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Why You Need an Injury Attorney After Being the Victim of a DUI Crash

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jun 29, 2021 in Local

daytime shot of road sign warning to report drunk driversWhile it is important that drunk drivers be held accountable by the criminal justice system, it is also important they be held financially accountable to the victim of the crash or the victim’s family. Criminal charges will not result in you receiving compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

That is why victims should strongly consider meeting with an experienced DUI attorney in Phoenix to discuss their options for pursuing compensation. Phillips Law Group has secured hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients, many of whom were injured in crashes.

Proving a drunk driving case can be more difficult than you think. Securing full compensation can also be difficult on your own, as those who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who do not.

How Civil and Criminal Cases Differ

The criminal justice system is designed to provide due process to those accused of crimes and, if someone is found guilty, punish them in accordance with state and/or federal law.

Those convicted of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more face a variety of severe penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). The penalties for a first-time conviction for DUI are as follows:

  • Between 24 hours and 10 days in jail
  • Fine of $250
  • License suspension between 90 days and one year
  • Being required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle

The severity of the penalties increases with each subsequent offense.

It is important to note courts often order drunk drivers to pay restitution for losses that directly resulted from the accident. For example, drunk drivers may be ordered by the court to cover the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and other economic damages.

However, it can be very difficult to collect restitution and it may take a significant amount of time. Courts cannot order drunk drivers to pay more than they can afford each month, which means you would not receive compensation all at once. The defendant may not earn much money because his or her drunk conviction may limit his or her employment opportunities.

Restitution does not cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life and lost companionship. Compensation for these damages is only available through a personal injury claim.

The licensed attorneys at Phillips Law Group are prepared to help you pursue full compensation for your losses. We have decades of combined experience and a track record of success. You do not need to try to manage the complex legal process on your own. Phillips Law Group is prepared to advocate for your best interests, and we are prepared to take cases to court when necessary. 

Can I Pursue a Civil and Criminal Case?

Yes, you have the right to pursue both types of cases. Under state law, a judge awarding restitution does not preclude someone from filing a separate civil action and proving the value of his or her damages exceeds the amount of the restitution order.

Another aspect of this law to keep in mind is that an award in a civil case cannot be offset by a restitution award in a criminal case. In other words, if you were awarded $100,000 in restitution but filed a civil case for $250,000, you could receive all $250,000 if your case is successful. Your civil award would not be reduced by the value of your restitution award.

These are complex issues you can discuss with one of the licensed attorneys at Phillips Law Group.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Responsibility for DUI Crashes?

Arizona requires at-fault drivers to cover the damages suffered by crash victims. At-fault drivers usually turn to their car insurance policies to pay these damages. However, car insurance policies typically have exclusions for intentional conduct.

That raises questions about whether insurance companies can deny responsibility for a drunk driving crash. The insurance company may claim the at-fault driver intentionally got drunk and got behind the wheel. The insurance company may say the driver should have known this was extremely dangerous.

However, it can be difficult to prove an at-fault driver’s actions were intentional. This may be particularly true if you are represented by an experienced attorney who knows how to counter these types of claims.

This is another reason why it is so important to seek out experienced legal representation. If an insurance company is dealing with an attorney who often takes cases to court and has a track record of success, they may be more willing to negotiate to get this situation behind them.

Can the Bar/Establishment That Served the Driver Face Liability?

It may be possible to hold a bar, restaurant or other establishment liable for a drunk driving crash. However, your attorney would need to prove the driver was served alcohol when he or she was obviously intoxicated or was under legal drinking age.

Establishing liability under this section of Arizona’s Revised Statutes is a difficult task that is best left up to an experienced lawyer.  

Need Legal Help After a Crash? Call Phillips Law Group

One of the most important steps you can take after a crash is to find an experienced attorney to represent you. You need a knowledgeable attorney to help you determine your options and advocate for your best interests.

Insurance companies regularly deny and devalue claims and even try to assign fault to victims. The attorneys at Phillips Law Group are prepared for these things and know how to build strong cases for crash victims.

We take cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees, and we are not paid unless you receive compensation.

Phillips Law Group. No upfront fees. No risk. Call 1-800-706-3000.

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