As it is in most states, it is illegal in Arizona to physically control or drive a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s possible to get a DUI even if you aren’t driving; if you’re doing anything that can be interpreted as taking physical control of the vehicle, you can still be charged with a DUI. Arizona considers a DUI to be equivalent to a violent crime. Therefore, penalties for this type of behavior may be viewed as particularly harsh when compared to more laid-back DUI laws in states like California.
Despite its harsh approach to DUIs, there are still thousands of DUI-related crashes in Arizona each year. If you are ever injured in a DUI accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights and what your next steps should be. Here are key things you should know about DUI crashes and how you should deal with injuries caused by them.
What Is a DUI Accident?
A car accident that’s classified as a DUI involves at least one person who operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and caused a car crash. If a crash occurs and one of the drivers involved shows a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater when tested, the driver faces legal penalties for driving under the influence.
In some cases, drivers may be found guilty of causing a DUI accident even if the tested concentration of blood or alcohol shows less than 0.8%. In drivers under the age of 21, for example, any amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal and can lead to license suspension.
However, what if you’re not under the influence of any drug when you’re involved in a car accident, but the other person is? What should you do if your injuries require you to go to the hospital or receive ongoing medical treatments? It is vital to understand what you should do to make sure you get the treatment and compensation you deserve in this unfortunate situation.
What Should You Do After Getting Involved in a DUI Accident in Arizona?
The first thing to do after being involved in any type of car accident is to assess your injuries and the injuries of any of your passengers. If any injuries are serious, your primary focus should be to call 911 or flag down help. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be transported to the closest emergency room for immediate treatment.
If you have not sustained life-threatening injuries, call for emergency help and give aid to anyone else involved who has been injured in the DUI accident. Be careful not to move any injured person unless leaving them where they are will almost certainly result in further injury or death (such as if a person is trapped in a vehicle that’s on fire).
Once you’ve taken steps to ensure your physical safety and the safety of the other parties involved in the accident, it’s important to fill out a police report. You must fill out this report as accurately as you possibly can because it may be used later in legal proceedings.
You should also write down and take pictures of the following:
- The accident scene
- Any damage or injuries caused by the accident
- The VINs of all vehicles involved
- The names and contact information of any witnesses
- The driver’s insurance and contact information
- The license plate numbers of all involved vehicles
- The color, make, year and model of all involved vehicles
After you’ve filled out an accident report and collected all relevant information from the scene of the accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Not all attorneys have experience in the same areas, so you’ll need to make sure you hire an attorney who is familiar with DUI accident injuries and knows how to effectively represent you.
How Can You File a Compensation Claim?
In the event of an accident caused by someone driving under the influence, you should be able to receive compensation for your injuries or damage done to your vehicle. You can pursue this compensation in one of several ways:
- File with your auto insurance provider: You can file a compensation claim with your automobile insurance provider. You’ll likely be offered a settlement after the insurance company’s adjuster investigates the incident. If the evidence leads the adjuster to conclude that the other driver caused the accident, your insurance company will pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive reimbursement for the compensation paid to you.
- File With the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company: If you decide to file a compensation claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a DUI accident, you should always allow your attorney to speak with the insurance company on your behalf. If the other driver’s insurance company tries to convince you to give a statement, you are not obligated to do so.
- File With the County: In Arizona, a standard called pure comparative fault gives you the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident in the county where the accident occurred. You may be rewarded damages if your county case is successful.
Before choosing any of the above courses of action, always talk with your attorney. An attorney can recommend the right course of action to take after a DUI accident, based on the unique circumstances surrounding the collision.
Get Help With Your Injuries After a DUI Accident
Treating injuries from an accident caused by someone driving under the influence can be very expensive. Fortunately, you have the ability to seek compensation from your insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance, or the county in which the accident occurred.
However, failing to take prompt or correct actions could result in you losing your case and being unable to collect compensation. That’s why it’s so important to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after being involved in a DUI accident. Whether you’re a victim or the at-fault driver, contact MDK Law Group for help understanding the legal options available to you.