Can You Receive Compensation from a Drunk Driving Accident?
Each year, drunk drivers cause over 5,000 accidents on Arizona roads. As everyone should know, alcohol impairs a driver’s performance. Motorists cannot process information quickly, have delayed reflexes, and make poor decisions behind the wheel. The innocent people they hurt often end up in the back of the ambulance with serious injuries because these collisions happened at high speeds.
If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you probably feel a justifiable sense of outrage. Everyone knows the dangers of drunk driving, yet thousands of people drive down the highway after drinking too much. The good news is that you can possibly sue the driver and others for compensation for your injuries. It is possible to hold them accountable for their behavior. Contact Karnas Law Firm, PLLC to find out how.
Evidence You Need to Bring a Claim
Driving while intoxicated is the type of reckless conduct that makes the driver legally liable when they plow into someone. To make a strong claim, we will need evidence that the driver struck you as well as the fact that they were intoxicated or high.
You can establish the accident happened with witness testimony, including your own. Also remember to call the police following a crash so that an officer can visit the scene and create a crash report.
How do you prove a driver was drunk? If you called the police, they probably arrested the driver and had him or her take a chemical test. We can use the results to establish the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This type of evidence is highly persuasive. We might also rely on witness testimony that there were beer bottles in the car or that the driver had slurred speech and stumbled while walking.
Possible Compensation for Your Injuries
As with other car accidents, you should seek full compensation for:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Medical bills to treat your injuries
- Future medical care for permanent injuries
- Lost income if your injuries keep you out of work
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Many drunk drivers are speeding in the moments before a collision. Consequently, the damage tends to be much more significant than with other wrecks. We have had clients suffer catastrophic injuries when involved in a crash with a drunk driver. They might be paralyzed or suffer a severe traumatic brain injury. It can take them years to fully recover from their injuries, and others have never fully recovered.
In addition to compensatory damages, you might request punitive damages. These are damages designed to punish the defendant for acting reprehensibly. You can’t request them in every car accident case, but you can if either of the following is true:
- The driver exhibited ill will and intentionally injured you, or
- The driver knew his actions were highly likely to hurt someone but went ahead anyway.
A person should know that driving after drinking is highly dangerous and will likely result in serious injuries. Someone who chooses to drive nonetheless should face punishment. For this reason, we can often request punitive damages in a lawsuit against an intoxicated driver.
Dram Shop Claims
With drunk driving crashes, we might also be able to sue any establishment that sold alcohol to the driver. Under Arizona Statutes 4-311, an establishment has liability if they sold liquor to someone who was obviously intoxicated or underage. A person would be obviously intoxicated when they look uncoordinated or dysfunctional due to alcohol.
Here is an example: a person comes stumbling into a bar and reeks of alcohol. Although the patron is obviously drunk, the bar sells them two drinks. The person then leaves the bar and crashes into you on their way home. Under these facts, you can sue both the driver and the bar that served him.
Dram shop laws like Arizona’s provide critical rights to victims of impaired drivers. You should consult with an attorney. If the driver hit you was uninsured, or if you have massive medical bills, then this type of claim is crucial to receiving fair compensation.
We Hold Drunk Drivers Accountable
The weeks following a drunk driving crash are confusing. Many people have no idea what happened. They might not even know that the driver was intoxicated when they are bundled into the ambulance.
Please contact Karnas Law today. Our legal team excels at investigating claims and seeking compensation from all liable parties. It is possible to come back from a drunk driving accident with the right lawyer, so contact us today to learn more.