol to a guest who was extremely drunk at the party.
Bar or Restaurant Owner or Staff
Bar owners and their employees often have a duty to not serve alcohol to patrons who appear extremely intoxicated. If they continue to serve a clearly intoxicated patron, they may be liable for the accident that ensues.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE INJURED IN A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT IN PHOENIX
1. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you may feel fine after getting involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you should always seek medical attention. Some physical injuries do not become apparent until sometime after the accident. Therefore, you will want to schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be unable to seek full compensation for the injury.
2. Report the Accident
Be sure to report the accident to the police immediately after the accident. The police will write up a report concerning the accident. This report will be indispensable if you plan on filing a claim.
Read More: Phoenix Crash Report
3. Document the Accident
When you file a personal injury claim, you must show you suffered an injury. To show this you must substantiate your claim with evidence. Evidence may include photographs, medical bills, or witness statements. Therefore, archive all the expenses that have resulted from the accident. These include medical expenses, expenses for your damaged vehicle, and towing expenses.
4. Contact an Attorney
An attorney can be a valuable asset when you are filing a drunk driving accident claim. A lawyer may help you investigate the accident and find all the parties responsible for the drunk driving accident. Furthermore, an attorney may help you deal with a non-compliant insurance company.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
DEALING WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY
1. Be Wary When Another Party’s Insurance Company Asks You to Sign a Medical Release
If you get injured due to the actions of another party, that party’s insurance company may ask you to sign a medical release. You should decline this request, as they may use this release to rummage through your medical records to look for some other injury you may have had and use that injury as an excuse to pay you less.
2. Do Not Be in a Rush to Settle Your Claim
It is understandable that after an injury, you want to move on with your life. However, if you move too quickly, you may not be able to get the compensation you deserve. Once a settlement is over, it is over. Therefore, be sure that you are getting a good deal before you decide to settle.
3. Do Not Believe Insurance Claim Adjuster’s Value
Because insurance companies need to make a profit, they will not always give you the amount of compensation you deserve. Thus, when a claims adjuster says that your injuries are worth a certain amount, take it with a grain of salt. Insurance claims adjusters are trained negotiators who want the best for their employer. Thus, they want to reduce your claim or deny your claim altogether. Always remember, no matter how sympathetic a claims adjuster may seem, he or she is not working for you but, the insurance company.
4. Do Not Speak to an Insurance Claims Adjuster Until You Speak with a Lawyer
Often, a claims adjuster will want to chat with you. They may ask you questions that may seem innocuous. However, they can trick you into saying that the accident was partially your fault or making other statements that they can use to lessen the value of your claim. Therefore, do not talk to a claims adjuster until you speak with a lawyer.
5. Do Not Be Intimated If Insurance Company Breaks Off Communication
Some insurance companies try to use a delaying tactic to avoid giving you compensation for your claim. For instance, in Arizona, the statute of limitations requires a claimant to file a claim within two years of an accident. An insurance company in Arizona may try to delay your claim by pretending to lose your paperwork or not respond to your calls. By engaging in such tactics, the insurance company hopes that you will give up your claim or miss the deadline to file a lawsuit. If such incidents occur in your claim, call a lawyer right away.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
COMPENSATION FROM A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT CLAIM
Possible compensation from a drunk driving accident claim includes economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Damaged property
- Past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- Past and future emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
Be aware that Arizona follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. Even if you are 99% at fault for an accident, you may still be able to seek compensation. However, the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced by the percentage of fault you contributed to the accident.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
WHY CHOOSE ZINDA LAW GROUP?
Our drunk driving accident attorneys in Phoenix have the experience and knowledge to help clients seek compensation for their injuries. We believe no one should have to worry about affording high-quality legal representation after an accident, which is why you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. We may be able to help make a complex process feel simple for you while you focus on recovering.
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