Phoenix Drunk Driver Accident Attorney
It is no surprise that Drunk Driving (DUI/DWI) accidents cause tens of thousands of injuries and deaths each year. It is considered the single most dangerous condition on the roadways. When an impaired driver gets behind the wheel, the consequences can be dire. You can be as cautious as possible, sober and aware, and still be the victim of an accident caused by a driver under the influence. If you have suffered property damage or injury as a result, you need an advocate like the Phoenix Drunk Driver Accident Attorneys at the Law Offices of Joel W. Black, LLC. We are experienced litigators in Phoenix personal injury accidents.
Who Is Responsible
If you have been in an accident and the police have established that alcohol may be involved, there different sources of possible liability. Here are some of the most common:
The Drunk Driver
When a person gets behind the wheel of an automobile after they have been drinking, there exists an obvious presumption of negligence. This is subject to proving that the driver is legally intoxicated and that they caused or contributed to the accident. A police officer will conduct a field sobriety test and/or submit the driver to a breathalyzer test. If the driver refuses, they will automatically lose their license for one year, even if they are not convicted of DUI. A warrant can be issued to legally force a suspect to submit to a blood draw at the local law enforcement institution or medical facility.
When investigating an accident, and in the course and scope of determining liability, it may be discovered that an Arizona restaurant, bar, or another establishment served (or overserved) the driver when it was apparent the driver was already intoxicated or became intoxicated during their time there.
If this is the case, under Arizona Revised Statute § 4-311(D), a licensed restaurant or bar can be held liable. This is called Dram Shop Law and the following conditions, in part, must be present:
- The establishment sold liquor to an individual who was obviously intoxicated
- The individual consumed the alcohol purchased
- The alcohol consumption was the proximate cause of injury or property damage
Who Cannot Be Held Responsible
Homeowners or Party Hosts
In some states, homeowners or the host(s) of a social gathering can be held criminally or civilly liable if the host knowingly provided alcohol to a guest after he or she was clearly intoxicated, and that guest went on to operate an automobile and caused an accident where injury or death resulted. Unfortunately for victims of DUI accidents in Arizona, a “social host” cannot be made liable for one of his/her guests who drinks (even to extreme excess) and then causes an accident after leaving the party. There are a couple of exceptions as noted below:
- If the social host is licensed to sell or provide alcoholic beverages, that person can be held responsible, like any bar or restaurant.
- If the intoxicated person is under the legal drinking age and was provided alcohol by the social host, they can be held liable.
Know Your Rights
Arizona law allows victims of another party’s negligence or careless action the right to file claims for injury and damage against that responsible person or persons. These suits are intended to provide the means by which an injured individual or surviving family member is compensated for damages such as medical bills, property repair or replacement, pain and suffering, and lost income, just to name a few.
Navigating a personal injury claim can be confusing and complicated. Additionally, there are laws that pose strict deadlines on filing and stipulate who can actually bring about a claim. You need help sorting things out and getting answers to your questions. That is where the Law Offices of Joel W. Black comes in. We are experienced Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys who are dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to injured victims. We vow to treat our clients with the utmost dignity and respect. Our team understands how a drunk driving accident can impact your daily life.
Once you contact our office for representation, we will get started immediately investigating the accident, identifying and deposing witnesses to the accident, collecting and preserving pertinent evidence, and filing the appropriate legal documents to get your claim moving. You have enough to worry about right now. Contact our office today at (602) 277-1393 and let our compassionate legal professionals be your voice and get you justice.