Arizona is an at-fault state for car insurance purposes
The State Bar of Arizona offers a free legal advice program called Lawyers on Call. This is staffed by volunteer lawyers who answer called from 5 to 7 pm on the dates listed on the Association’s website. Unfortunately, car accident attorneys do not volunteer their services. You can find specialist car accident attorneys through the Bar Association telephone help lines or by personal recommendation. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation on car insurance issues and claims. The law of negligence as applied to traffic accidents and the assessment of the damages payable for different types of injuries is a specialized area of law. Particularly if you are injured or you are being sued for a significant amount of money and your own insurance cover is inadequate, you should always get advice from car accident attorneys with substantial experience.
What to do if you get into an accident
Once you have checked everyone is uninjured and does not need medical attention, it is time to check the extent of the damage to the vehicles and exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. You need:
• the other driver’s name, address, telephoner number or other contact details;
• the driver’s license number and issuing state;
• to look at the insurance card (some states now allow digital copies to prove a current valid insurance policy) to collect the name of the car insurance company, the number of the policy and, if appropriate, the name and address of any insurance agent nominated to handle claims.
If anyone is injured or there is some property damage, you should report the accident to the police. Then report the accident to your own insurer. Failure allows your insurer to refuse the claims that may arise.
If you pick up a ticket or a conviction, this changes your risk profile. Many car insurance companies rely on the fact of legal troubles to increase your annual premium rate. That can make it economically sensible to fight tickets and prosecutions. With an experienced lawyer by your side, you can often avoid conviction or secure a reduced penalty. Anything that reduces the impression of fault on your part also reduces the risk of your premium rate increasing.
Arizona DUI laws
If you go back thirty years, it used to be considered a part of the price to be paid for using the public roads that a high percentage of the other road users at night might have been drinking alcohol. Today, a higher percentage of the community considers drunken driving to be a serious crime and supports a more positive enforcement program even though this may affect the businesses of bars and restaurants. The result has been a steady decrease in the number of alcohol-related crashes. Sadly, in 2012, despite the increasingly severe penalties, 34% of all crashes were alcohol-related.
There is mandatory jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, court fees, and classification as a high risk driver for car insurance purposes. That means the majority of car insurance companies will refuse cover or ask extortionately high annual premium rates for writing a policy. This forces drivers into the state-run high-risk exchange. To add to the indignity and financial cost, all offenders are required to fit an ignition interlock.
If you have been drinking or you have consumed drugs that have affected your ability to drive, it is essential that you get early advice from an experienced attorney. It can be critical to decide whether to refuse blood or chemical testing. The standard offense is committed if you are driving a noncommercial vehicle and your blood alcohol concentration is great than 0.08. But there is an aggravated offense if your BAC is either greater than 0.15 or 0.20 or more. This relates to anyone who is in physical possession of a vehicle and does not require the person to be driving or attempting to drive.
You should also be aware that, under Title 4 – 241, it is an offense to sell or give liquor to an underage person. This does not simply apply to commercial premises where the barkeep or other employee may be prosecuted. It also applies to parents and any others who allow their property to be used by underage people to drink.