Being hit by a drunk driver is a nightmare no one wants to imagine. Yet it happens far too often. It is a tragic event that can lead to serious injuries – or worse, even death. In this article, our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer answers the questions that are most commonly asked after this kind of horrific event.
Why Us? More About Our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Lawyer
First and foremost, why should you listen to us? We are trial attorneys who have tried more intoxication-related cases than most attorneys in Texas. We have gone to trial on drunk driving cases with the worst facts you can imagine – multiple deaths, multiple injuries, multiple vehicles – we have seen it all. Insurance companies and their lawyers know we are at home in the courtroom – and that makes a difference every step of the way.
Passionate Individualized Representation
Second, and equally important – we are passionate advocates for our clients. We don’t take every case that comes through the door. If we take your case, we take it on as our own, fighting for you as we would fight for our own family member. Finally, we offer transparency in everything we are doing. Known for our high level of communication, you can rest assured you will never be left in the dark about what is happening with your case.
Track Record of Success
We have built a reputation for our unwavering commitment to seeking justice for victims of drunk driving accidents. Our team understands the devastating impact these accidents can have on families. We are committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive legal support to help our clients navigate the complex legal process and secure the compensation they deserve.
We are not only well-versed in the intricacies of Texas law but also have a deep understanding of the local court systems. This local knowledge, combined with our extensive experience in handling drunk driving accident cases, allows us to provide effective, personalized legal strategies for our clients.
Guidance Throughout the Journey
Our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer also believes that no one should have to bear the burden of a drunk driving accident alone. We understand that the aftermath of such an accident can be overwhelming, with victims often facing mounting medical bills, loss of income, and significant pain and suffering. Our goal is to alleviate this burden by providing robust legal representation, allowing our clients to focus on their recovery while we handle the legal complexities.
The Alarming Reality of Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Worth
Drunk driving is a pervasive issue that plagues roads and highways across the United States, and Fort Worth, Texas, is no exception. The devastating impact of these accidents is felt by individuals and families who become unwilling participants in a tragic event that could have been avoided.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in a single year, there were over 13,000 DUI-related crashes in Texas, resulting in more than 500 fatalities. These statistics are not just numbers; they represent lives irrevocably altered by the reckless decisions of intoxicated drivers. Each statistic is a person—a mother, a father, a child—who has suffered due to someone else’s negligence.
In Fort Worth alone, the numbers are equally alarming. The city has seen a significant number of drunk driving accidents, many of which resulted in serious injuries or fatalities. These accidents often involve high speeds and reckless behavior, leading to devastating consequences for those involved.
What happens after a drunk driving accident?
In Texas, if a drunk driver hits and causes injury or death to someone, they can face severe legal consequences, both in criminal and civil courts.
Civil Liability for Drunk Drivers
The drunk driver can be held liable in a civil lawsuit for the damages they caused. The injured party or the family of the deceased can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, funeral costs, and more.
Liability for the Driver
In Texas, as in most states, a plaintiff in a drunk driving accident case typically needs to establish the following elements to prove liability:
1. Duty of Care:
The plaintiff must first establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care. In the context of driving, this is generally straightforward, as all drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner.
2. Breach of Duty:
The plaintiff must then show that the defendant breached this duty of care. In a drunk driving case, this could be demonstrated by showing that the defendant was driving while intoxicated, which is illegal and generally considered a breach of the duty to drive safely.
The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries. This means showing that the accident would not have occurred but for the defendant’s intoxicated driving.
Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages as a result of the accident. This could include physical injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
On September 1, 2023, a new law went into effect establishing Mandatory Restitution for Child of Victim of Intoxication Manslaughter. This statute mandates that a person convicted of intoxication manslaughter must pay restitution to a child under the age of 18 when the parent loses their life to a drunk driver. Our experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you maximize the amount the court orders in restitution.
Liability for Bars, Restaurants, and Other Establishments
In Texas, the Dram Shop Act allows victims of drunk driving accidents to hold alcohol providers, such as bars or restaurants, liable for damages if they served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who subsequently caused an accident. To establish dram shop liability, the following elements typically need to be proven:
1. Sale of Alcohol:
The establishment sold or provided alcohol. This is usually straightforward to prove with a receipt or other transaction record.
2. Obvious Intoxication:
The person was obviously intoxicated to the extent that they presented a clear danger to themselves and others at the time they were served alcohol. This can be more challenging to prove and may require witness testimony, surveillance footage, or other evidence.
The serving of alcohol was a proximate cause of the damages suffered. This means that the plaintiff must prove that the intoxication caused by the alcohol served by the establishment led to the accident and subsequent injuries or damages.
It’s important to note that Texas follows a comparative fault rule, which means that the court will assign a percentage of blame to each party involved. If the intoxicated person is found to be more than 50% at fault, the alcohol provider cannot be held liable.
It’s important to note that the legal processes in criminal and civil courts are separate and have different standards of proof. A conviction in a criminal case does not automatically guarantee a successful outcome in a civil lawsuit, and vice versa.
The criminal consequences can include:
1. Intoxication Assault:
If a drunk driver causes serious bodily injury to another person, they can be charged with intoxication assault, a third-degree felony in Texas. This can result in a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
2. Intoxication Manslaughter:
If a drunk driver causes the death of another person, they can be charged with intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony in Texas. This can result in a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
3. DWI with Child Passenger:
If a drunk driver is caught with a child under 15 years old in the car, regardless of whether an accident occurs, they can be charged with a state jail felony, which can result in a jail sentence of 180 days to 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The Indispensable Role of a Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
When you or a loved one becomes a victim of a drunk driving accident, the aftermath can be overwhelming. You’re left dealing with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. Amidst this turmoil, it’s crucial to have a trusted advocate by your side. This is where a Fort Worth drunk driving accident lawyer, like ours at the Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, plays an indispensable role.
Our Fort Worth drunk driving accident lawyer’s role extends beyond the courtroom. We are your advocate, counselor, and guide throughout the legal process. We start by providing a thorough evaluation of your case, helping you understand your rights and the potential avenues for seeking compensation. We then gather evidence, consult with experts, and build a robust case to prove the drunk driver’s negligence.
We understand that every case is unique, requiring a personalized approach. We take the time to understand our clients’ specific circumstances, needs, and goals. This client-centered approach enables us to provide tailored legal solutions that align with our client’s best interests.
We also recognize the emotional toll a drunk driving accident can take on victims and their families. We are not just lawyers; we are a support system for our clients, providing them with the confidence and peace of mind they need to focus on their recovery.
Navigating the Aftermath: Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident
The moments following a drunk driving accident can be chaotic and overwhelming. Amid the shock and confusion, it’s crucial to know the steps to take to protect your rights and interests. Here are some tips from our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident lawyer:
1. Ensure Safety and Call for Help
The first priority after any accident is to ensure the safety of all involved. If possible, move to a safe location away from traffic. Immediately call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s essential to get checked out, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
2. Report the Incident
When law enforcement arrives, provide an accurate account of the incident. Remember, this report can be a crucial piece of evidence in your case. Be honest and consistent in your statements, but avoid speculating about fault.
3. Gather Evidence
If it’s safe to do so, gather as much evidence as possible from the accident scene. This includes taking photos of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, any visible injuries, and any signs of intoxication from the other driver. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately. Prompt medical attention not only ensures your well-being but also establishes a record of your injuries, which can be vital in your case.
5. Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Reach out to a Fort Worth drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyers can provide immediate advice and start working on your case right away. We can guide you through the legal process, handle communications with insurance companies, and work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve.
6. Maintain Records
Keep detailed records of everything related to the accident, including medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, and any other expenses incurred due to the accident. Also, document your physical and emotional state following the accident. These records can be crucial in establishing the extent of your damages.
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents often result in severe and sometimes life-altering injuries. The physical trauma inflicted in these incidents can lead to a long road of recovery, with some victims never fully regaining their pre-accident health. The Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, a premier law firm in Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas, has extensive experience representing victims who have suffered a wide range of injuries in drunk driving accidents.
One of the most common injuries in drunk driving accidents is whiplash. This occurs when the force of the collision causes the head and neck to whip back and forth rapidly, damaging the soft tissues of the neck. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Another frequent injury is traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can occur when the head violently hits an object or when the force of the crash causes the brain to move within the skull. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, leading to cognitive impairment, behavioral changes, and other long-term complications.
Broken bones are also common in drunk driving accidents, with the ribs, arms, and legs being particularly vulnerable. These injuries can require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. In severe cases, victims may suffer permanent disability.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are another serious consequence of drunk driving accidents. These can lead to partial or complete paralysis, significantly impacting the victim’s quality of life and requiring lifelong care and support.
The attorneys at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group understand the devastating impact of these injuries. They work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the compensation they need to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The firm’s attorneys also recognize that the impact of these injuries extends beyond the physical. Victims often suffer emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. We factor these non-economic damages into our compensation claims, advocating for our clients’ overall well-being.
Call Our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Choosing the right Fort Worth drunk driving accident lawyer is a crucial step in your pursuit of justice. Give us at call at (817) 207-4878 to find out why we have become a top choice for pursing drunk drivers.