Arizona's drunk-driving accident numbers are extremely high despite preventative measures and strict laws. Each year, hundreds of victims and their families attempt to recoup medical costs, property-damage costs and other losses by filing civil suits against the drivers at fault. Unfortunately, drunk drivers do not always have adequate insurance coverage. But dram shops – establishments such as bars that sell alcoholic beverages – may also be liable in drunk-driving lawsuits.
Arizona DUI Statistics
329 of the 937 traffic fatalities in Arizona in 2008 were alcohol-related. Of those alcohol-related deaths, 81 percent of the drivers responsible had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
Drunk Drivers and Civil Liability
When a person is injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, medical and funeral expenses and the loss of income from wages can put a huge burden on the family. Often times, families have no other choice but to file suit against the driver at fault. Unfortunately, many auto insurance policies offer coverage inadequate to compensate a party who suffers catastrophic injury or death. Even worse, some drivers may not have insurance at all, let alone the resources to pay the damages of their victims.
Civil Liability for Dram Shops
Arizona law recognizes, however, that liability for the injuries caused by a drunk driver does not necessarily end with the driver himself. Instead, Arizona allows those who have been injured by a drunk driver to hold all those who played a role in the accident responsible. This includes bars and other alcohol-selling establishments that serve obviously intoxicated adult patrons more alcoholic drinks and then allow them to drive home. It also applies to the sale of alcohol to minors who are subsequently involved in alcohol-related accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver, contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. An attorney experienced in handling motor vehicle accident claims can explain your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve.