What To Do If You’re Hit By a Drunk Driver in Texas
Being hit by a drunk driver in Texas isn’t something many people think they’ll ever have to deal with. But Texas alone saw 963 deaths and 2,114 catastrophic injuries caused by drunk driving accidents in 2021. Whether you’re looking to gain this knowledge in advance or you have suffered on account of a drunk driver, knowing what to do after an accident can make all the difference in the outcome of an accident case.
In this article, the Houston drunk driving accident lawyers from Grimes & Fertitta are here to walk you through what to do after you or a loved one were hit by a drunk driver.
What to do if you’re hit by a drunk driver
1. Assess your injuries
If you were hit by a drunk driver in Texas, your health and safety should always take first priority. Before doing anything else, check to see if you or anyone else in the accident suffered from any injuries. If you were injured by a drunk driver, call 911 immediately.
So long as your vehicle is in a safe place to do so, you should stay put until help arrives. The adrenaline of the accident can cover up the pain of any serious injuries and moving can cause you to suffer more damage. Paramedics will be able to check you for a neck and back injury and remove you safely from your vehicle.
2. Call the police immediately
After assessing your own injuries and anyone involved, you’ll want to call the police. While you are waiting for them to arrive, start collecting evidence from the scene including:
- The other driver’s name, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information
- Eyewitness contact information
- Photos or videos of alcohol containers in or around the other car
- Videos that show that the other driver was impaired (slurred speech, stumbling, etc.)
- Photos or videos of the scene of the accident (tire marks, location of the vehicles, damages, etc.)
Upon arrival, you’ll want to express your concerns about the other driver drinking and driving to the officer. Your statement may be the catalyst that encourages the police officer to administer a field sobriety test and will make it easier to prove negligence later on.
3. Seek medical care
If you were not already taken to the hospital, you should still take yourself to be checked out. Not all injuries are obvious and although you may feel fine at the moment, you may have suffered internal injuries such as a herniated disk, concussion, or whiplash.
4. Keep track of all expenses, reports, and suffering
Evidence can quickly disappear throughout these types of cases so it’s crucial that you are doing your due diligence to collect your own. Aside from collecting evidence on the scene of the accident — if you are able to do so, you should also be collecting as much documentation as possible. This includes:
- Medical bills
- Doctor’s notes of treatments and procedures
- Physical therapy bills, referrals, and treatment plans
- Lost wages
- A copy of the police report
- Photos or videos of your injuries/progress or lack thereof
- Funeral and burial expenses
5. Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer
After suffering any injury on account of a drunk driving accident, whether they were minor or catastrophic injuries, reliving the experience is probably the last thing you want to do. However, you likely also suffered a great deal of personal and financial loss, and although the driver will likely face a DWI charge complete with jail time and fines, you need your own lawyer to help you sue for the damages you suffered.
Hiring a drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand your rights, prove that the accident was caused as a result of the driver’s drinking and driving, and work to award you the damages you need and deserve.
Keep reading: When to get an attorney for a car accident (Hint: It’s as soon as possible!)
Differences between drunk driving and car accident cases
Drunk driving cases and car accident cases are similar in the sense that both can involve serious injuries and will require that you prove fault in order to negotiate a settlement with insurance. The two biggest differences, however, are that:
- In drunk driving cases, proving that the other driver was driving drunk is enough to prove negligence.
- You are more likely to receive punitive damages (or damages intended to punish the negligent behavior) from a drunk driving accident than you would be if you were injured in a regular car accident.
Are drunk drivers always at fault in Texas? Texas is an at-fault state when it comes to auto accident insurance claims meaning that the person responsible for the accident is also responsible for paying for damages. If you and your attorney can prove that the drunk driver caused the accident, they will be held liable for your damages.
I got hit by a drunk driver, what am I entitled to?
Depending on the outcome of your case, you could be entitled to the following damages:
- Wrongful death damages, including any expenses suffered on account of planning a funeral and burial
- Medical bills and care
- Loss of current or future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If your loved one lost their life as a result of catastrophic injuries suffered from a drunk driving accident, you may also be entitled to damages for lost wages, both previous and future, as well as any medical bills accumulated prior to their death.
Can I sue a drunk driver for an accident? Because Texas is a pure negligence state, you have a right to sue both the drunk driver who hit you or your loved one as well as the insurance company — and potentially the bar or restaurant that over-served the individual who was drinking and driving. To know what options you have available to you, it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in drunk driving cases.
Have you suffered on account of a drunk driving accident? Call the drunk driving accident lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta today!
If you were hit by a drunk driver in Texas, the first thing you should do is check for injuries, and get any necessary medical attention, before calling the police. As long as you are okay to do so, you can begin to gather evidence while you wait for law enforcement to arrive. Proving that the other driver’s drinking and driving was the cause of the car accident is essential to the outcome of your case. As soon as possible, call a top-rated drunk driving accident lawyer in Houston from Grimes & Fertitta.
Our aggressive drunk driving attorneys have experience with cases just like yours and can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove the other driver’s fault while securing you the compensation you so rightfully deserve.
At Grimes & Fertitta, you are much more than just a case number. You are our family. Contact us online or call us at 713-224-7644 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Helpful Articles by Grimes & Fertitta: