Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea. Unfortunately, even when you take every precaution to drive safely, you cannot account for every other driver to do the same. Another driver’s negligent actions in driving impaired can cause a serious accident, severe injuries, and significant financial damages.
If you’ve been victimized by the actions of a drunk or impaired driver in Arizona, you need to be aware of your legal rights and options.
The types of accidents that result from drunk or impaired driving in Arizona can pose a major detriment to the victims. They include many different types of crashes, and the following are just a few examples:
The personal injuries that can result from an accident caused by a drunk or impaired driver can also be manifold. They can involve injuries to the spine, back, and neck; serious concussions or traumatic brain injuries; damage to internal organs or internal bleeding; bone fractures and breaks; contusions and abrasions; and in the most serious cases, catastrophic injuries or even death.
You need to seek medical care and treatment as soon as possible after being in an accident, even if you think you feel fine, as some injuries can take days or even weeks to appear.
Arizona, like most other states, has some serious laws in place to deter drunk or impaired driving. As stated by the Arizona Department of Transportation: “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drugs to drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle.” This is for good reason. In 2021 alone, there were more than 6,000 alcohol-related crashes in Arizona and another approximately 1,500 crashes where drivers were under the influence of illegal drugs, marijuana, or prescription medication.
The penalties for drunk or impaired driving are steep, and even first offenders will most likely spend at least 24 hours in jail when they are involved in a collision while driving drunk or impaired, though the law provides for not less than 10 consecutive days and fines not less than $1,250. Subsequent offenses mean that the offender will be jailed for not less than 90 days and fined not less than $3,000, and their license will be revoked for 12 months.
There are also specific Arizona negligence laws that deal with victims’ recovery of compensation in cases where they are injured by a drunk or impaired driver. Victims of drunk drivers have the right to hold the drunk or impaired driver responsible for the accident that has resulted in the victim’s injuries.
To recover compensation for your injuries, you will need to prove the elements of negligence: that the impaired driver breached their duty of reasonable care, directly causing you damages. Each of those elements will require you to produce relevant evidence, including evidence of the other driver’s state of impairment at the time of the accident, such as the crash report and accounts by witnesses.
Your damages can include both out-of-pocket costs, such as the costs of your medical treatments, lost income, and repairs to your vehicle, as well as general damages, such as pain and suffering and the impact of the accident on your quality of life. In some egregious cases, you may also be able to recoup punitive damages as a result of the other party’s negligent actions in driving drunk or impaired.
The process of proving your negligence claim will likely involve extensive negotiations with the other parties and their insurance companies. An experienced Arizona DUI accident lawyer can help assess the full extent of your damages, preserve important evidence in your claim, and file and build a strong case on your behalf.
Suffering an injury at the hands of a drunk or impaired driver can result in serious medical issues and changes to your life. While compensation may be available to help you with some of the financial losses that stem from your injuries, these cases can be complicated, lengthy, and difficult to handle—especially when you’re up against large insurance companies that tend to have significant legal and financial resources on their side.
It is important that you receive sound legal advice, protect your legal rights, and discuss your potential options with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle lawyer. Even if at first blush, it seems clear that the drunk or impaired driver should be held to be at fault, questions of liability and damages can quickly turn complex, and you need a competent attorney by your side.
At Torgenson Law, our experienced and knowledgeable Arizona DUI injury lawyers understand the significant impact of a serious injury on a person and their family, and we want to help you get back on your feet.
We have experience negotiating with insurance companies and will work tirelessly toward a fair and reasonable settlement offer on your behalf. Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys today and see how we can give you the support you deserve.
Give us a call today at 602-726-0747 or reach out online for a free case evaluation.