When you get in an accident with a drunk driver, the law enforcement officer who responds to the accident scene will evaluate the accident and, if they believe that the drunk driver’s intoxication caused the accident, the police officer will call on Arizona’s implied consent laws to test the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).
This law stipulates that if law enforcement suspects a person is intoxicated at the time of an accident and that their DWI caused the accident, the police can require that the driver take a BAC test. The results of this BAC test will play an important role in your ability to recover damages from the other driver.
This is just one of many important events tied to recovering compensation after an accident with a drunk driver. Your best bet is to call a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident. They can stay on top of everything that needs to happen and do so in a timely manner to improve your chances of recovering damages you sustained from the collision.
You will want to seek medical attention after your accident, regardless of whether you think you are injured. Many injuries do not become apparent for days, weeks, even sometimes months after an accident. You could have sustained internal damage to an organ or muscle tissue and not know about it at the scene of the accident. A medical doctor, however, knows what to look for and how to examine for injuries of all types.
Getting an early diagnosis is important for two reasons. First, you can receive treatment that will lessen the chances of your injuries’ worsening or causing additional complications. Second, the dated documentation you receive from the doctor will help connect your injury to the accident—an important element in filing a successful personal injury claim against the drunk driver so you can cover your medical expenses and other damages.
Once you have been checked and/or treated for any injuries by a medical practitioner, consider your next action to be that of hiring a car accident lawyer who has knowledge of Arizona’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws, as well as experience filing personal injury claims, negotiating with insurance companies, and litigating in civil court to fight for just compensation for their clients.
You may think that recovering compensation is as easy as taking the first figure that an insurance company offers you. While you could certainly accept this initial settlement offer, take note that this is most likely a lowball offer. The insurance company knows you can get more in a trial. So does a personal injury lawyer.
Your car accident attorney will know how to investigate your accident, collect evidence, establish liability, negotiate with insurers, and represent you in a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to agree to fair settlement terms.
The first thing your lawyer will do is to launch an investigation of your accident. A key part of this investigation will be obtaining a copy of the police report, including the BAC results from the blood or breathalyzer test taken after the accident.
If the other driver’s BAC registers at .08 or higher, indicating they were legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, this evidence will go far in establishing negligence, a required step when trying to recover damages after a car accident.
Your lawyer will also talk to witnesses, review videos, and gather photos, as well as gather evidence like medical reports and employer wage statements to be used in determining the value of your case.
They will also prepare any evidence to refute or downplay any role the defendant might say you played in causing the accident. Via Arizona’s pure comparative fault law (ARS § 12-2505), if you are found to be partly responsible for the accident, your damages will be reduced by the percentage to which you are to blame.
As a function of investigating your case, your lawyer will explore the intoxication level of the drunk driver and how they were able to become as drunk as they did. The reason for this is that Arizona’s Dram Shop Laws (A.R.S. § 4-311) allow a person injured in an accident to also pursue recoverable damages from a licensee (bar, tavern, restaurant, etc.) that served the drunk driver alcohol.
Let Zanes Law help you if you get in an accident with a drunk driver. A lot of things happen in the immediate aftermath and weeks after a crash. We will do everything from A to Z to make sure the right steps are taken to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (866) 499-8989 for a free case evaluation. You can even sign up as a client on the same call, and if you need us to, we can come to your home or hospital room.