What Are MY Rights After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver in Phoenix?

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Whether you commute miles down I-10 to downtown for work or simply run errands around the city, your safety while moving about Phoenix is crucial. While drivers can help keep themselves safer by following the rules, we also depend on the responsible driving of others when we are on the road.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others, and tragic accidents all too commonly happen, especially on Interstate 17 from Phoenix to Flagstaff, which was recently ranked as one of the nation’s most deadly highways. Driving while under the influence is one way Arizona drivers may drive irresponsibly, with deadly consequences.

If you or someone you love was hit by a drunk driver in Phoenix, call (800) 863-5312 to speak with Phoenix car accident lawyers. We can help you understand your legal rights and guide you in the pursuit of compensation for your injuries and damages to your car.

Arizona legal alcohol limits

First and foremost, it is important to understand what a DUI is, and what it is not. The Phoenix drunk driving laws, though fairly simple, have some nuances that are critical to understanding the big picture. One important distinction to make is between people over the age of 21 and those below it.

If you are involved in an accident with a person younger than 21, it does not matter what their blood alcohol concentration was, provided that it was more than 0%. Because it is illegal for people under 21 to have alcohol at all, if their BAC is anything more than 0%, they may be charged with a DUI.

For people over the age of 21, there is a bit more analysis involved. In Arizona, if you are found to be driving with a BAC over .08%, or over .04% for commercial drivers, you may be charged with a DUI. Because people come in different shapes and sizes and process alcohol differently, there is no standard amount of alcohol consumption that correlates to a certain BAC; this is why the Arizona Department of Public Safety makes it clear that it is very important for drivers to know their own limits and to always drink responsibly.

criminal dui penalties

The penalties for a DUI offense are severe, and they reflect Arizona’s no-nonsense attitude when it comes to the desire to make sure that intoxicated drivers do not get behind the wheel. For a first-time DUI offense, the penalties can include 24 hours to 10 days in jail, a $250 base fine, the suspension of the driver’s license for 90 days to a year, and the requirement that the driver’s vehicle be outfitted with an ignition interlock device. For the second and any subsequent DUI offense, those penalties ratchet all the way up to a minimum of 4 months in jail, a $3,250 base fine, the suspension of a driver’s license for a full year, and again, the outfitting of the vehicle with an ignition interlock device.

what do i do after being hit by a drunk driver in phoenix?

While understanding the DUI laws in Phoenix may be helpful, it is likely not nearly as important to you and your family in the moments immediately following the crash as knowing what you should do in the moments, hours, and days after your accident with a drunk driver. Many drivers may wonder, “What are my rights after being hit by a drunk driver in Phoenix?” While you may not know with certainty the best route you should take legally before you have had a chance to share the intricacies of your unique situation with a Phoenix car accident lawyer, it can be helpful to have a general understanding of the steps you should take after your accident.

1. Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost, it is critical that you attend to your physical needs; this is vital for a few different reasons. First, certain car accident injuries might become more severe if left untreated, so seeking treatment as soon as possible gives you the best possible chance of a positive outlook in terms of your physical health. In addition, getting compensation for your injuries will depend on being able to link the damages that you incurred to the actual accident.

Opposing parties might try to argue that your injuries did not actually result from the accident, or that you could have prevented them from becoming worse by acting (going to the doctor or hospital) sooner. Getting medical attention as soon as possible and following all of the recommendations from your doctors mitigates against arguments like these.

2. Call the Police

If the severity of your injuries allows, it is best to call the police immediately after the accident and speak with them when they arrive on the scene. Whatever the circumstance, however, it is critical to speak to the police as soon as you are able. By calling the police, you guarantee that the accident will be documented, which is crucial when filing a case with an insurance company or against another driver.

3. Document the Accident

In any personal injury case, it is far preferable to be overprepared than underprepared. This means collecting all of the documentation relating to your accident that you come across. If you were hit by a drunk driver in Phoenix, this can mean taking pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash, making sure to retain all medical records, and collecting contact information from the other drivers involved in your crash.

4. Speak with a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

You have the right to have the person who caused your accident be held responsible and accountable for your suffering, injuries, and property damage. After you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Phoenix, speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer who knows the local Phoenix laws and has access to the resources that could help you win your case may be the most important step you can take in the process of recovery.

An attorney who has practiced in Arizona can help you understand what your legal standing is, what your case could potentially be worth, and how to go about pursuing it. Even if you do not have a compensable claim, you don’t have anything to lose by reaching out to Zinda Law attorneys—you don’t pay us anything until we win your claim for you, and the initial consultations are 100% confidential.

what is my case worth?

Accident victims are often left with expensive bills to pay, and they may be unable to work because of the injuries they sustained. Because of this, many victims will begin to wonder about the potential value of their claim in compensation. While there isn’t a way to truly gauge the value of a potential claim without speaking with an experienced Phoenix injury attorney, any money that you may receive will likely come from two main categories of damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses that are objectively verifiable. They can include things like the cost of repairing your vehicle, medical bills, and lost wages from being unable to work. Economic damages can typically be proven with a fairly high degree of certainty because they are the more objective category of damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages refer to the category of damages that is more subjective and more difficult to put an exact dollar amount on. They include the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of the accident, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. While it is more difficult to assign a dollar amount to the pain and suffering that you experience, generally speaking, the worse your injuries are, the higher the damages in this category might be.

Punitive Damages

For many accidents, damages will only come from the first two categories; however, punitive damages may be available in certain cases. While economic and non-economic damages exist to try to restore the victim back to the condition they were in before their accident, punitive damages focus on the wrongdoer; they serve both as a punishment to the wrongdoer in a given case, and as a warning to whomever might be in a position to act in the same way, that is, drive drunk. Generally, punitive damages are only available in cases where the wrongdoer acted in a purposeful or particularly reckless way.

Dram shop laws

Arizona is a state that has codified what is known as a “dram shop” law, the full text of which can be found here; dram shop laws provide that a restaurant or bar can actually be liable if their patrons go on to drive and cause an accident. If the establishment sold alcohol to someone who was obviously intoxicated or someone who was underage without requesting ID, that person consumed the alcohol, and the consumption of that alcohol was a proximate cause of the injury or damage, then it is possible that that establishment could be a potential source of compensation for a victim. Speaking with a Phoenix injury attorney is the best way to understand if this special rule applies to your case.

Call zinda law group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident with a drunk driver can be an extremely stressful and traumatizing event; in addition, medical bills can pile up quickly. One of the most effective ways to relieve this burden from your shoulders is to partner with the right attorney, one who will advocate for your rights and help you seek fair compensation. The Phoenix injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group combine the localized expertise of a boutique law firm with the resources of a nationwide shop; in addition, you won’t pay us anything until we win your case for you—that’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.