Arizona DUI Accident Lawyers Fighting for Justifiable Compensation
Driving under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant is a decision that’s never positive. Everyone in Arizona understands that this conduct is illegal, and the state legislature has enacted very stiff penalties for those who are convicted of this crime. Unfortunately, this reality does not prevent people from becoming intoxicated and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, putting both themselves and everyone around them at risk.
Below you’ll find information regarding some basic statistics in terms of DUI in Arizona, the types of damages that could be successfully sought by someone who’s been injured by an intoxicated driver in Arizona and finally how you should proceed if you or someone you love has been harmed by someone driving under the influence of an intoxicant in Arizona.
Arizona DUI Accident Statistics
Arizona is like almost every other jurisdiction in that it has been home to an intense public relations and public safety campaign designed to lower the number of instances in which someone ingests an intoxicant and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. Public service announcements, television and radio commercials and the like have been saturating all forms of media in furtherance of this effort.
Unfortunately, this effort even when combined with the tough DUI laws that have been passed in Arizona in recent years has not prevented too many problems from arising. Tragically, approximately 300 people are killed every year in Arizona by someone who was too intoxicated to have been driving, and another 15,000 people are injured in the same situation.
Damages Available for Those Injured in a DUI Accident
When someone is arrested for DUI and causes injuries or fatalities, that person will likely face legal problems on two different fronts. Police and prosecutors will doubtlessly pursue a conviction for sometimes serious charges in criminal court, including vehicular manslaughter if someone is killed as a result of these actions. Even if no one is killed but someone is injured, a convicted defendant can face substantial fines and lengthy terms of incarceration depending on the circumstances that surround the case.
When someone is convicted in criminal court for DUI or DUI-related charges, it can strengthen any civil claim for personal injury that’s made by parties who were injured or worse by that defendant. One of the reasons is that the burden of proof is much higher in criminal court than in civil court, as criminal defendants must have the case proven against them beyond a reasonable doubt. This provides strong evidence that the defendant was negligent in the least if or when a civil claim for damages is filed.
Given the severity of this situation, there are additional forms of damages that can be available to someone who files a claim against a driver who was intoxicated when he or she caused the injuries or fatalities. Below is a brief look at some of these damages.
Compensatory damages are generally available in any personal injury case. These damages are designed to ‘compensate’ the plaintiff or to make him or her whole as much as possible. For instance, any costs incurred by the plaintiff that include medical costs, ongoing treatment and medication costs, lost income and other financial suffering inflicted upon the plaintiff by the defendant can be recovered. In addition, the plaintiff can recover damages for pain and suffering in compensation for the lowered quality of life the plaintiff must endure.
Given the obvious recklessness involved with driving while intoxicated, some civil cases for personal injury claims will allow for the pursuit of punitive damages, particularly if the defendant had a blood alcohol content (BAC) that was extremely high. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and to provide some sort of award for a plaintiff who has suffered as a result of extremely faulty conduct on the part of the defendant.
Third Party Damages
When someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver in Arizona, the defendant driver may not be the only party who could be liable for damages. Arizona law allows for plaintiffs to name drinking establishments as defendants in some of these cases. This legal norm is sometimes referred to as a ‘Dram Shop Act,’ and they are designed to hold these establishments accountable for serving alcohol to someone who clearly has already had too much to drink.
How an Arizona DUI Accident Lawyer Can Help
Being injured by a drunk driver is not only extremely painful and stressful, but pursuing your legal rights can also be very complicated given the number of different parties who could be liable for such actions. If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of being harmed by a drunk driver, contact the Arizona DUI accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.