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DUI & Drunk Driving Accidents
Cases involving drunk drivers can be complex and difficult. Often the drunk driver’s criminal case—which is separate from, but related to, the civil case—takes precedent. This allows the drunk driver to refuse to testify in a civil deposition until the criminal case is resolved. if you’ve been the victim of a drunk driving crash, it is important to hire experienced injury lawyers who have a history of recovering for clients in similar situations.Contact Our Firm
- If I am hit by a drunk driver, can I sue the bar where they got drunk?
Yes, but it is very important that you hire an experienced and aggressive dram shop attorney right away. The Dram Shop Act is very specific. It applies to bars, restaurants, night clubs and any other business that serves alcohol. Generally, there is no “social host” liability in Texas for serving adults, only commercial vendors of alcohol can be liable. (A “social host” can be liable for serving alcohol to minors.) If a business decides to keep serving beer or alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person and that person causes a motor vehicle accident, the business can be found liable for injuries caused by the intoxicated person.
- What if I am involved in a collision with a drunk driver?
Assuming that the drunk driver is covered by liability insurance, you have a very good claim against the drunk driver and his insurance company because under the law in Texas an accident victim is able to recover punitive damages from the drunk driver and his insurance company. It is for this reason that accidents with drunk drivers are can be very valuable claims.
- When is a driver considered intoxicated under the law?
The legal definition for intoxication for adults in Texas is .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Also, in Texas there is a “zero tolerance” that penalizes persons under twenty-one (21) years of age who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a BAC concentration below the .08 level. Additionally, any level of alcohol in a driver’s system may help prove that they were driving while impaired and therefore, may be negligent.
- What if the other driver left the accident scene without stopping?
Try to write down the license plate of the other vehicle. With that information we can attempt to track down the vehicle’s owner and obtain the insurance information on that vehicle. If we can get the insurance information, then the claim will proceed like any other type of motor vehicle accident claim.However, if it is not possible to track down the other driver’s information then we have to look at the client’s insurance coverage to see if they are covered by uninsured motorist coverage. If the client does not have uninsured motorist coverage it can be somewhat difficult to obtain any recovery for the client.
- Why should I hire an attorney?
Potential defendants are usually covered by insurance. The insurance companies are notified immediately when an accident occurs, and they usually hire attorneys and expert witnesses to investigate the claim. It is important that witnesses be interviewed as soon as possible and evidence be preserved. Witnesses will often be more difficult to locate or will have a poor memory if they are interviewed much later after the accident has occurred. Evidence such as machinery parts or skid marks on the highway will disappear unless preserved quickly. Insurance companies have insurance adjusters who will contact you and try to be friendly. You should not trust the statements that insurance adjusters make to you. They are not working for you and will sometimes make misleading statements in an effort to trick you into resolving your case. Insurance adjusters also might record your conversations with them and use your statements against you in order to try to save money for the insurance companies.
The main thing we try to impress upon people is that it’s never too early to talk to an attorney, and it’s always too late. By that we mean that speaking with an attorney very soon after a crash or other accident in no way will harm you. Along the same lines, the longer you try to handle a claim on your own or delay hiring competent counsel, irreparable damage can be done in the form of recorded statements given to the insurance companies and evidence not being preserved. There is no risk or fee for speaking with an attorney and arranging an initial consultation.