You’re a careful driver. You practice defensive driving techniques, and you never get behind the wheel if you’re anything less than sober. Of course you expect the same level of responsibility from other Texas drivers.
You also expect the establishments who serve alcohol in our state will know when to cut off a tipsy patron before they hit the road… but far too often, they don’t, and innocent people like you pay an enormous price in the form of a drunk driving accident.
Pain from the collision won’t go away, and neither will the calls for payment from the hospital. Maybe you’re facing additional bills for follow-up appointments and therapy. Maybe your car is wrecked. You can’t possibly come up with the cash to cover all of those expenses, even if your injuries haven’t put you out of work. You may feel hopeless.
That’s when you need to call the team of Texas personal injury accident lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law.
If a drunk driver caused your injuries, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay for them. Texas law agrees with us. Our Texas law firm is just a phone call or email away, and we’re ready to help you seek justice from that drunk driver right now.
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 who share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you’re located, we may be able to help you, so reach out now. We’re open 24/7 to provide 100% free consultations, so call 800-898-4877 or contact us online TODAY.
Meanwhile, if you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, read on for more information about this dangerous driving practice, the injuries it causes, and how accident victims in Texas can be fairly compensated.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
A child died and another required emergency surgery to treat critical injuries after a recent Texas accident. Authorities reported that the accident occurred when a Mercedes-Benz ML3 broadsided a Hummer H3. The Mercedes allegedly struck the Hummer’s passenger side, causing injury to the two children. A nine-year-old girl succumbed to her injuries several days later. The 34-year-old driver of the Mercedes was subsequently arrested for drunk driving, which police believe contributed to the accident.
Sadly, Texas drunk driving accidents like this one are far too common. In fact, more than a quarter of the fatalities in Texas traffic accidents involve a drunk driver! The numbers definitely sync up with our hard-partying habits: the most common time for a drunk driving accident in the state is between 2 a.m and 3 a.m, and the most common day of the week for this type of accident to occur is on Saturday.
With one person dying every 50 minutes in the U.S. as a result of alcohol-related traffic accidents, drunk driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors of all.
Alcohol causes negative effects on a person’s central nervous system, impacting many of the skills that drivers need to safely operate their motor vehicles. While the legal driver blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08, the impairment of driving skills begins long before a person reaches that level of intoxication. In fact, a person’s ability to track moving targets and multitask are already affected after just one drink!
Here’s a look at the increasing impacts of alcohol impairment:
- At 0.02 BAC (around one drink), a person experiences some loss of judgment and an altered mood.
- At 0.05 BAC, the person experiences impaired judgment, some difficulty focusing their eyes, difficulty detecting danger, reduced coordination, difficulty steering, and a delayed response to emergency situations. (Even with all of these impacts, they’re still legal to drive!)
- At 0.08 BAC, most people experience poor muscle coordination resulting in slurred speech, and difficulties with balance, reaction time, seeing, and hearing. The person loses the ability to concentrate on the tasks of driving or controlling their speed. They also experience short-term memory deficits and impaired perception.
- At 0.10 BAC, all of the same deficits exist as those listed at 0.08 BAC, but sprinkle in some more weaving in and out of lanes.
- At 0.15 BAC, a person experiences substantial impairment that may involve vomiting. The person has extreme difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle, and all of their necessary audio and visual processing capabilities are significantly affected.
The bottom line is this: alcohol impairment increases the risk of an auto accident. A variety of accidents may occur, including:
- Broadside accidents, also known as T-bone collisions, usually occur in intersections. These accidents involve the front of one vehicle striking the side of another.
- Head-on crashes can result from driving the wrong direction, as well as the force of one collision causing a vehicle to enter the opposing traffic lane and cause a secondary crash.
- Rear-end crashes, in which the front of one vehicle slams into the rear of another vehicle.
- Side-swipe crashes, in which one vehicle drifts or swerves into an adjacent lane of travel, causing the side of the vehicle to strike the side of another vehicle.
- Rollover accidents can happen when a drunk driver takes a corner or sharp curve at high speed, runs off the road, or hits something on the road which causes the vehicle to overturn.
Portrait of a Drunk Driver
Any driver in any age demographic can be alcohol-impaired and involved in a crash. However, crash statistics indicate that drunk drivers are more likely to have the following characteristics:
- Male. Around 21% of men involved in fatal crashes are alcohol-impaired (with a BAC of 0.08 or higher), as compared to around 14% of women. There are four male drunk drivers involved in a fatal crash for every one female drunk driver.
- Twenty-something. 27% of drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 who are involved in a fatal crash are alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash, as well as 25% of drivers between the ages of 25 and 34.
- Binge drinking. Binge drinking involves downing several drinks—five for men, four for women—in a short period of time. Binge drinking is involved in around 85% of drinking and driving episodes.
Alcohol-Related Crashes Cost Billions
Even if an accident doesn’t cost you your life, it costs you – and others – big bucks. The economic impact of alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. is estimated to be around $44 billion a year. Included in this figure are costs related to:
- Lost productivity due to injuries and deaths caused by alcohol-impaired driving.
- Workplace losses due to workers who are too injured to work after drunk driving accidents.
- Legal expenses and court costs resulting from personal injury claims and criminal court processes for drunk drivers.
- Medical costs relating to drunk driving accident injuries.
- Emergency medical dispatch services at drunk driving crash scenes.
- The administration of insurance payouts from settlements or awards in drunk driving accidents.
- Property damage, including damage to vehicles as well as damage to guard rails, storefronts, and other physical property damaged during the accidents.
Can This Type of Accident Be Avoided?
Drunk driving crashes are always preventable with the exercise of just a little responsibility on the part of people who chose to drink wether its a truck accident or a car accident its still on the person who chooses to get behind the wheel drunk.
People who drink simply should NOT drive. This is not up for debate. Always arrange a designated driver well before you begin drinking, whether that means a reliable sober friend, a taxi, or a rideshare app. If this falls through, don’t risk driving. Stay put and sleep it off. If you don’t take these precautions, you are liable for the injuries you cause.
Hosts who know that someone is planning to drive after drinking must prevent them from doing so—and yes, this includes bartenders and waitstaff at bars and restaurants. Hosts need to take the keys of guests and help them to arrange a ride or allow them to stay with them until they have had a chance to sober up. Bartenders and waitresses have a responsibility not to overserve their patrons. If not, hosts, restaurants, bars, and other establishments that allow people to drive drunk may face liability for the car accidents that result.
Another friendly reminder: always wear your seat belt. While wearing a seat belt will not prevent a drunk driving crash from occurring, it can reduce your risk of serious injury as the result of a drunk driving crash.
When you’re on the road, you may encounter another driver who is drifting in and out of lanes or exhibiting other behaviors that indicate possible alcohol impairment, such as:
- Unnecessarily wide turns
- Straddling the center lane
- Nearly hitting an object or another vehicle
- Driving at excessively slow or fast speeds
- Stopping for no reason
- Driving in the dark with no headlights
- Abrupt or illegal turns
- A slow response to traffic signals
If so, get out of the path of that individual, pull over, and report the driver to local authorities. You could save someone’s life!
Recovering Damages After a Drunk Driving Crash
If you were injured or if you lost a loved one in a drunk driving crash in Texas, you can seek to recover damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. A brief explanation of these types of legal claims:
If you were injured in an accident in Texas that a drunk driver caused, a personal injury claim can help you recover the compensation you need – and deserve.
A personal injury claim is a lawsuit that you file in civil court. With the guidance and assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, you can establish a value for your case based on the injuries you have experienced and the expenses—both economic and non-economic—you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
These expenses, also known as damages, can include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment at the scene of the accident as well as in the emergency department, transport to the hospital by ambulance or air, hospitalization, physician services, diagnostic testing, surgical services, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost income as a result of being too injured to work or needing to miss work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity resulting from permanent disability or a modification of your job duties.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident. Additionally, you may claim expenses for your rental car while waiting on repairs.
- Non-economic costs to your life, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
There is a statue of limitations in Texas for personal injury lawsuits. Generally, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the accident in Texas, with some exceptions in cases involving injured minors. Ask your attorney if any exceptions could apply to your case.
Texas has the highest number of traffic-related crashes in the nation. It also has the highest number of fatal crashes as a result of alcohol impairment. If you have lost a loved one in a Texas drunk driving crash, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you find closure and recover compensation from the at-fault party.
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims in Texas have a statute of limitations. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date when the death occurred.
To recover damages related to a wrongful death, you must be related to the deceased in one of the following ways:
- The legal spouse of the deceased
- The surviving adult or minor child of the deceased
- The deceased’s parents
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
The damages that you may collect through a wrongful death claim include:
- Medical expenses related to treatment of the deceased’s final injuries
- Funeral expenses and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased due to their final injuries, from the moment of the injury until their death
- Lost wages the deceased would’ve contributed to the household
- Loss of support and care that was provided by the deceased to family members
- Loss of comfort and companionship experienced by the deceased’s family members
- Lost inheritance, which is funds that the deceased would have passed on to their children had they lived long enough to continue earning – and retire from – their chosen career
Let Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys Help You Right Now
While Texas law allows the recovery of the above damages through either a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit, these are not processes you want to tackle your own. Instead, hire our experienced drunk driving accident attorneys to help you pave the way on the path to justice.
A dedicated Texas drunk driving accident lawyer can provide services such as:
- Establishing the value of your case based on the injuries (or death) you have experienced, plus the accompanying costs and impacts that the accident has had on your life.
- Conducting an investigation of your case to determine all sources of potential liability, and uncovering associated insurance resources that can be used to compensate you.
- Filing a timely legal claim within the proper jurisdiction.
- Skillfully negotiating to ensure that you are offered the highest settlement possible in your case.
- Providing knowledgeable guidance and advice to help you decide whether a settlement offer is fair and whether you should accept it.
- Deposing witnesses and gathering evidence that will prove your claim.
- Litigating – in other words, taking your case to court if a fair settlement is not forthcoming.
- Assisting you in collecting your settlement or award from the defendant.
- Providing further representation if the defendant in your case files an appeal.
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 a drunk driver in Texas has hurt you, call our office right now for a free consultation! Since we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you pay us nothing unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
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