Euless DUI Lawyers
Helping Drunk Driving Victims Move Forward
How many times have you gone out for a fun night and come back home without a problem? More than you can count if you’re like the rest of us. But all it takes is one drunk driver, one individual who is having themselves a party without a care in the world, to ruin an otherwise wonderful evening.
Drunk driving kills roughly 30 Americans each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks, you should never involve a motor vehicle as part of your drinking plans.
Whether the drunk driver was out because they truly lacked any care about their condition, they failed to recognize how intoxicated they were, or they felt they had no other choice since they didn’t have a designated driver, it simply doesn’t matter. Their choice to get behind the wheel caused the accident you were in and the injuries you suffered, so it is only right that you seek compensation for the damages their choice to drive drunk ended up costing you.
Does a Drunk Driver Need to be Convicted of a DUI to be Held Accountable?
In order for a drunk driver to be made to face the consequences of their actions, there must be a criminal trial to determine if they were guilty of a DUI. This isn’t the responsibility of those who are injured by a drunk driver, it is up to law enforcement officers to charge somebody with drunk driving, and then prosecutors must prove it while the defense’s attorney tries to contest it.
When it comes to seeking compensation for damages suffered at the hands of a drunk driver, you may think that the legal system has to first hold them accountable. However, this is thankfully not the case at all.
A criminal trial has a much higher burden of proof than a civil proceeding does. This means that it is possible to hold somebody accountable for the damages their drunk driving caused you, even when they aren’t convicted of a DUI or when they plead guilty to a lesser charge.
This means that there is no direct tie between a victim’s ability to seek compensation following a drunk driving accident and the state’s ability to convict the driver in a court of law. The more important factor is acting quickly since you only have two years from the date of the accident in which you can file a lawsuit to seek damages from a drunk driving accident.
What Type of Compensation Can I Get from a DUI Accident?
You can receive compensation for many of the damages you suffered due to the DUI accident you were involved in. Too often, people don’t realize that they can seek compensation for things like emotional distress, and so they don’t seek the type of compensation they deserve.
The following types of compensation may be available to you as a victim of a drunk driving accident:
- Compensatory Damages: Compensatory damages is a broad category of damages that you could be compensated for. The idea is that these are compensation for what you suffered. Compensatory damages include medical bills (both past and future); wages you lost because you were unable to work; loss of earning capacity; emotional distress; disfigurement; disability; any home modifications that must be made, such as adding a wheelchair ramp.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are set to punish the perpetrator for the irresponsible or reckless behavior that they engaged in. Since these are additional punishments for the drunk driver, it must be shown that they had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. If that’s the case, then punitive damages could be awarded if it can be proven that the individual acted with a conscious disregard for others’ rights and safety.
- Wrongful Death: Wrongful death occurs when an individual is killed due to the recklessness or negligence of another person, in this case, a person who was driving while intoxicated. A family member could file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for medical bills leading up to the death; funeral expenses; the loss of future income represented by their passing; property damages; mental anguish and suffering; loss of care and services.
Who Can You Hold Accountable Following a Drunk Driving Accident?
First, if you have been injured by a drunk driver, then you can hold them accountable. This is regardless of whether or not you were driving, a passenger in a vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist. If you were acting responsibly, then chances are very good that you will receive compensation.
But depending on the circumstances of the accident, the driver may not be the only party to blame for your injuries. If the circumstances are right, then the following parties may also be liable:
- The Driver’s Employer: If the drunk driver was acting within the scope of their employment, then you may be able to hold the employer accountable. So a drunk pizza delivery driver that crashed while on delivery could result in the victim holding both the driver and the pizza company liable.
- The Store That Sold the Alcohol: Texas law grants you the right to hold liable any business that sold alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer or a minor if that intoxicated customer causes an accident that injures you or a loved one.
- A Social Host: If the host of a party serves alcohol to a non-related minor and that minor causes an accident that harms you or a loved one, then you could hold that host liable.
Should I Speak to a DUI Lawyer?
The first thing you should do following a drunk driving accident is to seek medical assistance and ensure that your life is not in any further danger. Your second step should be getting an attorney.
There is only a limited window of time to seek compensation following a drunk driving accident. Don’t miss your window to recover damages; contact The Wolf of Law Street by calling (972) 573-4532 to speak to an attorney and learn more about how we can help you move forward following your drunk driving accident.