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Can I Still Get Money For My Injury if I Was Drunk or Under the Influence at the Time of the Accident?
Because alcohol is a depressant, too much of it can affect your ability to think clearly, make rational decisions, and exercise functional motor skills. According to recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol is a factor in nearly one third of fatal car accidents in the United States. An average of 10,000 people are killed per year in the United States as the result of a car accident involving an alcohol impaired driver. Most adults have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives. Therefore, because the effects of alcohol are commonly known to the public, Arizona laws attempt to stop people from abusing it.
Arizona is considered a “pure comparative negligence” state. Generally, without alcohol or drugs involved, injured victims can recover money from another party for an injury so long as the other party was at least 1% at fault. In theory, an injured person could still receive money from another even if the injured person was 99% at fault for causing his or her own injuries.
In short, an intoxicated person who is injured cannot be over 50% at fault for causing his or her own injuries and still recover.
However, Arizona law has established a significant exception to the general rule of pure comparative negligence. ARS §12-711 is an Arizona statute that prevents those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs from recovering for their injuries. Pursuant to this statute, if an injured person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and, as a result of that influence, was at least 50% responsible for causing his or her own injury, then that person is barred from recovering anything. In short, an intoxicated person who is injured cannot be over 50% at fault for causing his or her own injuries and still recover. The percentage of fault attributed to an injured person is a question of fact for a jury to decide. All evidence is considered by the jury, not just the intoxication levels of the injured person.
Because of this law, many people who have been injured think that because they were intoxicated, they are completely barred from bringing a claim for their injuries. This is not true. Even though being intoxicated is not helpful to your injury case, it certainly does not bar your case completely. Remember, in order to be barred from recovery a person must be both intoxicated and more than 50% responsible for causing his or her own injuries.
For example, if the driver of a vehicle was under the influence of alcohol and was stopped at a red light and then rear-ended by another driver from behind, he or she may still be able to recover money. In this situation, the intoxicated driver was likely not at fault at all as he or she was rear ended from behind and did nothing to contribute to the crash. Just because someone is intoxicated does not mean that he or she was negligent or partially at fault.
Just because someone is intoxicated does not mean that he or she was negligent or partially at fault.
Ultimately, when an injured person is both intoxicated and negligent, an attorney must consider two important factors. The first factor, is whether the person’s intoxication contributed to him or her being injured. The second factor, is to determine the percentage of fault the injured person is responsible for in contributing to his or her own injuries. An experienced Scottsdale injury attorney knows which facts are critical in determining a person’s percentage of fault. This experience can help the attorney estimate how much fault a jury may attribute to an individual. This allows the attorney to help the injured person decide what is a fair settlement or how to proceed with his or her injury claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, the legal team at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers is ready to assist you. Even if you were under the influence of alcohol, or other substances, you may still be entitled to substantial compensation. Do not discredit your case without talking to us first. An experienced personal injury attorney from Scottsdale Injury Lawyers is available now to discuss your case. A consultation is free and we only earn a fee if we recover for you. Contact us today.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.