Reckless behavior by drunk drivers is a major offense, and innocent victims often suffer severe injuries, damages, or even their lives. In 2018, 28 percent of all crash-related fatalities were due to alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you have been a victim of or have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you have the right to seek justice and fair compensation. The experienced team of Phoenix drunk driving accident attorneys at Torgenson Law will fight for your rights and hold the negligent party accountable. Call us today for a free consultation at (602) 726-0747, so we can discuss the best way to proceed with your case.
Injuries sustained from DUI accidents can be severe, and commonly include:
These types of trauma can cause irreparable damage, not only physically, but also to your quality of life. Accumulating medical expenses and being unable to work often lead to unexpected financial strain on you and your family. Especially if lifelong care is required. If you lost a loved one, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. For more information, speak to a Phoenix wrongful death attorney today.
Although the majority of the blame for the accident will fall on the intoxicated driver, who will also likely face criminal charges, they may not be the only party responsible. Arizona’s dram shop liability laws states that other negligent parties that you may be able to sue:
Bartenders, managers, and owners of establishments serving alcohol can also be held liable if they over-served the driver who hit you. They are then partially responsible for allowing the person to become intoxicated. If you believe one of these parties is to blame for your accident, our drunk driving dram shop liability attorneys can help.
An experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer will protect your rights and take the steps necessary to best represent your interests. A number of actions will be done on your behalf in order to do so, and some of those include:
You may be eligible for monetary compensation for you or your loved one’s medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and punitive damages. During such a difficult time in your life, you can take comfort in knowing there is someone who is working tirelessly to obtain justice for you.
You have rights if you have been injured as a result of the actions of a drunk driver. First, it is very likely that the other driver in this situation will face criminal charges brought by law enforcement officials or prosecutors for the state. You, as the victim, will receive reports from law enforcement officials and prosecutors about the case, specifically information pertaining to your rights moving forward through the criminal process as the victim of a crime.
However, criminal DUI cases and civil personal injury claims are two separate legal processes. If you were injured as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver, you have a right to file a civil claim to recover compensation for your losses. You will even have the right to file a personal injury claim against an alleged drunk driver even if prosecutors and law enforcement officials do not charge a person with DUI or if the person is found not guilty of DUI. It is entirely possible to recover compensation in these situations if a person is not charged or convicted criminally.
The civil court process is different, and you will likely need to have an attorney who can involve themselves, investigate the incident, and obtain evidence to prove the liability of the drunk driver. Fault in these situations generally requires that the following four elements be present:
influence of alcohol or drugs
There is no set amount of money available to drunk driving accident victims in Phoenix. Rather, the total amount of compensation a person receives will vary depending on the facts related to their particular vehicle accident. Some of the main factors that can affect compensation amounts in these cases include the following:
The total compensation paid out for a drunk driving accident claim could range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. A skilled Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney will use the resources to handle every aspect of your claim. They will work with trusted financial and medical experts who can help properly calculate total expected losses and present this information to insurance carriers or a personal injury jury to ensure you recover the compensation that you are entitled to.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of the actions of a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs in Phoenix or the surrounding areas in Arizona, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Arizona, the law defines wrongful death as any death caused “by wrongful act, neglect or default” (Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-611 (2021).
Under these laws, it is entirely possible for individuals to file wrongful death lawsuits after losing a loved one due to the actions of a drunk driver. In this state, the following individuals are permitted to file wrongful death claims in civil court:
Many people think that they are not able to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against an alleged drunk driver who causes them harm if there are criminal charges filed against that individual. However, that is not the case.
Any person who sustains an injury as a result of the actions of an impaired driver will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. It is entirely possible to have a civil personal injury claim going on at the same time that a person faces criminal charges for DUI.
In Arizona, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that accident victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged impaired driver, or they will likely be unable to recover compensation for their losses.
However, we need to point out the importance of filing your injury claim with the insurance carriers as soon as possible. Automobile insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines, and they typically require that they receive notice of the claim within a day or two after the incident occurs. Failing to promptly file an insurance claim could result in the claim being delayed or denied by the insurance carrier.
Information presented by the Arizona Department of Transportation shows there were nearly 100,000 total motor vehicle crashes across the state during the latest reporting year. Out of these incidents, we know that there were 4,506 total alcohol-related crashes reported to the DOT.
When we break down the data pertaining to these alcohol-related crashes, we can see that 181 individuals lost their lives, and 2,863 individuals sustained injuries. When we look at the last five years of data from the state of Arizona, we can see that a significant percentage of all traffic fatalities revolve around alcohol-related incidents.
The DOT further breaks down the total estimated economic losses caused by alcohol-related crashes during the most recent reporting year (2020). These economic costs breakdown as follows:
Most of the alcohol-related crashes that occur in Arizona involve passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. However, many of these alcohol-related incidents involved motorcycles. The data also shows that most alcohol-involved collisions occur at night.
There may be various types of compensation available to injury victims in the aftermath of a drunk driving crash in Phoenix. At Torgenson Law, our team works diligently to recover both “special” and “general” damages on behalf of our clients.
Special damages are also referred to as economic damages, and these refer to the calculable bosses victims sustain after these incidents occur. The most common economic losses after a drunk driving crash include the following:
General damages are also referred to as non-economic damages. These losses revolve around more incalculable types of compensation a person may be entitled to after a drunk driving collision occurs. These are more immeasurable because there may not be any direct bills or receipts that can properly calculate a person’s physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. If a person sustains long-term disabilities, non-economic losses could also refer to a loss of consortium or sexual relations on behalf of a spouse.
It could be the case that the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier try to place some of the blame for the incident on the injury victim. A skilled attorney will work diligently to push back against these accusations of shared liability. However, Arizona does operate under what is called a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that individuals can still recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident. However, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
For example, suppose an individual is rear-ended by a drunk driver and sustains $100,000 worth of medical bills. However, let us also suppose that the injury victim’s brake lights were not functioning properly at the time the incident occurred. In this scenario, it is possible that a jury could find the injury victim partially responsible for the incident. For this hypothetical scenario, let us assume that the jury assigns 30% of the liability to the injury victim. In this case, this individual would receive $70,000 in compensation instead of the full $100,000.
Put yourself in the capable hands of a dedicated Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney. Unless we can win your drunk driving injury case, you will not owe a single legal fee. Schedule your free case evaluation today, online, or by calling (602) 726-0747.