DUI/ DWI Accident Cases

Q: Can I sue a drunk driver for punitive damages?

Yes, drunk and impaired drivers are subject to punitive damages in addition to the typical auto accident damages.

Q: Can I collect from the drunk driver’s insurance company?

Yes, drunk and impaired drivers are often at fault for collisions.  You can typically collect money damages from the other insurance company.  However, punitive damage awards are not typically covered under most car insurance policies.

Q: Is there an alcohol level at which a drunk driver is automatically responsible for an accident?

There is no alcohol concentration that makes the intoxicated driver automatically responsible.  Under Arizona law, the legal limit is .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration and those drivers above that level are presumed to be impaired.  However, a driver can be impaired to the slightest degree by a lesser amount of alcohol and/or combination of prescription or illicit drugs.

Q: Can I still sue a drunk driver even if the police did not charge that driver, or he or she was found not guilty?

Yes, the standards in criminal and civil court are different.  It is not necessary for the person to be convicted in criminal court to win a money judgment in civil court.  However, if the driver is convicted of DUI in criminal court, the drunk driver cannot later deny that they were impaired.