Free Consultation: (312) 924-7575

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Following a Fatal Arizona Drunk Driving Accident

When a person is killed in an Arizona car accident, the victim’s family has many things that they must handle immediately. From planning the funeral to managing the life insurance policy, the last thing on their mind may be filing a lawsuit. However, when the accident is the result of another person’s carelessness, families should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Arizona, a wrongful death lawsuit is a claim against a person who can be held liable for the person’s death. Although this cannot bring their loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit can help the family financially recover as they go through such a difficult time.

Recently, a teen was killed by an intoxicated driver who ran through a red light. According to a local news report, the 18-year-old was instantly killed when a pickup truck failed to stop at a red light and slammed into his SUV. The driver of the pickup truck showed signs of impairment and is being charged with second-degree murder.

Although criminal charges are normally filed when a person’s death results from an intoxicated driver, the family will often still struggle to make ends meet and recover after the loss of a loved one. In many instances, a wrongful death lawsuit can help families seek justice and financial compensation through a civil action. In Arizona law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act of another person and the death would not have occurred but for this action. Another requirement is that the deceased must have been able to bring suit against the responsible party, if they had survived. However, as the deceased is no longer able to bring suit, the lawsuit can be filed by the deceased’s spouse, child, parent, or the deceased’s estate, if he does not have any living relatives. The lawsuit must be brought within two years of the deceased’s passing, otherwise the family loses their right to file the claim.

The jury determines how much financial compensation, if any, should be awarded to the plaintiff. In these cases, the jury is instructed to award damages they deem fair and just, normally awarding damages for funeral expenses, lost wages, and the family’s pain and suffering. Additionally, juries must consider other circumstances, such as the deceased’s own behavior or if the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident, which may either raise or lower their final determination. Because of this, each evaluation of damages and the ultimate outcome is unique depending on the deceased and the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death. Due to the strict requirements when filing a wrongful death lawsuit, such as the timing of the suit, potential plaintiffs should consult an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Contact an Arizona Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have a loved one who has been killed in an Arizona automobile accident, contact the dedicated attorneys at Abel & Annes, P.C. With years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, our lawyers will do everything they can to hold all at-fault parties accountable. We understand how emotional it can be after the death of a loved one, and take every step to make the process as stress-free as possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 855-749-5299.

What Is a Superseding Cause in a Phoenix Personal Injury Case?

In Arizona personal injury cases, a defendant can be held liable for another’s injuries if the accident would not have occurred without the defendant’s negligent act. However, there are ways a defendant may try and escape liability. One such way is by arguing there was a superseding incident caused by another person that also contributed to the injury. A superseding cause is an intervening act that the law considers sufficient enough to override the initial negligence and exonerate that person from liability.

In a recent case discussing superseding causation, a state appellate court was recently tasked with determining whether a bar could be held liable for over-serving a man who later got into a car accident, even though he went home and took a nap before getting into the wreck. In many states, including Arizona, a bar can be held responsible for the actions of a patron after they have left the bar if they did not stop them from driving while intoxicated. The bar tried to argue that going home and taking a nap constituted a superseding cause, while the plaintiff, the person injured in the car accident, claimed that the bar was still at fault. The court ultimately ruled that going home was a superseding cause that relieved the bar of liability for the accident.

Superseding cause explained

A superseding cause intervenes between the defendant’s original act and the final result; it is also necessary in bringing about the injury. In Arizona, a superseding cause relieves the defendant of liability when it was unforeseeable. Even though the original negligence may have been a substantial factor in bringing about the injury, the original actor is not legally responsible if there is a superseding act.

The court decided that the bar could not be held liable in this instance. Although it was foreseeable that the bar patron could have caused an accident after leaving the bar while driving home initially, the bar could not have anticipated their patron intended to drive again later after going to bed. Once he was safely at his residence, the risk of the patron leaving and deciding to drive was no different than if he had become intoxicated at his house with alcohol purchased at a grocery store. Because such action was not foreseeable, the man’s decision to leave his home and drive was a superseding cause. Although the bar could not be held accountable, the plaintiff still has the ability to go after the man who caused the accident for compensation.

Arguing superseding cause is a way a defendant can try to escape liability for their wrongful actions. Because of this, and since superseding causation can often be a complicated topic, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who can help fight against such defenses.

Contact a Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been involved in a Phoenix car crash, or any other preventable accident, contact the attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. We can assist you in determining your next steps and fight for the compensation you deserve. With years of experience, our dedicated attorneys will ensure the party responsible for the incident is held accountable. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your case, contact us at 602-819-5191 today.

Man Charged with Aggravated Assault in Connection with Phoenix DUI Car Accident

A Phoenix man has been charged with aggravated assault and endangerment for his role in a multi-vehicle Arizona car accident that left a pregnant woman seriously injured. According to a local news source, the man admitted to using multiple different types of drugs in the hours leading up to the crash, but claims he was distracted from trying to retrieve his cell phone that had fallen in between the seats when he ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. Both the man and his passenger, a woman who was nine months pregnant, were ejected from the vehicle and suffered injuries resulting from the crash, but no other drivers or passengers were injured, according to the article.

The man’s admitted drug use may have played a role in law enforcement’s decision to charge him with felony assault for his passenger’s injuries, although intoxication is not a prerequisite for serious criminal charges to be pursued against reckless parties involved in an accident. Intoxication from drugs and alcohol contributes to thousands of Arizona car accidents that result in needless injuries and deaths each year. Intoxicated drivers are more likely to cause accidents for many reasons, including delayed reaction time, poor judgment, and the inability to remain conscious while under the influence. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs put the public at risk, and can be held liable in criminal as well as civil courts for their behavior. Distracted driving can also be charged as a crime, especially when an accident is caused by a driver being distracted by texting or using a cellphone while on the road.

In addition to criminal charges that drivers can face for causing an accident while intoxicated or distracted, they may also be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages related to a crash. With the help of an experienced attorney, injured parties can pursue an Arizona personal injury lawsuit to recover a settlement or jury verdict to compensate them for the medical bills, temporary and permanent disabilities, lost work, as well as pain and suffering and other damages. Personal injury lawsuits can be used to recover damages resulting from criminal conduct, as well as recklessness, or simple negligence.

Who Can You Call if You’ve Been Hurt?

If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury or been killed as a result of an Arizona DUI accident, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Intoxicated or distracted drivers should be held accountable for the consequences of their behavior, and a qualified Arizona personal injury attorney can help you with your claim. At the Phoenix personal injury law firm, Abels & Annes, P.C., our experienced DUI accident lawyers represent injury victims and their family members in all types of injury cases, including Arizona car accident and distracted driver claims. Contact our offices for a no-obligation consultation to find out if you may have a case for damages. Call 602-819-5191 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

Nearly 1/3 of Traffic Accident Deaths Involve Alcohol Impairment

Alcohol creates a myriad response in the bodies of those who drink. From slowed response rates to a tiredness that can onset quickly, these effects may have a dramatic effect among drivers who have been drinking. For these reasons and others, driving while intoxicated is illegal in every state in the nation and doing so can lead to significant consequences. Drunk driving car accidents cause billions of dollars in damages annually and Arizona suffers from these instances every week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol impairment is a factor in approximately 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. In 2014 alone, 9,967 people lost their lives in traffic collisions that involved alcohol impairment which is an average of more than 27 lives lost daily that year.

Continue reading “Nearly 1/3 of Traffic Accident Deaths Involve Alcohol Impairment”

Every Two Minutes, a Drunk Driving Car Accident Causes an Injury

Every state in the nation bans drivers from operating their vehicles after they have reached a level of intoxication, but despite these widespread and commonly known laws, millions of drunk drivers plague our public roadways every year. In fact, in 2013, 28.7 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol that year based on a survey done by the federal government, and that number is believed to be low since many impaired motorists are unwilling to admit to their conduct.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that every two minutes, someone is hurt in a drunk driving collision in this country. Unfortunately, far too many of those accidents are happening right in our backyard and across Maricopa County, affecting the lives of those who live in Phoenix or the nearby cities and those who come to the Valley to work.

There is a common misconception about who is driving drunk in Phoenix. Nationally, the rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29 year olds, those who are old enough to consume alcohol legally. So many of these motorists go on to cause drunk driving collisions that in 2014 alone, 9,967 people were killed on American roadways in drunk driving accidents.

Continue reading “Every Two Minutes, a Drunk Driving Car Accident Causes an Injury”

Drunk Drivers are on Phoenix Streets after Super Bowl Celebrations

Tens of millions of Americans consider themselves fans of professional football, and if you count yourself among them, you may have watched Super Bowl 50 last night. Even if you are not a fan of football, you may have watched the game just to see the famous television advertisements that accompany it or simply because your friends and family were watching.

But even if you avoided the game entirely, know that the Super Bowl could have a significant impact in your life as experts relate an increase in the incidence of drunk driving on America’s roads with Super Bowl celebrations. This can translate to innocent victims becoming injured due to drunk driving accidents and having their lives changed forever due to the actions or inactions of others.

Continue reading “Drunk Drivers are on Phoenix Streets after Super Bowl Celebrations”

Celebrating New Year’s Eve Safely in Phoenix

Today marks the end of 2015 and all that it brought to those who call Phoenix home. Whether it was a banner year for you or one you’d rather forget, this year is ending no matter what. And with the closing of the year comes a celebration for many as they look forward to the promise of 2016.

Tonight, many will gather with friends and family members to partake in traditional New Year’s Eve events. Many of the cities in and around Maricopa County also will have public festivities for those wishing to take part and some local establishments are advertising a family-friendly way to celebrate. Regardless of your plans, know that there are certain risks for injuries associated with a typical New Year’s Eve and that your conduct tonight may go a long way toward determining whether you and your family remain safe or whether you may become an accident victim.

Continue reading “Celebrating New Year’s Eve Safely in Phoenix”

The Real Cost of Drunk Driving in Phoenix

Drunk driving is a popular topic in the media in Phoenix. In fact, Arizona has some of the strictest laws against drunk driving in the nation which lead to many arrests, charges, and sentences related to driving under the influence of alcohol. But with all the attention and with all the legislation related to this activity, it still surprises many that thousands take to the roads in our state each and every year after they have been drinking, contrary to an in violation of the law and against all indications related to public safety.

There are many costs to drunk driving. There is the cost of a traffic ticket should a driver be caught in the act. There is also the cost of a lawyer if that drunk driver needs one for criminal charges. There may be court costs, fines, and fees associated with an act of driving under the influence. A convicted motorist may have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed in her car. He may have to pay a higher automobile insurance premium once points are assessed against his license. And he may have to pay the price of public embarrassment and shame if it becomes known to family and friend that he drove while drunk.

But the biggest price that is paid for drunk driving is one that cannot be reduced to a monetary value: the price of life. Tragically, a person loses her life every hour of every day in this country due to the actions of drunk drivers. In 2013 alone, more than 10,000 people lost their lives needlessly because a motorist opted to drive after drinking.

Continue reading “The Real Cost of Drunk Driving in Phoenix”

Do Not Drink and Drive this Holiday Season

Drunk drivers are on the roads every day in Arizona, and unfortunately, they often cause car accidents that can lead to injuries among those involved. While a crash with a drunk driver can happen at any time, certain days of the week, hours of the day, and times of the year are more likely to see collisions than others.

The next few weeks are more likely to see drunk driving accidents than most other times of the year. Across the country, many Americans will be celebrating holidays with those that they love, and a lot of those celebrations will involve alcohol. And if prior years are any indication, some of those individuals will take to the roads after drinking and will drive contrary to and in violation of Phoenix laws that ban impaired or drunk drivers from operating a car. These motorists will risk not only their own safety but the safety of others in their vehicles, drivers in other cars, and even pedestrians or bicyclists near their vehicles simply by choosing to drink and drive.

Continue reading “Do Not Drink and Drive this Holiday Season”

Impairment Possible in Car Accident that Injured Family of 5

Arizona has some of the strictest laws against driving under the influence of alcohol in the nation. Even first time offenders face the possibility of jail time and/or the loss of their driver’s license if they are apprehended drunk driving in the Phoenix area. Yet despite these laws prohibiting the conduct and despite national campaigns warning against driving drunk, every day in Arizona, drivers get behind the wheel when they are impaired and should not be driving.

Impairment comes in many forms and those who drive while impaired may be guilty of breaking the law even if they have no alcohol in their systems. Street drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and other chemical substances can be intoxicants if they lower a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. While the incidents of drunk driving accidents have been decreasing across the nation in recent decades, the number of drivers who operate while high on drugs and cause collisions has been increasing substantially.
Continue reading “Impairment Possible in Car Accident that Injured Family of 5”