What Do You Do After A DUI Accident?
When another motorist is driving under the influence (DUI) and causes an accident where you become injured, you should call a personal injury lawyer who handles this type of accident. You have the right to seek compensation from the driver (or their insurance provider) to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, just as you would in any other accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Furthermore, Arizona’s Dram Shop laws mean that you may be able to recover damages from the establishment that served alcohol to the individual who was DUI.
A personal injury lawyer who knows Arizona’s DUI and Dram Shop Laws can gather all the evidence needed to establish both the driver’s and the establishment’s liability for your damages.
Arizona’s Dram Shop Laws – A.R.S. § 4-311
Arizona has a law regarding the liability of bars and related businesses when an intoxicated patron causes an accident that injures an innocent individual. Under the provisions of A.R.S. § 4-311, a bar, tavern, restaurant, or similar establishment is liable for such personal injuries when the following holds true:
- They sold liquor to the defendant, who was obviously intoxicated.
- The intoxicated person consumed the alcohol sold by the defendant.
- This consumption of liquor was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury/damages.
If all of the above conditions apply to the bar, tavern, or restaurant that served alcohol to the person who caused your accident, the establishment can be held liable for your injuries. If a loved one died in a DUI accident and the above criteria are met, you can also hold the establishment liable in a wrongful death action.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Your ability to recover compensation from a DUI accident hinges on many factors, the most significant of which is the degree to which the other driver was intoxicated. Your lawyer can obtain the accident report from the law enforcement officer who investigated the accident scene.
Taking Advantage of Implied Consent Laws
Under Arizona’s implied consent law (ARS Sec. § 29.1321) if the police officer at the scene had probable cause to believe that the other driver’s DUI played a role in the accident, they could have required that the other driver submits to a breathalyzer, urine, or blood-alcohol content (BAC) test.
Blocking Attempts to Disprove Intoxication
Although these test results do serve as compelling evidence in your claim, they do not necessarily mean your proof of intoxication is carved in stone. DUI attorneys are well aware of the many ways these results can be disproven or at least questioned, creating just enough doubt to swing matters in the defendant’s favor.
- The defendant’s lawyer could argue that the DUI tests were conducted using defective or malfunctioning equipment.
- They could contend that the DUI test was improperly administered, or the test results were misread. Whether by human error or defective machinery, it is not uncommon to present enough doubt about the validity of a BAC test to make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
- Finally, even if the other driver’s BAC was accurately tested to be 0.08 or higher, you must still be able to prove that their DUI served as the fundamental cause of your accident and, correspondingly, your injuries. The defendant’s attorney may be able to find other credible causes for or contributors to the accident, and they might even try to prove that you were at least partially to blame for the accident. Under Arizona’s pure comparative fault law (ARS § 12-2505), the amount you are entitled to recover in this situation will be reduced by the percentage to which you are found to have contributed to the accident.
If your DUI accident lawyer has a thorough knowledge of Arizona’s DUI laws, they will be prepared to answer and contradict these arguments with their own investigation of the accident and drawing on expert testimony.
Holding Licensees Liable
If relevant, your lawyer can also launch a private investigation into the tavern, bar or restaurant’s role in enabling the defendant’s level of intoxication to determine whether they can also be pursued for the damages you suffered in the accident.
What You Can Recover from Your DUI Accident Claim or Lawsuit
The expenses you will incur from your DUI accident can be hefty and ongoing. There are damages you might not yet even be aware of, but for which you will someday be financially responsible.
This makes it all the more advisable for you to retain the help of a DUI accident lawyer who has worked through the process of calculating damages—accounting for every type of expense and loss you have suffered and will suffer down the road, including:
- Doctor’s fees
- Surgeon’s fees
- Prescription medicines
- Physical therapy and/or rehabilitation
- Home modifications
- Replacement services
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How Your Lawyer Will Proceed with Your Claim
Your lawyer will collect evidence from a private investigation of your accident. This evidence will serve as the backbone for your negligence claims against the defendant(s), as well as the proof of your damages. Next, your lawyer will construct a demand letter, itemizing all your losses, along with their value to arrive at a total amount you are seeking to recover.
This demand letter will be presented to the defendant’s insurer. Your lawyer will negotiate to arrive at a fair settlement offer. If the insurer is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the defendant and represent your case in a civil court.
Call Zanes Law After Your DUI Accident
Suffering injuries from a DUI accident conviction can send ripples throughout every aspect of your life for many years to come.
This is a potentially life-changing matter, and you should treat it accordingly. Call Zanes Law for a free case review and a legal consultation about your accident. We will do everything from A to Z to see that your right to compensation is protected, and you emerge from this matter with the outcome you need and deserve.
Call us today at (866) 499-8989.
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