Quick Answer – Usually, The Drunk Driver
When a drunk driver causes an accident, they are almost always the liable party. In order to be liable for an accident, you must have acted negligently. To act negligently, you must owe a duty of care to another party involved and must breach that duty of care with your unreasonable actions.
When you get behind the wheel of a car in Texas, you automatically assume a duty of care; this is a legal obligation to act in a way that ensures the safety of others. Deciding to get behind the wheel of your car while drunk or intoxicated is automatic negligence. A reasonable driver would never get behind the wheel of the car when they are intoxicated.
This means that any accident caused by a drunken driver automatically covers the first two important elements of a negligence case, the duty of care, and the breaching of the duty of care.
This means that your attorney will only need to prove the last two elements, causation and damages.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today!
Drunk driving accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries, even the death of a loved one. Alcohol severely impairs the judgment of those who are drunk. It also reduces reaction times, makes it less likely that a driver spots a hazard, and less likely they apply the brakes early enough.
If you have been involved in an accident involving an intoxicated person, the accident was most likely not your fault, and you deserve to pursue the recovery of any damages you have suffered. You also deserve to hold them accountable and should be compensated for the pain and suffering they have put you through.
In order to do this, your best options are to pursue compensation with the strongest possible legal representation. A skilled drunk driving accident attorney from Abraham Watkins, will be able to help you build your case. They will find the evidence that corroborates your story and they will speak to the relevant emergency services to obtain BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) results.
We have been serving the state of Texas since 1951, making us one of the longest serving law firms in the entire state. Over the last 70 years our attorneys have fought on behalf of countless victims, in cases similar to yours. We can draw upon these successful cases, allowing us to tailor bespoke strategies that cover all angles. We work tirelessly around the clock so you can rest easy knowing that you have a skilled attorney behind you, and a law office and legal team with over 70 years of pedigree.
When you have been dealt a bad card, and have suffered an accident that happened through no fault of your own, you need an advocate, one you can trust to pursue your case to the fullest extent of their ability. We pride ourselves on being that advocate to our clients.
We offer everyone a free consultation, this gives you an opportunity to ask questions, and get to know your potential attorney.
Call us now on 713-535-9319.
Why Choose Abraham Watkins After a Drunk Driving Crash
When you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, proving they are liable, calculating your damages and building your case is a task for your attorney and this means choosing the right firm is important.
Here is what makes the team here at Abraham Watkins, the right choice:
- Our drunk driving incident attorneys will always be prepared to litigate in court if necessary. If the case does not look like it will settle for a fair and reasonable amount, we have no qualms pushing for a court battle. Our attorneys are all trial tested and we have as many victories in court as we do out of court.
- We have over 70 years of experience serving the state of Texas and helping victims just like you to pursue what they are owed.
- At Abraham Watkins, our goal is to offer reliable representation to all victims. We offer a free initial consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront and only have to pay our fees if we win your case. We take on the risk so you can pursue your claim with confidence. If you lose, you do not pay a penny. If you win, we take a percentage of your settlement as our fees. We will not sting you with hidden fees, everything we do is crystal clear and laid out in the initial meeting for all to see.
- We place a lot of stock in building a confidence inspiring attorney client relationship. This means we always take the time to listen and we always keep you educated and informed throughout the entire case.
- Over our 70 years of experience, we have built up a reputation as a law firm that provides skilled, aggressive advocacy for our clients. Our reputation for reliable representation means that many of the insurers in the state know our name and will think twice about fighting a court battle with our attorneys. This means you are more likely to receive a fair and reasonable settlement out of court.
Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident in Texas
The aftermath of an accident can be critical, both for your health and for your chances of a successful claim. We hope you are reading this preemptively, but if you are reading this from the scene of an accident, here are the steps you should follow:
Check for Injuries
Your own health and safety is the immediate priority, and this means you should first take stock of your own injuries. If you can feel pain in your neck, shoulders or back, you should make sure you do not move, call for help and do not let anyone move you until the emergency services arrive.
If your injuries allow it, check for other injuries and if you are certain you are safe to move, get up and move away from danger if you are in further danger of injury. Once you are safe, look over the crash scene and check for other injured parties.
If there are any injuries whatsoever, your very first move should always be to contact emergency services and request an ambulance. Remember, injuries can be masked by adrenaline and shock and this means that no one should be trusted to check on the injuries present unless they are fully trained to do so.
You should always call for ambulance services as they will check people over properly. It is also important that they attend the scene as it helps you prove causation if you have been injured. They will fill in an accident report on the scene and this could be crucial evidence.
Call The Police
If the accident involves traffic or criminal behavior (drunk driving accidents class as both) then the police must be called to attend the scene. They will be able to make the roads safe, diverting traffic and corresponding with traffic control.
More importantly, they will be able to administer a BAC blood alcohol content test to the drunken party. In order to make a claim via dram shop laws or drunk driving laws, you will need to prove the driver was indeed intoxicated and the best evidence for this is a test that proves the party was over the limit.
In some cases, a visibly intoxicated drunk driver will flee the scene, which is illegal. This is another reason to contact the police as soon as possible.
When it comes to personal injury law, evidence is crucial. This means that if possible, and your injuries allow for it, you should try to collect as much evidence as you can at the scene in order to help you in your case.
It also means that if there are any eye witnesses, you should collect their details and if you are able, you should take videos, photos and a voice statement of the scene and what happened.
You should also ask the police officer for his name and number so that you can easily get a copy of the police report later.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
The sooner you involve your attorney in the case, the better your chances of a successful claim. The more time you give them and the sooner they can begin investigating on your behalf, the better.
Common Injuries After an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Because they are intoxicated, a drunk driving accident has a higher probability of causing serious injuries. A sober driver may slam the breaks on or maneuver to avoid hitting someone, reducing the impact. Unfortunately, this is not the case with an intoxicated driver.
Here are some of the injuries that a team of experienced personal injury lawyers may have to deal with:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI or traumatic brain injury comes in two forms, open skull and closed skull, and both are extremely serious.
With an open skull TBI, the skull is penetrated by a sharp or blunt force object. With a closed skull, the skull is damaged by the blunt force of an impact, but the skull is not penetrated.
Because the brain cannot repair itself in the same way that the rest of the body can, it means the damage is often permanent. This life long brain damage may prevent individuals from living their lives in the same way they did before and may cause depression, motor function problems, learning difficulties and lifelong pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine is similar to the brain in that it does not repair from damage like the rest of the body. This means that the damage is often permanent. Spinal damage, depending on how high up the spine it occurs, can lead to paraplegia, tetraplegia and a number of other motor function problems that prevent an individual from living a normal life.
Whiplash injuries are the most common car accident injury that we deal with here at Abraham Watkins. Whiplash occurs when the head is twisted one way or the other or there is an impact with the windscreen, airbags or side passenger doors.
Whiplash can result in chronic pain and life long injuries in the victim. This can be severe and may result in the patient needing constant pain medication and long-term physical therapy.
Due to the way a crash happens, the body keeps moving forwards while the car stops and this can mean that any limbs that hit the dashboard or side doors, suffer severe fractures. Shattered kneecaps, broken legs and broken ribs are all common injuries.
Broken bones require long periods of recovery off from work.
The most tragic outcome of a drunk driving accident is when the victim loses their life as a result. When this happens, the family’s loved ones and family may be the ones to bring a claim. This claim is known as a wrongful death claim and allows for the family to seek financial compensation for the loss of companionship, income and consortium. It also allows for compensation that covers funeral costs and the last wishes of the deceased.
No amount of financial compensation will ever bring back your loved one but it can provide the family with financial security while they grieve.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me in Texas
It is not normally a smart idea for the victims of accidents to pursue compensation by themselves. There is no law against it, but the statistics are pretty clear.
Victims who pursue a claim with a personal injury attorney are more likely to win, and more likely to walk away with a larger settlement or awarded damages.
Besides the chances of victory and higher payouts, following an accident, victims should be focusing on their own health and wellbeing and a lengthy court battle, where the victim is the sole person fighting their own corner, is not beneficial to their health.
Making sure the at-fault part is held liable is another reason why we recommend using an attorney to fight your case. By successfully holding them accountable, it makes it less likely that they go on to harm another victim.
Finally, your case will be fought against an insurance company in most cases, and these insurance companies will have an incredibly strong legal team. Their sole job is to reduce the payouts the company has to make and unfortunately, that means working as hard as possible to discredit your claim. An attorney will ensure that you are treated fairly by these companies.
Your attorney will ensure that you are guided throughout every step of your claim. They will utilize the vast resources at their command to investigate the case and will ensure that your evidence is utilized. They will speak to the eyewitnesses who were on the scene, will look at CCTV footage and will obtain reports from the emergency services who attended the scene.
They will also make sure that your damages are calculated accurately so that you receive enough compensation to completely cover your damages, such as your medical bills, lost income, property damage and pain and suffering.
Can I Claim Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge, and is used to punish drunk drivers and other individuals who have acted with gross negligence or malicious intent. That means that if your case does not proceed to the courtroom, you will not be able to pursue punitive damages.
In a drunk driving accident case, your attorney may fight for punitive damages by demonstrating that the driver reasonably could have foreseen the risk of harm to others by drinking and driving.
The Laws Surrounding a Drunk Driving Personal Injury Claim
Federal law dictates what the drunk driving limit is and this means that if you are found with a BAC content level of 0.08 or above, you are breaking the law if you are driving. If you are under the age of 21, you can be found guilty of driving under the influence if you are found with any alcohol in your blood whatsoever.
BAC can be affected by gender, weight, tolerance, as well as how much someone has drunk. Unfortunately, it is common for people to drive over the limit without realizing it.
When you get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, you have a severely reduced ability to make judgment calls and react quickly.
Who is Liable in a Drunk Driving Accident?
In almost every case where a drunk driver caused an accident, they are the liable party. However, there may also be a case to be made against the dram shop that served the at-fault party if it is found they overserved alcoholic beverages to the at fault driver. Under dram shop laws a dram shop (any venue that serves alcohol) should not serve alcohol to anyone who is clearly intoxicated or they may be held liable.
At Abraham Watkins, our personal injury attorneys have the experience and knowledge to hold both the dram shop and the drunken driver liable for the accident if necessary.
Contact Abraham Watkins
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, it is important that you get in touch with a personal injury attorney that has experience dealing with drunk driving accidents. They will help you to pursue the recovery of your damages and to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.Call us now for a free consultation at 713-535-9319.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today.
If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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