What are my Legal Options if Hit by a Drunk Driver in Houston?
In case you are a victim of a car accident where the other motorist was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can claim compensation and damages for all losses and injuries that arise as a result of the crash. The key factor in such accidents, however, is proving that the party to blame was indeed driving under the influence.
The key factors used to prove impairment from alcohol and drug use include:
- Test results that indicate intoxication.
- A driver’s erratic behavior at the time of the accident.
- A Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level over 0.08%.
- Alcohol odor emanating from the drunk driver.
- Any alcohol bottles or drug traces in the vehicle that indicate drunk driving.
People and Parties You Can Sue for a Drunk Driving Accident
- The driver of the vehicle.
- The driver’s employer.
- A car owner who knowingly entrusted their vehicle to a drunkard.
- Rental car companies who knew the defendant was unfit to handle the car in their condition but still rented the vehicle out to them.
- Liquor stores – Note that liability here is based on a liquor seller entrusting a vehicle to the drunk driver, and not selling liquor. In the case of an intoxicated minor, a liquor-selling establishment may be held liable.
- Someone who is evidenced to have encouraged the intoxicated driver to drive.
Comparative Fault on Drunk Driving Cases
Not all accidents involving an intoxicated driver are solely caused by the driver. In such cases, comparative negligence law applies. This means that if, for example, a plaintiff was a passenger of a car being driven by a speeding drunk driver and their car was hit by another motorist who ran a red light, the drunk driver may be held 50% responsible for the accident, and the other driver 50% responsible as well, in which cases both have to pay half of the damages owed to the plaintiff.
Insurance Claims are the Best Option Even in Drunk Driving Accidents
The Texas Department of Insurance requires drivers to carry third-party liability cover for injuries, death, and property damage. As a result, before racing to a court of law to file a lawsuit, it would be best if you start by negotiating a settlement with the responsible driver’s insurer.
However, do not accept any settlement too quickly because insurance companies may try to coerce you into accepting a low compensation package. They may even shift the blame of the accident entirely on to you. Avoid signing anything or consenting to a recorded statement before consulting a lawyer. A good lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to see to it that you get the right compensation you deserve.
Filing a Drunk Driving Civil Claim
One factor that makes drunk driving accidents stand out from other forms of accidents is that DUI cases often result in a criminal trial. Although a criminal trial is crucial for getting justice for your case, it does not always lead to monetary compensation. To get the money you deserve to continue living the standard of life you enjoyed before the accident, you should file a civil damages claim on top of all criminal charges.
What You Should Do Immediately After a DUI Accident
- Start with safety and seek medical attention if needed.
- Exchange contact and insurance details with the driver.
- Inform the police.
- Try collecting as much evidence as you can via photos, recordings, and eyewitness testimonies.
- Get legal help from our team of Houston drunk driving accident experts.
What You Can Claim From a Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving is an act of negligence that brings with it life-altering changes. It is crucial to have the drunk driver who caused your accident to pay for all losses, expenses, and injuries that they caused you to suffer. Financial compensation will not bring back your loved one or may not bring you back to your former level of health, but it will help offset the financial difficulties you may face as you try to cope with life after the accident.
Here are some claims we can help you pursue:
- Medical bills – Emergency healthcare costs, prescription costs, intensive care unit bills, special doctor appointments, medical equipment such as a wheelchair, surgery costs, ambulance costs, rehabilitation, therapy, etc.
- Income lost during and after the accident. This may include reduced earning capacity.
- Mental anguish.
- Emotional trauma.
- Property damages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Diminished enjoyment of life.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of benefits in case of death.
- Loss of inheritance.
- Burial and funeral costs.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Will Handle Your Case – Free Consultation!
If you or your loved one sustained injuries or losses from a crash involving an intoxicated driver, our team of experienced auto accident and injury lawyers are ready to start working on your claim. The lawyer we assign to your case will conduct an expert investigation and will handle evidence collection as well as all negotiations with the responsible insurers to get you your maximum legally-allowed compensation. Click here or call us at 713-677-2179 to get started.
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