As we approach New Year’s, many people will celebrate by consuming alcohol. However, this means an increased risk of drunk driving and potential accidents. If you find yourself the victim of a drunk driver, then know your rights so that you or your loved one has a full and successful recovery.
Know the Parties You Can Hold Responsible
Did you know that more than one party can be accountable for your injuries in a drunk driving accident? Discover what parties you might need to hold responsible if you decide to pursue compensation for your injuries.
The Drunk Driver
The person who actually drove the car and was intoxicated is a person that you can likely hold accountable. After all, they made the decision to get in the car, thus causing the accident and your injuries.
The Dram Shop
A dram shop is any establishment that sells alcohol. This can include stores, bars, and restaurants. However, you cannot just expect that the dram shop is automatically responsible. You have to establish that the dram shop sold alcohol to a visually intoxicated person. Visually intoxicated people likely have demonstrated behaviors such as slurred speech, swaying or off-balanced walking, or vomiting.
If a dram shop employee did indeed sell alcohol to a visually intoxicated person, then the dram shop could be liable for your injuries.
The Social Host
In Arizona, social hosts of parties that have alcohol are not often responsible for alcohol-related injuries and incidents. However, a social host can be responsible for drunk-driving injuries if the person who was drunk is underage.
Know the Damages You Can Pursue
You can seek compensation for a variety of damages after a drunk driving accident. The damages you pursue often depend on the type or variety of injuries you incurred.
Even if you had minor injuries, you likely want to seek medical attention after an accident to ensure you have no hidden wounds. As this can cost money, you can seek compensation for any type of medical bills such as hospital stays, doctors’ fees, and therapy costs.
Lost Earnings or Earning Capacity
If your injuries make you miss work, then you have the right to seek compensation for lost earnings. Also, if your injuries have disabled you where you can no longer work, work at the earning capacity you did before, or work the number of hours previous to the accident, then you can often get compensation for lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
The trauma of the accident and the injuries afterward can sometimes bring emotional pain and scarring. While pain and suffering does not come with an exact monetary value, an attorney can help determine what pain and suffering damages you can pursue.
For families who have lost their loved one due to a drunk driver, wrongful death damages come into play. Wrongful death damages often cover funeral expenses, including burial or cremation costs.
Besides your injuries to yourself or any passengers, your car might have sustained considerable damage or was even totaled because of the accident. Compensation for property damage could help cover the costs of car repair or car replacement. Additionally, damaged personal property inside the vehicle might be covered as well.
Punitive damages are meant to ensure the drunk driver understands what they did was wrong. In Arizona, punitive damages are rewardable only if you can prove that the drunk driver did wrong with an “evil mind,” which means that they knew they were making a decision that could harm people. An attorney can help you understand if you should seek punitive damages.
Know the Statute of Limitations for Your Accident
To ensure you have a case that upholds in court, you need to know the time you have to pursue that case. In Arizona, personal injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years. This also is the time limit for wrongful death and property damage cases as well.
Know the Attorneys You Can Turn To
Whether you or a loved one received injuries because of a drunk driving accident, you need an attorney on your side. You need an advocate who will know what to do next legally while you rest and recover. While this time might be emotionally trying for you, you can have peace of mind knowing that you will have the compensation you need to have a successful and full recovery.
At Garrison Law Firm, we want to help you pursue your right to compensation. We will learn the particulars of your case, gather the necessary evidence, pursue all accountable parties, and do everything in our power to get the full and fair settlement you deserve. Contact us today for your free legal consultation. We look forward to speaking with you and answering all your questions.