Katy, Texas, is famous for its religious history and is even known as the “City of Churches.” Unfortunately, modern-day Katy struggles with a national problem that impacts every community: drunk driving.
If you’ve suffered injury or lost a loved one due to a drunk driving accident in Katy, call Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, now. Our Katy Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers are here to help you through this traumatic time.
Drunk driving accidents can cause serious injury and emotional trauma. Don’t try to handle it alone. If you partner with us, we will fight to see that justice is served in your case.
We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for FREE, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now to submit your case for review.
Receiving Compensation for Injuries After a Drunk Driving Accident
Financial responsibility is expressed as monetary compensation for injury and harm, whether the injuries and harm are physical, emotional, or mental.
Injury victims have the right to seek compensation for the following:
- Medical bills, both current and future – This category includes emergency treatment, transport, diagnostic tests, doctor’s office visits, hospitalization, surgery, assistive devices, prescription medication, physical therapy, retrofitting a home, and more.
- Income lost from work – If your injuries require you to stay home from work, you can be reimbursed for your lost wages.
- Value of lifetime earnings – If injuries caused disability and left a victim unable to work, the victim can seek compensation for lost earning potential.
- Physical property damage – The liable party must replace physical private property, such as a totaled car or any other belongings damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering – A drunk driving accident can leave mental and emotional scars. If you’re coping with PTSD symptoms or depression after your accident, you deserve compensation.
Drunk driving victims have options. They can seek damage compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company, from the victim’s own insurance company (which will turn around and file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer), or by filing a drunk driving accident claim in civil court.
Note that Texas drunk driving penalties are criminal charges. The police charge these individuals, and prosecutors try their cases in criminal court, not civil court. While it might satisfy injured parties to think of the drunk driver receiving criminal punishment, the two cases are entirely separate. Even if the drunk driver somehow beats the criminal charges, you can still receive a financial settlement in civil court. That’s why it’s important to act fast and build your case, even if the drunk driver walked away in handcuffs.
Receiving Compensation for a Death After a Drunk Driving Accident
What if a loved one dies at the hands of a drunk driver? Is financial compensation still available for their families? Yes, there’s hope.
Texas law recognizes that no financial compensation can erase the tragic loss of a loved one, but close family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit if the decedent could have brought a drunk driving accident suit had they lived.
These suits recognize the contributions of the departed, and strive to protect surviving family members financially.
Compensation may include the following damages:
- Mental and emotional anguish, pain, and suffering on the part of the decedent
- Lost earning capacity of the decedent
- Lost care, maintenance, services, and support that the decedent would have provided surviving family members had they lived
- Lost love, companionship, and comfort
- Lost inheritance, including what the decedent would likely have passed on to surviving loved ones after a normal life span
Parties entitled to bring a wrongful death suit are:
- Surviving spouses
- Children, including adopted children and adult children
- Parents, including adoptive parents
How to Determine if You Should Seek Compensation
After most vehicle accidents, victims in Texas can sue at-fault parties to receive compensation for any injuries sustained.
The Lone Star State is a fault state, which means the at-fault party must pay those who were injured in the accident.
What does “fault” mean? Courts determine fault by assessing negligence. Negligence constitutes any failure to provide an expected “duty of care” toward other motorists and the public, including pedestrians and other passersby.
A driver’s duty of care, for example, is to obey all traffic laws and to drive safely, regardless of conditions. In other words, if we’re having a thunderstorm in Katy, and it’s not safe to drive at the posted speed limit, drivers should exercise extra caution and slow down to a safe speed. If they do not, their failure constitutes negligence.
Negligent parties are financially responsible, or liable, for the injuries caused by the accident.
Note that parties other than drivers can exhibit negligence and be held accountable as well. An auto manufacturer that produces unsafe products, for example, can bear responsibility, as can a repair shop or mechanic who performed shoddy work.
Long story short: if your accident stemmed from the negligent actions of any other party, that party bears financial responsibility for your injuries.
Are Any Other Parties Ever Liable?
Do you know about Texas dram shop laws? Third parties like bars and bartenders may bear liability for drunk driving accidents if they overserved a patron who later caused a drunk driving accident. That’s right: in the eyes of lawmakers, providing alcohol contributes to drunk driving accidents just as surely—if less directly—than getting behind the wheel does.
Parties potentially bearing liability include:
- Bars, restaurants, and other alcohol sellers that provide alcohol to minors younger than 18
- Bars, restaurants, and other alcohol sellers that provide alcohol to obviously drunk people whose behavior indicates potential risks of harm to themselves and others
- Adult hosts who provide alcohol to minors younger than 18
In these cases, the court must deem these injuries a foreseeable result of the drunk driver’s intoxication.
Potential Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers in Katy
Accidents caused by drunk drivers in Katy can result in injuries ranging from minor to major. Drunk driving accidents often cause some of the most serious injuries the human body can sustain, such as spinal cord damage. A catastrophic injury, like spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI), can leave victims unable to work, unable to care for themselves, and in need of permanent live-in help.
Potential injuries from a Katy drunk driving accident include:
- Cuts, sprains, and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries
- Bone fractures, to arms, legs, ribcage, sternum, skull, back, and more
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- Spinal cord injury and nerve injury
- Internal injuries
- Amputations (loss of limb)
What to Do if You Are in an Accident With a Drunk Driver in Katy
What should motorists and pedestrians do if they’re in an accident with a drunk driver? It can be hard to think straight in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re likely in shock. However, if you try your best to follow a few steps, you can improve your chances of recovery both physically and financially.
First and foremost, ensure your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident. If possible, move yourself and your vehicle out of the way of further harm. Get out of the path of traffic and, if the drunk driver seems aggressive or dangerous, stay away from the driver.
Second, call 911. This is not only a good idea, it’s the law in Texas. For any accidents in which people suffer injuries, death, or property loss of more than $1,000, you must call 911. If you suspect drunk driving, tell the operator immediately.
Third, when law enforcement arrives, answer all questions fully and honestly. The officers will compile a police report outlining the details of the accident. They will talk to all drivers and eyewitnesses. They will also survey the surroundings for signs of how the accident happened, including the condition of the cars, where they received impact, and any other signs, such as tire marks on the road and damage to barriers, trees, or other nearby objects.
Mention your suspicions about drunk driving to the officer while out of earshot of the other driver. You may have noticed unsafe driving, such as swerving between lanes, excessive speeding, or ignoring stop and caution signals. You may smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, see alcohol in the vehicle, or see other signs of a DWI, such as difficulty walking or talking coherently.
Law enforcement officials may notice some of these signs as well, and they can conduct field sobriety tests (which consist of asking the driver to perform certain tasks that test coordination and physical ability) and perform tests of breath, urine, or blood, if warranted.
When you’re able to, obtain a copy of the police report. It’s your first official piece of valuable evidence, and it may even contain a declaration of who is responsible for the accident.
If eyewitnesses are present, talk to them about what they saw. They’re potentially valuable sources of information. Get their contact information, including email addresses and names.
If it’s safe, obtain contact information from the driver as well. You’ll need their insurance information, including the policy number, plus their name and email address.
If you have a smartphone or other camera available, take as many pictures of the accident scene as you can. Take pictures of the cars from every angle, and get shots of the scene, including any signs of how the accident may have taken place (skid marks, broken barriers, etc).
Medical Attention After a Drunk Driving Accident
If you are a victim who has been seriously hurt at the scene and emergency medical technicians determine you should get in an ambulance, go! Your safety is always paramount. All other important activities, such as exchanging info with the driver and gathering other evidence, become secondary if you need emergency treatment.
Many people hesitate to ride in an ambulance or even seek medical treatment at all. The sad truth is they downplay their injuries because they are afraid of being unable to pay medical bills. Serious injuries may go undetected until it’s too late.
We don’t want it to be like this. That’s why we work hard to connect injured victims with the medical care they need, at no upfront cost. With a determined lawyer on your side, you don’t need to fear being saddled with the burden of medical expenses.
If you did not ride in an ambulance but you still feel hurt, visit a doctor’s office as soon as possible after your accident. Why do you need to see a doctor? Because people can suffer injuries, even very serious ones, without knowing it. You need a medical professional to diagnose you and conduct all of the appropriate tests. Cracked or broken ribs, for example, may feel to you like a tender bruise on your side. But broken ribs can puncture your lungs, which can make it impossible to breathe. Never assume that you don’t need a doctor’s checkup.
After your check-up, follow all of your doctor’s instructions closely. If you fail to do so, the insurance company will present that as a sign that you weren’t seriously injured.
It’s also important to save all of your medical records, including records of treatment, prescriptions for medication, referrals to surgeons, physical therapists, and more—anything about your treatment. It’s all valuable evidence indicating how much your injuries cost, and your diagnoses may even provide evidence about how your accident happened.
Drunk Driving Is a Serious Problem in Katy
Drunk driving is a serious problem across the nation, but it may pose an even more serious danger to motorists in Katy and surrounding areas.
Why? Because Texas experiences a higher percentage of drunk driving accidents than the national average.
A whopping 40% of fatal accidents in Texas involve a drunk driver, but just 29% of fatal accidents nationwide do, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
In addition, Texas’s rate of deaths from drunk driving is far above the national average. In the 21-year-old to 34-year-old age group, for example, Texas’s death rate is 10 per 100,000, while the national rate is just 6.7, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drunk Drivers Pose Dangers to Everyone in Katy
“Drunk” isn’t just a word or an assumption you make about a reckless driver. There are laws and sciences to back it up. The legal limit for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher upon testing. People who surpass this BAC level no longer have the “normal use of mental or physical faculties.”
It’s a proven fact that drunk drivers operate their vehicles more dangerously than sober drivers. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and reflexes. Drunk drivers may feel fine, but in a situation where they have to make split-second decisions for the safety of themselves and others, they will likely falter.
As a result, drunk drivers cause accidents for many different reasons. Alcohol and other substances may impair judgment, lucidity, or consciousness to the point where drivers disobey normal traffic rules, such as breaking the speed limit, zooming through stop signs, and ignoring right-of-way laws.
Drunk drivers may also:
- Swerve, weave, and not stay within their lanes
- Stop suddenly and unnecessarily
- Fail to use their lights or turn signals or fail to notice yours
- Fail to notice slowing traffic or obstacles
- Drive the wrong way on one-way roads or highways
If You Need a Katy Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one needs to talk to a drunk driving lawyer in Katy or the surrounding area, contact Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law and his team today. As personal injury lawyers with over 20 years of experience right here in the Greater Houston area, it’s our honor to help drunk driving accident victims get their lives back on track.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident in Katy, call our office right now for a free consultation! That’s right, the initial meeting occurs at no cost to you. Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here.
If you’re searching for a car accident lawyer in Katy, Texas, look no further. Stewart J. Guss and his team have over 20 years of experience handling insurance accidents claims of all kinds. Whether you were in a car accident or a commercial slip and fall premises liability case, we’re here to help.
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“We received QUALITY service, reliable guidance and we are VERY satisfied with the outcome. Our treatment was both fair & honest; we highly recommend. If one word sums it up, the word would be Exceptional. “Thank you” for all you did!”