Houston Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer
Despite the presence of strict DUI and drunk driving laws, alcohol-related crashes are still responsible for 24% of all fatal accidents in Texas and 30 fatalities per day across the U.S. If you or a relative have been injured due to an irresponsible drunk driver, let the experts at Fitts Law Firm fight passionately on your behalf to maximize your compensation.
Texas Drunk Driving Laws
Did you know that nearly 1,200 people have died due to drunk driving in 2017 alone. Furthermore, the Houston area cities lead the state in the most drunk driving fatalities. Here are the current drunk driving laws related to consumption in Texas.
- You must be 21 years old to purchase and/or drink alcohol in the State of Texas.
- It is illegal for motorists aged 21 and over who are not operating commercial vehicles to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
- All 50 states prohibit driving a vehicle with a BAC over .08%
- Commercial vehicle drivers are forbidden to drive if their BAC falls above .04%
Impaired driving in Texas and its consequences may depend on the following:
- The driver’s age (below or above 21 years old)
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
- Driving with a child
- Damages and injuries sustained by other individuals (i.e.: passengers or other driver/s).
- Background of DUIs
- Vehicle type (e.g., government or commercial vehicle).
The following are the penalties for violating the above-mentioned laws:
- For someone convicted of a first-time offense, they are required to pay a fine up to $2,000 and/or spend as much as 180 days in jail. Furthermore, the penalty includes suspending their driver’s license for 90 days.
- For anyone who gets caught driving while intoxicated twice within five years of the first offense, they face a potential one-year jail sentence and/or a hefty $4,000 fine. In addition to this punishment, their driver’s license will be suspended for twelve months.
- If a person commits their third DWI within five years of the prior offense, they risk up to a 10-year imprisonment and/or an exorbitant fine of $10,000. Additionally, their driver’s license will be suspended for one year.
Not only could drunk drivers face criminal repercussions for their actions, but they would also be held financially accountable for any damages or injuries that arose from their negligence.
5 Important Things to Do After Getting Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident
If you are ever in the unfortunate position to be involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you have various tasks you must do to protect yourself. Below are some of the things you can do if you find yourself involved in a drunk driving accident.
Contact Law Enforcement
As soon as possible, call the police and explain that the other driver may be inebriated. A person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) decreases after they have stopped drinking, meaning there is a chance of it dropping even further with time passing by. To protect yourself and those onsite, call for help from law enforcement who can also provide emergency medical attention if needed.
Observe the Other Driver
After the accident, pay close attention to the other driver’s behavior and document anything that stands out immediately. Penning down your observations or taking photographs and is vital since emotions tend to be very high following an accident and memories can quickly fade away. This way, you’ll have a precise account of what happened in case it is needed by law enforcement, government officials or the insurance companies.
Take Pictures or Videos of the Scene
Capture visual photographs and videos of the crash site, property damage and injuries suffered by those involved. Obtain contact information from bystanders who observed what happened.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, TX
An experienced accident lawyer can help guide you through all emotions and complexities of getting compensated for any injuries. Most lawyers like those from Fitts Law Firm offer a free consultation to get started — don’t hesitate to take advantage!
Be Watchful of The Insurance Company
It is vital that you contact a lawyer before reporting the accident to your insurance company. Never provide any statements to the other driver’s insurer without consulting with legal counsel first, as adjusters seek to lessen their client’s responsibility and could use whatever you say against you in order to lower your settlement value.
Above all else, prioritize your health and the well-being of those traveling with you. If medical treatment is required, make sure to consult a doctor immediately and adhere to their advice by completing an entire course of treatment when instructed.
The Driver’s Consequences
If a police officer believes that a driver is impaired, they may request the driver to take either an alcohol breath test or sobriety exam. Refusal of a breathalyzer will result in immediate license revocation and arrest without further consideration. When the police susbect that the motorist was operating under influence, then and there, he or she shall be arrested and sent into custody immediately. In case if any injury has been caused, then medical attention shall be provided at a nearby healthcare facility for proper care and treatment.
Depending on the gravity of the accusations, a driver may face jail time, steep fines, revocation or suspension of their license and be required to install an ignition interlock device.
A Guide on Filing Suit Against a Drunk Driver in Houston, TX
If you or someone close to you has sustained harm and/or property damage due to a drunk driver or a DUI driver, legal action may be taken against this person for compensation. Commonly known as “compensatory” damages, these can include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Past and future lost wages
- Property damages to their vehicle
The court system may impose punitive damages in certain, rare cases to reprimand a person for their behavior and stop them from ever repeating it. These types of damages are not simply given as compensation; they serve only to punish the wrongdoer when other measures have proven inadequate or insufficient.
How do you maximize your claim for damages from a drunk driver?
Recovering from the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be a daunting and complicated process, so it is best to wait until you have fully recovered medically. If the drunk driver has insurance, their policy should pay you damages. In the event the drunk driver is uninsured or is underinsured, then if you have underinsured or uninsured coverage, your policy may be able to pay you for your medical bills, pain and suffering and property damage.
An experienced Houston drunk driving personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable support during this time by helping you create an effective action plan with strategies in place to secure fair compensation.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are aiming to reduce their responsibility and settle for the smallest amount of money as soon as possible. Therefore, never agree to anything without consulting a lawyer first! They have professionals in their side and so should you.
Texas Dram Shop Law
If a drunk driver was served at a place of business before they hit you, you might have a claim against the establishment who served them alcohol. This is especially true if they showed signs of intoxicating behavior before they left the bar, restaurant or other venue.
Driving Under the influence of drugs is the same as Drunk Driving
Pay attention to the fact that driving under the influence of alcohol is not the only crime taken seriously in Texas. Operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs (legal or illegal) will also result in serious DUI charges and penalties.
Fitts Law Firm’s highly experienced and well-practiced personal injury lawyers in Houston, TX are here to successfully represent you in events that you find yourself involved in a vehicular accident caused by a person driving under the influence.
Call Today 1-800-99-FITTS.