Every year, many individuals are injured or killed by the negligent actions of motorists who drink and drive. According to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 15,558 total crashes statewide involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol in 2021. Unfortunately, many drunk driving accident victims are often unsure about what to do after the crash or their options to recover compensation for their injuries.
Here at my firm, K.E. Bradley Attorney & Counselor at Law, I provide legal help in vehicle accident cases and advocate for the best interests of drunk-driving crash victims. As a practiced Texas personal injury attorney, I can inform you about the next steps to take and analyze your opportunities to pursue damages when hit by a drunk driver. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri City, Friendswood, Fresno, Katy, Pearland, and Sugar Land, Texas.
Steps to Take if You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
Being the unfortunate victim of a drunk-driving accident can be a difficult and unsettling experience. However, it is vital that you remain calm and never allow your emotions to overwhelm you. If you were hit by a drunk driver, you should take the following steps, where possible:
- Exit your vehicle carefully and get to safety.
- Call 911 to receive immediate medical attention for your injuries.
- Report the incident and give a comprehensive statement to law enforcement authorities.
- Take mental notes if you notice that the other driver is drunk or intoxicated.
- Collect and document physical evidence, police report, accident scene pictures, and witness statements.
- Document all your medical expenses, health records, and treatments received.
- Document your personal account of the drunk-driving crash and how it has affected your work and daily life.
- Inform your insurance provider about the drunk driving incident.
- Hire an experienced attorney to help file your injury claims and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer.
However, you must act fast to avoid forgetting relevant information and preserve evidence relating to the drunk-driving crash. Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation, help file your claims, and seek to establish liability.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas
However, Texas DUI laws consider driving while under the influence of alcohol (drunk driving) as negligence per se. Therefore, any drunk driver who causes an auto accident will be automatically negligent and held liable for physical injuries and vehicle damages sustained by the victim.
In order to establish negligence per se in an accident case, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The defendant’s actions violated a statute, such as DUI or speeding.
- The victim was within the class of people that the statute was established to protect.
- The defendant’s actions were proximately responsible for the victim’s injury.
Often, the at-fault drunk driver would hold financial liability for the victim’s injuries. However, there are cases where the injured person may be able to hold the alcohol-serving establishment liable for selling or serving alcoholic beverages to a driver who caused the crash.
Texas Dram Shop Liability
Under Texas Dram Shop Act, an alcohol-serving establishment, bar, or bar owner may be held responsible for serving, providing, or selling alcohol or alcoholic beverage to a person who causes an accident, personal injury, or property damage if:
- The recipient (the person that was served or provided with alcohol) was visibly intoxicated.
- The recipient’s intoxication caused the victim’s injury, accident, or damages.
- The recipient is a minor below 18 years.
Moreover, it is a criminal offense to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in Texas. Due to this, it would be relatively easy for you to prove fault and establish liability in your personal injury case. A trusted Texas car accident lawyer can help file your claims, establish liability, and seek the financial justice you’re entitled to.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Additionally, if a person dies from a drunk driving crash, their surviving family members may be entitled to recover wrongful death benefits. Under Texas laws, any of the following persons may file a wrongful death action:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent.
- The surviving parents of the decedent.
- The surviving children of the decedent.
- An adopted child – if the adoption was legal and successful.
- The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate after three calendar months of the death.
An experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can help file your claims and attempt to recover the deserved financial compensation and punitive damages for your untimely loss.
Protect Your Future with an Attorney’s Support
Getting hurt in a drunk-driving crash can be overwhelming and can affect you physically, emotionally, and financially. Nonetheless, you don’t have to suffer financial liability all alone. At my firm, I have the resources and expertise to support and represent clients in their drunk-driving accident claims.
Using my broad knowledge, I can walk you through the challenging procedures involved in filing claims, providing fault, and recovering damages. Also, I will fight for your rights and help you seek fair financial compensation to cover your injuries, damages, or losses.
If you were involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact me at K.E. Bradley Attorney & Counselor at Law today for a consultation. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri City, Friendswood, Fresno, Katy, Pearland, and Sugar Land, Texas.