If you were involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, it is critical to understand your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should contact an experienced Sugar Land personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are Sugar Land, Texas Drunk Driving Laws?
Driving while Under the Influence (DWI) is a serious crime in Texas. Under Texas law, an individual is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or do not have the normal use of their mental or physical facilities due to alcohol or drugs. A person can be convicted of drunk driving if they operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
• If you are under 21, in Texas, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while having any detectable level of alcohol in your blood.
• If you are a commercial driver in Texas, it is a crime to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.04% or above and is driving a commercial motor vehicle.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured by a Drunk Driver in Sugar Land?
1. Call the police. It is critical to have police documentation that shows the at-fault driver was intoxicated. When the police arrive, you should explain to the officer why you believe that the other is intoxicated (red eyes, slurred speech, an alcoholic smell, etc.). Your statement could help law enforcement establish the necessary grounds for administering a field sobriety test or requesting a blood test.
2. Document the accident. If you are able, take photos and videos of the accident scene. This documentation could end up being important evidence in your case.
3. Get medical treatment. You should get medical treatment from qualified medical professionals for all your injuries. Keep copies of medical records and bills.
4. Call an experienced personal injury attorney well-versed in drunk driver accidents. Reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There is a high likelihood that you will be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.
Are Drunk Driving Accidents Different from Ordinary Car Accidents?
There are two significant differences between drunk driving accidents and ordinary car accident lawsuits in Sugar Land, Texas.
1. Proof of a DWI constitutes negligence per se. In a regular car accident case, the injured party must prove all four elements of negligence (duty, breach, causation, and harm). In a drunk driving accident case, the injured party does not need to prove the first two elements of negligence. They only need to show that the defendant caused their harm.
2. You can recover additional damages in drunk driving accident cases. In DWI accident cases, you are more likely to receive punitive damages.
What is Dram Shop Liability?
In addition to claims against the drunk driver, Texas allows injured individuals to file lawsuits against the bar, restaurant, liquor store, or other businesses that sold alcohol to the drunk driver. The business can be held responsible for your damages if it:
• served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who presented a clear danger to themself as well as others, or
• served alcohol to a minor who then caused a drunk driving accident.
What Compensation is Available If I Was Injured by a Drunk Driver in Sugar Land?
The compensation you will recover if you were injured by a drunk driver depends on your case’s unique facts and circumstances. In general, the following types of damages are available in Sugar Land DWI accident cases:
• Lost wages or lost earnings,
• Lost earning capacity,
• Pain and suffering,
• Loss of enjoyment of life,
• Permanent scarring or disfigurement,
• Funeral expenses, and
• Counseling services, including grief counseling.
In addition to the compensatory damages listed above, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter other drivers from drunk driving.
Your compensation could be lowered if you were partially at fault for the accident. Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means that a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. If the injured party is more than 50% at fault, they are prohibited from recovering any damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver in Sugar Land?
In general, a claimant has two years from the date of the accident to sue a drunk driver in Sugar Land. After two years, you will be likely be barred from filing your claim. Contact Attorney Adam Capetillo at (346) 249-5544 to learn if you have a case and what compensation you should expect.
Your Sugar Land Personal Injury Attorney
Adam Capetillo is an experienced attorney who is familiar with drunk driving accidents that result in injuries, medical bills, lost time at work, and loss of physical property. He will work with you to get you the compensation you deserve.
He is in Sugar Land and serves clients throughout Fort Bend County, Texas. He is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. If you have been injured by a drunk driver in a car accident, we encourage you to call our office today at (346) 249-5544 to schedule a free consultation.