What Happens if You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver?
While injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving have been on the decline over the past few decades, the number of accidents that still occur is frighteningly high. Approximately every 20 minutes, someone in Texas is involved in a drunk driving accident and in 2016, nearly 1,000 people in Texas were killed due to drunk driving. If you’ve been involved in a car wreck with a drunk driver, it can be a particularly traumatic event.
If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you should immediately assess the severity of your own injuries and any other people involved in the accident and then ensure that you aren’t exposing yourself to any additional dangers from oncoming vehicles. Your next step is to call the police to report the accident. Don’t give the other driver a choice in whether or not to call the police, and under no circumstances should you heed a drunk driver’s pleas to not call the police. Not only does the state of Texas require an accident involving injuries to be reported, but the police may be able to help you should you need to seek out compensation for your injuries or damages.
The police may be able to take a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement and arrest the driver, which would strengthen your case. The police will also file an accident report which details how the vehicles were damaged, what injuries were suffered, and who they believe was at fault, which can carry a great deal of weight of court.
A driver arrested for drunk driving may receive jail time, probation, a suspended license, fines, or a combination of these. And while criminal law exists to punish those who break the law, it does not exist to compensate the victims. If you were hurt by a drunk driver, then you must file a claim with their insurance company in order to recover money for medical bills, car repairs, missed work, and so forth.
Texas is an at-fault state, which means that all drivers have the right to compensation if the accident was not their fault, regardless of whether or not the other driver was intoxicated or whether or not the other driver was officially charged with drunk driving. That being said, having evidence through arrest records and a police report that the other driver was intoxicated and caused the car wreck will likely streamline the process of receiving compensation due to a drunk driving accident.
Your next step is to speak with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney because in some instances, there may be the possibility of seeking compensation from not only the driver and their insurance company but also from the bar or establishment that served them too much. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission exists to ensure that anyone selling alcohol follows the same rules, which includes not selling alcohol to someone who is already visibly intoxicated. If that customer gets behind the wheel and causes an accident, then both the driver and the bar can be held legally responsible due to the Texas Dram Shop Law.
Alcohol and automobiles are never a good mix, and there is no reason that you should have to suffer physically or financially for the poor decisions and negligence of others, which is why you need an experienced car accident attorney like those at Fears Nachawati.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, then contact the Austin car wreck attorneys at Fears Nachawati for your free, no-obligation legal consultation to see what recourses may be available to you. Please call (866) 705-7584, or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.