What to Do If Injured By a Drunk Driver
Despite strict drunk driving laws, getting in a car accident with a DUI driver is common in Arizona and across America. Unfortunately, accidents involving drunk drivers can lead to serious life-changing injuries or even death. The injuries may leave you unable to work while requiring lengthy and often costly medical treatment.
However, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries in an accident where the other driver was under the influence. As the injured party, you can sue the offender in a personal injury lawsuit or seek an out-of-court settlement with their insurance company. Accordingly, it is important to understand your rights as a driver or a passenger injured by a drunk driver.
If a drunk driver has injured you or a loved one in Arizona, a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Barry Bellovin of the Bellovin Law Firm, PLLC will defend your rights while helping you recover compensation for your injuries.
DUI Laws in Arizona
In Arizona, the court will convict any driver found operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants, including having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.08%. Arizona’s ‘zero tolerance’ DUI laws prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from drinking and driving regardless of BAC. The law also prohibits commercial drivers from driving with a BAC of over 0.04%.
In Arizona, any person found guilty of a DUI offense risks various criminal penalties, including monetary fines and court fees, license suspension, and jail time. The court can also require the offender to install a mandatory ignition interlock device on their car. However, the severity of the DUI penalties depends on the circumstances of the accident, including;
- BAC levels
- The driver’s age, whether under or over 21
- Presence of a child in the vehicle
- Type of injuries sustained by the victims
- Previous DUI convictions
Besides the criminal penalties, a drunk driver may also be liable for physical injuries and property damage in a civil lawsuit.
What to Do If Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident
Following an accident where the other motorist was under the influence, you should:
- Call the police. You should immediately call the police and report the accident and your suspicion of drunk driving by the other driver. Typically, a delay by the police to arrive at the scene allows the offender’s BAC to decrease. Additionally, calling the police alerts other emergency personnel to arrive on time for any necessary medical treatment.
- Observe the other driver’s behavior. Keep an eye on the offender immediately after the accident, including their actions and words. Typically, some drunk drivers may try to destroy any incriminating evidence, including alcohol bottles. Report such behavior to the police.
- Document the accident through photos or videos. You should photograph the accident scene, including property damages and physical injuries. The images serve as evidence while seeking compensation from insurance companies or in a personal injury case. You should also get the contact information of witnesses to the accident.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. You should not talk to the insurance companies before consulting an attorney. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney will help you navigate the complex recovery process and get you the compensation you deserve.
While it is critical to follow the necessary steps in pursuit of justice and fair compensation, you should prioritize your health. If your injuries do not allow you to take the advice listed above immediately, you can always do so later or through your attorney. Let your lawyer handle the legal requirements, including filing a personal injury lawsuit as you focus on your recovery.
Contact an Arizona Personal Injury Lawyer
While you can pursue an out-of-court settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, coverage for drunk driving accidents is often complex. Besides the related DUI conviction, other factors, including the severity of your injuries, are also likely to affect the amount of compensation you will receive. Also, the bar, restaurant, or server may also be liable under Arizona’s Dram Shop Law. However, a skilled Arizona personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities while ensuring you get fair compensation.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident in Arizona, don’t worry. Barry Bellovin of the Bellovin Law Firm will guide you through the legal process and help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Contact him today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about his other services.