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Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

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.

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DUI & Drunk Driving Accident Injuries

Everyone knows the dangers of drunk driving. Everyone understands that driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Everyone recognizes that thousands of lives are suddenly and senselessly cut short, and tens of thousands more are turned upside-down by serious injuries caused by intoxicated drivers every year. 

Nevertheless, plenty of people who know better still get behind the wheel after one too many – or five too many – drinks.

When that happens, and innocent people are injured or lose their lives, the pain and loss that follow are compounded by anger and the knowledge that the tragedy was completely avoidable. At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers, our experienced Texas and New Mexico drunk driving accident lawyers work with individuals and families whose lives have been devastated by the irresponsible, reckless, and illegal behavior of intoxicated drivers. We fight tirelessly to obtain the compensation they need and the justice they deserve, and we have a long track record of success.

Despite More Public Awareness, Drunk Drivers Keep Destroying Lives

Despite decades of advocacy by groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and increased penalties and harsher consequences for DUI convictions, intoxicated drivers continue to cause death and destruction.

The statistics, while horrific, don’t truly convey the enduring losses experienced by those who must live with the aftermath of a drunk driving injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 11,645 Americans died in drunk driving accidents in 2020, a 14% increase over 2019
  • About 32 Americans die in drunk-driving crashes every day — that equals one person killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes 
  • In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths — a 14% increase from 2019
  • 1,495 people were killed in Texas drunk driving accidents in 2020, more than in any other state
  • 130 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in New Mexico in 2020 
  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 30% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the United States in 2020. They accounted for 39% of all traffic deaths in Texas and 33% of all traffic fatalities in New Mexico
  • The annual cost of alcohol-related traffic accidents to the American economy is more than $44 billion

Common Injuries in Impaired Driving Accidents

Even more than other types of vehicle crashes, drunk driving accidents often catch drivers completely off-guard. A motorist may sit at a red light when, suddenly and without warning, a drunk driver slams into the back of their car. Or an intoxicated driver may fail to see a red light, T-boning another vehicle traveling through the intersection. These crashes frequently result in severe and life-changing injuries. 

Some of the most common drunk driving injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Psychological injuries
  • Disfigurement injuries
  • Broken bones

How Claims Against Drunk Drivers Work

Driving while impaired by alcohol is an extreme form of negligence. Those injured or families who lose a loved one at the hands of a drunk driver can hold that driver accountable for their injuries as they could if the other driver engaged in other reckless driving behavior, such as tailgating or speeding.

The difference in drunk driving accidents is that the other driver will likely also face serious criminal charges (as opposed to a traffic citation) for driving under the influence (DUI). How the criminal case against the drunk driver proceeds can impact a claim for compensation by those injured or killed in an accident. 

Drunk driving accident injury lawsuits can proceed while prosecutors pursue the driver’s conviction. Your drunk driving accident injury lawyer will work with you to make the strategic decision about when to file your claim. In some cases, it may make sense to let the criminal case conclude first. That’s because if the driver pleads guilty or is convicted of DUI, that criminal liability can help establish the civil liability necessary to recover damages. 

DUI as Evidence of Negligence

In any type of car accident lawsuit, the injury victim or a family left behind must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver was negligent and that their negligence caused the accident, injuries, and damages. Establishing negligence can often be the most challenging part of a car accident lawsuit. But when police, prosecutors, and the driver have provided powerful evidence of negligence in the criminal case against the driver for DUI, it can make proving negligence significantly easier. 

The evidence that prosecutors use to obtain a drunk driving conviction – police reports, field sobriety tests, blood, breath, or chemical tests, witness statements, etc. – can also be used in your personal injury lawsuit to prove negligence. If the driver is ultimately convicted of DUI, that conviction can be used as conclusive evidence of driver negligence.

Even if the other driver is found not guilty or is not prosecuted for DUI, any evidence collected by the police that shows alcohol in the driver’s system can be used to prove negligence. Just because a driver’s blood alcohol content was below the legal limit does not mean they were not negligent or impaired.  

What to Do After an Accident With a Drunk Driver

As with any motor vehicle accident where someone may be injured, the first thing to do if you’ve been in a crash with a driver who may be intoxicated is call 911 and get immediate medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. If possible, exchange names, contact, and insurance information with the other driver, collect the names and contact information of anyone who may have seen the accident, and take photos of the scene and your vehicle.

Stay at the scene until police and first responders arrive. Matter-of-factly tell the responding officers what happened but make no admissions of fault.

Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers: Texas and New Mexico Drunk Driving Injury Lawyers

At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers, we have seen firsthand the pain and loss experienced by those who were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident. We have heard the struggles of individuals who can’t support their families or live the lives they once did. And we have listened to families overwhelmed with grief and anger over the sudden, avoidable loss of a loved one. That is why we spare no effort to get the maximum amount of compensation available for our clients after a drunk driver has upended their lives. 

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, we welcome the opportunity to help you through this difficult time. To arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced drunk driving injury attorneys at our offices in Lubbock, El Paso, Odessa, Austin, or Albuquerque, please contact us at 866-492-2509.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident regardless of where you live, we will be happy to evaluate your potential case through a free consultation.

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    Glasheen, Valles & Inderman has significant experience in suing drunk drivers and the bars who serve them. Call today for a free phone or in-person consultation. There is no risk

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    Our Team is Here to Help

    Below is a list of some of the most-frequently-asked questions by our clients and prospective clients. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us.

    • 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.