If you or your passengers were injured in an accident involving a drunk driver in Texas, you have many options for seeking recovery for your injuries.
You can, of course, seek to recover from the drunk driver’s insurance company. The driver may be charged with a DUI at the scene, but, except to the extent it helps you recover, that is cold comfort to you or others injured. If either the driver’s or your own insurance company declines to settle, you can pursue litigation against them. Your potential losses are extensive:
- Medical fees and expenses
- Loss of wages or earnings
- Loss of earning capacity for the future
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Counseling expenses, especial where disfigurement or death is involved
- Loss of quality of life
- Ongoing therapy and costs of assistive devices
Texas law also permits the recovery of punitive damages in car accidents against the drunk driver. Punitive damages are intended both as a punishment for the driver and as a deterrent for other drivers.
Dram Shop Liability
Drunk drivers are not born drunk; someone has to serve them alcohol. For this reason, Texas permits victims of drunk driving accidents to file lawsuits against the bar, restaurant, liquor store, or other business engaged in selling liquor that sold alcohol to the impaired driver. This lawsuit is known as a dram shop liability case. It is based on the theory that businesses show be held responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by a drunk driver under certain circumstances. The required circumstances for dram shop liability are:
- The business served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual presenting a clear danger to the intoxicated individual and others
- The business served alcohol to a minor who then caused a drunk driving car accident.
The dram shop liability case can be brought in addition to any other legal claims against the impaired driver and that driver’s insurance company. The business that improperly served the driver can be held financially responsible for any resulting property damage, physical injuries, or wrongful deaths caused by the drunk driver. If you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the business was grossly negligent in serving the impaired driver, you may also be able to recover punitive damages in the dram shop action.
Actions against the Impaired Driver
Texas law also permits you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the impaired driver. You have two years to do so under the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits.
Gather Evidence at the Scene
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver, make sure to gather all the evidence you can at the scene or later. You will want to obtain and keep copies of any accident reports, citations, and blood or breathalyzer results. You will also want to get witness contact information and exchange insurance and contact information with any involved drivers.
Contact a Texas Car Accident Attorney Today!
Drunk driving cases, because there are so many potential parties, can be extremely complicated. For this reason, you want to be sure to work with an attorney whose practice is concentrated on car accident cases. Contact us today for a free initial consultation on your case.