What to Do If You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
Feb. 7, 2023
Drinking and driving is among the leading causes of traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities in Texas and across the United States. Unfortunately, victims of drunk driving accidents are often confused about the next steps to take or how to pursue damages for their injuries. A highly skilled Texas personal injury attorney can explore your available options to recover damages when hit by a drunk driver.
At Tormey & McConnell, our attorneys have devoted their careers to protecting the best interests of drunk driving accident victims and their families. Using our extensive knowledge, we can evaluate every aspect of your case, fight vigorously for your rights, and help you pursue the financial justice you deserve. Our firm proudly represents clients across Amarillo, Canyon, Borger, Dumas, Childress, Pampa, and Hereford, Texas.
Steps to Take If You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
Getting hurt in an accident involving a drunk driver can be overwhelming. Regardless, you should stay calm and remain in control of the situation. Below are the necessary steps to take after getting hit by a drunk driver:
Carefully leave your vehicle and get to safety. Assist other accident victims if you can.
Call 911 to get immediate medical treatment for your injuries to yourself and others.
Report the incident and give a well-detailed statement to the police.
If you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated, take mental notes.
Document the police report, accident scene pictures, testimonies and statements from witnesses, and other physical evidence.
Document all medical records, expenses, and treatments received.
Document your personal account of the incident and its impact on your day-to-day life and work.
Notify your insurance carrier about the drunk driving crash.
Hire a reliable lawyer to help file your injury claims and handle all negotiations with the insurance company.
However, you need to act immediately to preserve evidence and avoid forgetting important details about the drunk driving accident. A seasoned Texas auto accident lawyer can assess every detail of your unique situation and help establish liability in your injury claims.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas
Under Texas law, drunk driving – driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol – is negligence per se. As such, a drunk driver who causes a traffic crash will be automatically negligent and liable for the injuries and damages suffered by the victim.
To prove negligence per se in a personal injury case, the claimant must show that:
The defendant's actions violated a statute, such as speeding or DUI.
The defendant's actions proximately caused the victim's injury.
The victim was within the class of persons which the statute was designed to protect.
In most drunk driving accident cases, the at-fault party (the drunk driver who caused the accident) will be held financially liable for the victim's injuries. However, there are specific situations where an alcohol-serving establishment may be held accountable for serving or selling alcohol to a driver in Texas.
Texas Dram Shop Liability
According to the Texas Dram Shop Act, a bar owner, bar, or alcohol-serving establishment may be held liable for selling, providing, or serving an alcoholic beverage to a person who causes a personal injury or property damage if:
The individual being served, sold, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated.
The recipient's intoxication caused the injury or damages suffered by the victim.
The recipient is a minor below 18 years.
Also, driving while under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offense in Texas. Hence, proving negligence and establishing liability in your case should be relatively easy.
Punitive Damages for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries or Wrongful Death
Additionally, exemplary damages or punitive damages may be awarded in a Texas drunk driving accident case to further penalize the defendant for their gross misconduct or negligence and to warn others. A trusted attorney can help file your injury claims, seek to establish liability, and help pursue the maximum available damages for your injuries.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
However, if the drunk driving accident caused the victim's death, their surviving loved ones may be able to pursue wrongful death benefits. In Texas, any of the following individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim:
The decedent's spouse
The deceased person's parents
The decedent's children
An adopted child – provided that the adoption was legal and successful.
The personal representative of the decedent's estate after three calendar months of the death.
A seasoned Texas wrongful death attorney can help file your claims and pursue the rightful financial compensation for your loss.
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Being involved in a drunk driving accident can be devastating and emotional. Thankfully, Texas personal injury laws allow injured victims to seek compensation for damages through a claim or lawsuit. At Tormey & McConnell, our attorneys are poised and ready to help you hold those responsible for your injuries and damages accountable.
As your legal counsel, we can investigate every surrounding detail of your case, enlighten you about the next steps to take, and assist you with your injury claims. Also, our trusted lawyers will fight zealously to advocate for your best interests and help pursue the rightful financial compensation for your injuries, damages, or losses.
If you were injured in an auto accident involving a drunk driver, contact us at Tormey & McConnell today to schedule a simple case assessment. Our seasoned attorneys can offer you the personalized legal guidance and vigorous representation you need in your drunk driving accident claims. We're proud to serve clients throughout Amarillo, Canyon, Borger, Dumas, Childress, Pampa, and Hereford, Texas.