Phoenix Drunk Accident Lawyer – Claim Your Benefits
In 2018 there were a total of 4,651 alcohol-related auto accidents in the state of Arizona, with 47% of these accidents resulting in death or injury. Getting hit by an intoxicated driver can be one of the worst experiences anyone has to go through. Because the judgment and reactions of someone driving under the influence of alcohol can be severely impaired, these auto accidents can often result in horrific injuries.
If you or a loved one have been hit by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Meeting with a Phoenix drunk accident lawyer can ensure you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve to cover lost wages, medical expenses, and more.
What to Do Immediately Following an Auto Accident
If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident as the result of a drunk driver, then you may not be able to do more than call 911 and wait until help arrives. However, if you can get out of your vehicle, there are some things you must do to protect your case and ensure you hold the negligent party responsible.
Play it Safe
Safety should be your number one priority during this time. If you’re able to, move your vehicle off the road and activate your hazards. Check on the passengers in your vehicle to see if anyone is injured or in shock.
If first responders have not arrived at this point, check on the other driver and their passengers to see if anyone is injured. Call 911 to report the accident. If the drunk driver is acting erratically or aggressively, get back in your vehicle. Make sure you take down their license plate number. If they flee the scene, avoid following them.
Make sure you allow first responders to evaluate you and your passengers once they arrive.
Gather Any Legal Evidence to Build your Case
Use the camera on your phone to take photos of any damage to your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and any injuries. Be sure to take videos or pictures that would provide evidence of intoxication, such as trouble talking, difficulty walking or standing, and unusual behavior. Look for other types of evidence that may have contributed to the crash, such as unsafe road conditions. Take photographs of any skid marks or debris in the road.
Write down the vehicle’s make and model and the contact information of any witnesses.
Avoid Engaging with the Drunk Driver
While it’s important to be attentive to the drunk driver’s behavior, you’ll want to avoid interacting with them, if possible. If they are behaving unpredictably, you don’t want to escalate the situation.
Attend the Drunk Driver’s Criminal Trial
While most people accused of drunk driving will plead guilty or agree to a lesser charge, some will decide to fight in court. You may be required to attend the trial in the event there are criminal proceedings. If there is a trial, you will be subpoenaed to appear. If you fail to appear you may be found in contempt of court.
Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm
Filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver can be a complicated process. Contacting a Phoenix personal injury law firm as soon as possible following an accident will be crucial. An attorney can help gather and preserve evidence.
Can I File a Lawsuit if the Drunk Driver Was Found Guilty in a Criminal Trial?
Since driving under the influence is illegal, the police will be involved in a case. A criminal trial may be held if the other party has been arrested for a DUI. But an accident victim shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that a criminal trial will be for their benefit. This type of trial is to hold the guilty party accountable and enforce the law. A conviction for a DUI could potentially result in jail time and hefty fines, but it will not result in any type of financial compensation for the victim’s injuries and damages.
Hiring a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
To receive compensation, you must retain a phoenix accident attorney and file a lawsuit in civil court. With a civil case, you can seek financial compensation for injuries and for the many ways your life has been impacted by the accident.
The Right to File a Lawsuit After a Drunk Driving Accident
An accident victim has the right to hire a Phoenix drunk driving accident lawyer and file a lawsuit against the driver that hit them. However, this right can expire after two years. The injured party must file a lawsuit within two years of being injured or their case can be thrown out of court.
DUI Auto Accidents & Wrongful Death
If a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, a family member may also have the right to sue on the behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Do I Need a Lawyer? Seek legal advise
Drunk driving is against the law. Because of this, you have the legal right to pursue compensation from the driver that caused the accident. A trusted attorney with knowledge in the field of drunk driving accidents can help you with the legal process and can get you the maximum compensation possible. The damages, or compensation, that you will receive from the accident can come in the form of special damages and general damages. General damages are paid to compensate the victim for mental and physical pain and suffering, while special damages will pay for out of pocket fees such as lost income, medical bills, and other types of financial losses. Together, these are referred to as compensatory damages. Punitive damages may also be offered to deter the defendant from putting other people in danger in the future.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies
After the accident, you should be prepared to receive a call from the defendant’s insurance company. Without a lawyer by your side, someone with experience and knowledge of the law, you may end up accepting a lowball settlement. The insurance company’s goal is to settle the claim fast, paying as little as possible. To avoid a costly, lengthy trial, many insurance companies will offer a monetary settlement. Keep in mind, an insurance company isn’t working for you. They do not have your best interest in mind and only want to avoid paying a large settlement, should you take the drunk driver to court. It’s best to avoid speaking with an insurance company if at all possible. If you do speak to them, do not make a statement and do not agree to settle anything before you speak with an accident lawyer.
If you already have a lawyer, you can tell the insurance company to contact your attorney.
If the drunk driver was driving without insurance, you may be allowed to bring a claim against your own insurance company for the damages. Underinsured motorist coverage will protect the injured party from people who drive without insurance and will offer financial assistance when the other party is uninsured.
Let a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Handle Negotiations
Even if it seems like the settlement from the insurance company is reasonable, the accident victim needs to meet with a qualified attorney to ensure that they’re being compensated fairly. Some expenses, including future medical care, will not be factored into the settlement offered by the insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company isn’t even aware of the extent of the victim’s injuries, so how can they make a fair offer that will cover past, present, and future medical expenses and loss of wages?
This is why legal representation is crucial. Only an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies can guarantee the maximum possible compensation.
Recover Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident in Phoenix
After the driver has been charged with driving under the influence, the victim will have more evidence for their civil case, which will help them to get the compensation they deserve. Determining the amount of compensation deserved can be very complicated, but with the help of an experienced attorney, non-economic damages can be accurately estimated.
With this type of case, the victim must count everything that they have lost due to the negligence of the drunk driver. The driver’s actions may have left the victim mentally traumatized and badly injured.
A Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney will work to get the victim as much money as possible for their injury claim. They will also help the victim assess all of the ways that their injuries have impacted their bank account and quality of life, such as:
- Current and future medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost income
- The cost to retrofit their home to accommodate their injuries
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Travel expenses
- Any other type of loss that is directly related to the accident
Overserving alcohol can be considered negligent. In Arizona, under the Dram Shop Laws, a licensee that overserves alcohol to a minor or a person who is obviously intoxicated, can be held responsible for serious injuries or drunk driving wrongful deaths. A business is expected to exercise due care and to not continue to serve a person who is already intoxicated.
Questions a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Will Ask
- What was the defendant’s blood alcohol level?
- Where was the defendant drinking prior to the accident?
- Was the alcohol served by a third party such as a drinking establishment or a social host?
- Does the defendant have a medical condition that can impact their judgment when combined with alcohol use?
- Does the defendant have a low tolerance for alcohol?
- Is there proof that the defendant left or arrived at the place of drinking in a vehicle?
How an Attorney can Prove Negligence in a Phoenix Drunk Driving Accident
When a person has been hit by a drunk driver and files a lawsuit, one of the best pieces of evidence for their case will be the DUI conviction of the driver. While the criminal trial will often take priority in the eyes of the court, the victim will have their chance to file, regardless. An attorney will know what type of evidence is needed, including the police report, documentation from the drunk driver’s criminal trial, documentation regarding medical treatment, lost wages, and other crucial information. It’s the attorney’s job to prove the driver was negligent. With this type of crucial evidence, the plaintiff can anticipate winning a larger settlement.
Contact a Phoenix Accident Lawyer Today for a Case Evaluation
When you’ve suffered losses due to a drunk driver, you deserve compensation. While a DUI conviction can help you feel as though justice has been served, you must still hold the guilty party responsible. The lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group can help you build a solid case to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages at work, and more. With decades of experience in this area of the law, the lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group can provide you with the type of legal advice and guidance you need to win your case and earn a large settlement.
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