Locals and tourists alike often head to Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, to visit the many bars and nightclubs in that area. However, when drivers choose to get behind the wheel of a car or truck after having too much to drink, they put the lives of all other motor vehicle drivers on the roadway at risk.
No matter whether the intoxicated driver is in Downtown Phoenix or driving on an interstate highway, such as I-40, I-410, I-510, or I-710, the driver can potentially do a lot of damage. Also, since drunk driving accidents very often happen at high rates of speed, accident victims can suffer serious and debilitating injuries that require significant medical treatment and attention.
If you have suffered an injury in a Phoenix motor vehicle collision that a drunk driver caused, you have legal options that are open and available to you. A knowledgeable Phoenix drunk driving accident lawyer can assist you with filing a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company that seeks monetary compensation and damages.
Your attorney can also assist you with negotiating a favorable settlement offer to resolve your case favorably, and if necessary, filing a lawsuit and litigating your case in the Arizona court system. Your lawyer can explain all of your options to you in clear and easy-to-understand terms, allowing you to make an informed decision that will have the best chance of success in your case.
Legal Standard for Drunk Driving in Arizona
Because of the dangers associated with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a person who is found guilty or convicted of this offense can be subject to various criminal penalties, ranging from fines and a period of license suspension to jail time.
In Arizona, the law considers a person who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher to be under the influence of alcohol per se. Even when a driver has a lower BAC, alcohol can still impair them to the extent that it would be unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.
Regulatory agencies hold commercial motor vehicle operators and others to a higher standard of care than ordinary drivers. Commercial operators—including the operators of large trucks, tractor-trailers, and big rigs—drive vehicles for a living. Therefore, they owe the public a higher duty of care while they are on the road.
The BAC cutoff for commercial drivers in Arizona is 0.04 percent. Minors—or individuals under 21 years of age—are not permitted to have any alcohol whatsoever in their systems while operating a motor vehicle. Thus, there is a zero-tolerance policy in effect for underage drivers.
In a criminal DUI case, prosecutors must satisfy their burden ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Assuming the prosecutor satisfies his or her legal burden, or if the drunk driver agrees to plead guilty to the drunk driving charge, a judge will be left to sentence the drunk driver to one or more criminal penalties. In addition to these criminal penalties, the drunk driver (and/or the drunk driver’s motor vehicle insurance company) can be subject to a civil claim for damages if the driver caused an accident and one or more people were injured.
If you have suffered an injury in a motor vehicle collision that a drunk driver caused, you may have legal options available. An experienced Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney can explain to you what those options are and can assist you throughout the claims-filing and litigation processes. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you pursue all of the monetary compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
How Alcohol Intoxication Impairs a Driver’s Abilities
Alcohol intoxication can significantly impact an accident victim’s sensory abilities, including the ability to operate a motor vehicle carefully and safely while out on the roadway. First of all, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can slow down a driver’s reaction time. For example, the driver may not react to an emergency and slow his/her vehicle down in time to avoid colliding with another motor vehicle. Alcohol intoxication can also impair a driver’s vision, making it blurry. Finally, alcohol intoxication can significantly impair a driver’s judgment while operating a vehicle on the road.
If a drunk driver caused your motor vehicle accident and injuries, you might be eligible for monetary compensation. A Phoenix drunk driving accident lawyer can assist you with taking legal action against the drunk driver and filing a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company for monetary compensation and damages.
Common Motor Vehicle Accidents that Drunk Drivers cause
Motor vehicle operators who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs can speed, careen out of control, cross a centerline, or drive off the road. Any of these maneuvers can lead to a serious accident that causes other drivers and passengers to suffer serious injuries. Some of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents that drunk drivers cause include the following:
A head-on collision occurs when the front of one motor vehicle forcefully strikes the front of an oncoming motor vehicle, often leading to serious and sometimes fatal injuries. These accidents sometimes happen when a drunk driver veers or careens out of his or her lane—and into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle.
A sideswipe collision occurs when one vehicle brushes against the side of another vehicle, frequently on a busy multi-lane highway. When a driver is severely intoxicated, he or she can lose control of the car, or the driver’s blurry vision might cause the vehicle to drift inadvertently into another lane of travel, causing a collision.
In a rear-end-type accident, the front of one vehicle strikes the rear of another vehicle. These vehicles are common at traffic intersections, but they can also occur on busy highways and other roadways. When a driver is intoxicated, he or she might be driving too fast. When that happens, the drunk driver might not stop the vehicle in time to avoid a collision.
In a typical T-bone accident, the front of one vehicle forcefully strikes the side of another vehicle. This can cause the vehicle to spin around 360 degrees in the middle of the roadway, or the vehicle can overturn. These accidents sometimes occur when drunk drivers lose control of their vehicles near an intersection—or try to run a red light or stop sign—striking a vehicle that is moving in a perpendicular direction.
If you have suffered an injury in one of these types of motor vehicle accidents that a drugged or intoxicated driver caused, a knowledgeable Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney can help. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the accident, and if necessary, get an accident reconstructionist on board in your case. Once your lawyer confirms that you are eligible to bring a case, he or she can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf that seeks monetary compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
It is very common for drunk driving accidents in Phoenix to occur totally out of the blue and with significant force. When these accidents happen, drivers and passengers can suffer extremely serious, debilitating, and sometimes fatal injuries.
At the point of impact, the impact can move the driver or passenger’s body around and about the interior of the vehicle and may even strike something in the vehicle, such as the headrest, front console, dashboard, window, or steering wheel, resulting in one or more serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries that victims of Phoenix drunk driving accidents suffer can include spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, traumatic head or brain injuries, and bone fractures.
When a driver or passenger suffers one or more of these injuries, he or she may need to seek extensive medical treatment, resulting in mounting medical bills. For example, the accident victim will typically need to seek care at a hospital emergency room immediately following the accident. After this initial treatment, the drunk driving accident victim may need to follow up with an orthopedist or other specialist, along with a primary care doctor. In addition, the accident victim may need to undergo surgery or other medical procedure, most especially if he or she suffered a broken bone in the accident.
Finally, the accident victim may need to attend physical therapy appointments and do home therapy exercises to fully recover from his or her injuries. Fortunately, all related medical treatment that you undergo following your drunk driving accident is compensable as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit that you file.
If you or a person you love has suffered an injury in a motor vehicle collision that a drunk driver caused, a Phoenix drunk driving accident lawyer can assist. Your lawyer can focus his or her attention on getting you compensated for the injuries you suffered in your accident. If the drunk driver’s insurance company is not willing to offer you sufficient compensation, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and litigating the case in the Arizona state court system.
Proving a Phoenix Drunk Driving Accident Case
Victims of drunk driving accidents in Phoenix have the legal burden of proof in any personal injury case that they file. Under most circumstances, accident victims must demonstrate that another driver behaved unreasonably and irresponsibly, resulting in a motor vehicle collision. Car accident victims also need to demonstrate that they suffered one or more injuries in the accident and that these injuries came about as a result of the accident.
In some drunk driving motor vehicle accident cases, the drunk driver’s insurance company will admit or stipulate liability in the accident. This means that the insurance company is admitting fault on the part of the drunk driver. However, even if there is a stipulation as to liability, the accident victim will still need to demonstrate that he or she suffered an injury and that the injury occurred because of the accident.
A knowledgeable Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney can help you prove the legal elements of your claim for your case to succeed. Your attorney can then pursue monetary compensation for the injuries and damages that you suffered in your accident.
Recovering Monetary Compensation From a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Phoenix
Victims of drunk driving accidents can suffer an injury in a variety of ways. Depending upon the severity of those injuries, the medical treatment received, and whether or not the injuries were permanent, an accident victim can recover monetary compensation.
Some of the most important types of monetary compensation that a drunk driving accident victim can recover include the costs of medical bills and replacement lost wages. Accident victims can also pursue compensation for any related out-of-pocket costs and expenses.
In addition, victims of serious motor vehicle collisions caused by a drunk driver can receive compensation for emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, inconvenience, and permanency.
A knowledgeable Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney can pursue these types of monetary compensation, along with other possible damages, on your behalf. Your lawyer will first attempt to recover these items of damage by way of a favorable monetary settlement.
However, suppose the insurance company is being difficult and refuses to offer you sufficient compensation. In that case, your attorney can file a lawsuit and litigate the case in the Arizona state court system to a favorable conclusion.
Call an Experienced Phoenix Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you have suffered an injury in a motor vehicle collision that a drunk driver caused, reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Drunk driving accident victims only have a limited period following their accidents to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
A skilled Phoenix drunk driving accident attorney can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf in a timely and efficient manner, pursue a monetary settlement, and, if necessary, litigate your case in court to a favorable conclusion.
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