Drunk Driver Accidents in Houston: Your Legal Options
Being injured during a drunk driver accident in Houston can be a life-altering situation with a number of expensive consequences, including hospitalization, physical therapy, medication, doctor’s visits, lost wages, and more, all due to someone else’s illegal action.
The good news? You may not have to cover these damages alone. If you or a loved one were hit and injured by a drunk driver, you are able to sue them under Texas law — even if the prosecution is unable to convict the accused driver. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Houston from Grimes & Fertitta is here to walk you through your legal options for the best possible outcome.
At Grimes & Fertitta, we understand the emotional repercussions of being hit by a drunk driver. You shouldn’t have to navigate such a scary and traumatizing event alone and without representation. If you or a loved one were involved in a Houston drunk driving accident, call 713-224-7644 today.
Can I sue a drunk driver for an accident?
In Texas, victims of drunk driving accidents and their immediate family members can sue drunk drivers , their insurance company, and possibly even the establishment that over-served alcohol to the drunk driver for damages related to the accident, including possible punitive damages.
It is important to note that a criminal conviction for DWI or a related offense does not automatically result in compensation for the victims. While a judge may order a person convicted of DWI to pay restitution to their victims, this is not guaranteed. And if for any reason the driver avoids conviction or is able to plea down to a lesser charge, your chances of court-ordered restitution become even lower.
Impairment versus intoxication
One key difference between a DWI criminal trial and suing a drunk driver is the line between intoxication and impairment. In the state of Texas, a driver is considered legally intoxicated and unable to drive if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher at the time of the accident. If the prosecution cannot prove that the driver met the legal standard for intoxication at the time of the accident, they cannot legally convict them for DWI.
Impairment, on the other hand, refers to diminished abilities or a lack of physical/mental competency needed to safely perform a task. Depending on a person’s physiology, they may become imparied before actually reaching the legal limit for intoxication. If it can be established that a person’s ability to drive was impaired due to alcohol consumption or drug use, they may still be held liable for punitive damages in an accident they caused.
What types of compensation can I be awarded if I am hit by a drunk driver?
If you have been injured as a result of a drunk driver accident in Houston, you have the right to recover compensation for punitive damages –– a type of compensation designed to punish the party that caused you harm –– if the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence. In most cases, driving while under the influence of alcohol constitutes gross negligence.
Depending on your case, you may also be entitled to financial compensation for:
- Wrongful death damages: This includes funeral or burial expenses for a loved one who was killed as a result of their injuries. They can be brought by certain surviving members of the family.
- Covering your current and future medical bills and medical care
- Loss of current and future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
What to do after being hit by a drunk driver
After being involved in a car accident, everything can seem extremely overwhelming. If you’re unsure of what steps to take, here is a quick review:
- Seek medical help: If you or a loved one in the vehicle seem to be injured, move away from the scene of the accident if safe to do so and call 9-1-1.
- Gather evidence from the scene: Take down names, phone numbers, and insurance information from the responsible party as well as any eyewitnesses around the scene. Establishing that the driver who hit you was impaired at the time of the accident is crucial to the success of your case, and any evidence you can gather (photos of beer cans near the vehicle, video of the driver stumbling or speaking incoherently, etc.) can help your lawyer prove
- Contact a lawyer to determine whether you have a case: Grimes & Fertitta offers free evaluations to discuss the matters of your case.
The attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to fight for you to receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
When to hire an attorney for a drunk driver accident in Houston
If you have been hit by a drunk driver and would like to sue for damages, here are some examples of when to get an attorney for a car accident:
- You have suffered injuries (severe or not)
- There is damage to your vehicle
- It’s possible that someone else’s actions caused the accident
- You’ve been offered a settlement by the other driver’s insurance
- A loved one died as a result of the accident (call a fatal car accident lawyer to file a claim for wrongful death)
If you have been hit by a driver who is clearly under the influence of alcohol, call an attorney you can trust immediately to file a claim. An attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies and providers that may stand in the way of you getting the compensation you deserve. As former insurance company attorneys, you can place your trust in our ability to anticipate the unfair tactics you’re up against to build a strong case for you.
Involved in a Drunk Driver Accident? Contact Grimes & Fertitta ASAP.
If you or a loved one were involved in a drunk driver accident in Houston, contact a Houston car accident lawyer or a car accident lawyer in The Woodlands immediately. To us, you’re not just a case number. We are here to fight for your best interest and get the compensation you need and deserve.
Call us at 713-224-7644 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.
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