Texas has one of the highest numbers of Drunk Driver – DUI cases in the nation. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2020, there were 432 fatal DUI accidents and 966 DUI crashes that resulted in possible injuries.
In Harris County alone, there were 122 fatal DUI crashes and 612 crashes that resulted in possible injuries.
Accidents caused by drunk drivers are often catastrophic, causing serious injuries and even death.
A criminal conviction can help give injured victims a sense of justice, but it is through filing a civil lawsuit that victims can receive the compensation that they deserve. If you were injured in a DUI accident or lost a loved one in a DUI crash, you should reach out to an experienced Houston drunk driving accident lawyer.
In Texas, you are considered legally intoxicated when you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher or do not have the normal use of your mental or physical facilities due to alcohol or some other drug. If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while having any detectible level of alcohol in your blood.
If you were in an accident with a drunk driver, you should be sure to explain to the police why you believe the other driver is intoxicated, such as red eyes, slurred speech, an alcohol smell, or reckless driving. It is critical to be observant because sometimes, an intoxicated person will attempt to hide or destroy alcohol bottles or other evidence. These facts can play an important part in your civil lawsuit.
While there are many similarities between drunk driving accidents and normal car accident lawsuits, there are two significant differences.
1. Proof of a DWI constitutes negligence per se. In a standard car accident, the injured party must prove all four elements of negligence (duty, breach, causation, and harm). In a drunk driving accident, a DUI constitutes negligence per se, which means that the injured party does not need to prove the first two elements of negligence. They only need to show that the defendant caused their harm.
2. You can recover additional damages in DUI accidents. In drunk driving accidents, you are more likely to receive punitive damages.
The number of damages that you can recover will depend on your case’s unique facts and circumstances. In general, the following types of damages are available in Houston DUI accident cases:
• Medical expenses,
• Lost wages or lost earnings,
• Lost earning capacity,
• Pain and suffering,
• Loss of enjoyment of life,
• Permanent scarring or disfigurement,
• Funeral expenses, and
• Counseling services, including grief counseling.
The damages listed above are called compensatory damages. The purpose of these damages is to make the injured party “whole” after the accident. In addition to compensatory damages, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and serve as an example to others not to drink and drive.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means that a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages but the judge found you to be 25% at fault, the court will reduce your damages to $75,000. If you are more than 50% at fault, you are prohibited from recovering any damages.
In addition to claims against the driver and the driver’s insurance company, Texas allows individuals to file a legal claim against the bar, restaurant, liquor store, or other business that sold alcohol to the impaired driver. The business will be held responsible if it:
• Served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who presented a clear danger to themself as well as others, or
• Served alcohol to a minor who then caused a drunk driving accident.
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, call the Paxton Law Firm. We have represented injured persons involved in drunk driving accidents for nearly twenty years.
Let us review your case and advise you of your rights. The Paxton Law Firm believes in taking the stress of dealing with your legal battles and turning a negative situation into the best possible outcome lady justice allows. We offer free consultations, and you do not pay any legal fees until we recover for you.
Do you believe you have a case? Understand that time is of the essence in getting you the justice you deserve! We would love to hear from you.