If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident, contact Loewy Law Firm. Our Austin drunk driving accident attorneys can help recover compensation for your injuries and hold negligent parties responsible. A drunk driving accident is always a horrible tragedy, especially because these events are always preventable.
Alcohol-related crashes leave most victims in a grievous state. Typically, the innocent people who are hurt by drunk drivers suffer from broken bones and burns, damage to their necks and backs, traumatic brain injury, and death. Drivers who choose to operate a vehicle while intoxicated must be brought to justice for their selfish actions.
Types of Compensation in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving is a crime in Texas and throughout the country. When an intoxicated motorist causes an accident, that individual will face criminal penalties. But criminal penalties do not financially compensate the victim of the crash. While criminal courts will punish drunk drivers, it’s up to civil courts to provide drunk driving accident victims in Texas with compensation for their losses.
Suffering severe injuries in a drunk driving accident may require long-term medical treatment, recovery, and physical therapy. Drunk driving accident victims may be unable to work or care for themselves. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you may need financial compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. A skilled Austin drunk driving accident lawyer can help force the insurance company to pay you the compensation you need and deserve to cover all your expenses.
Common types of compensation in Texas drunk driving accidents include:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial expenses (if the victim dies as a result of their injuries)
Additionally, in some cases, people who have been seriously injured by a drunk driver can recover punitive damages. This type of compensation is intended to further punish the drunk driver for the negligent choices they made. They are also intended to have a deterrent effect as a warning to others not to drink and drive.
What is Dram Shop Liability?
Dram shop liability establishes the responsibility of an establishment for overserving alcohol to a patron who then harms someone. These laws give the victims of drunk driving accidents another avenue for recovering compensation for the losses they have endured. Dram shop liability applies to both licensed providers of alcoholic beverages such as bars and restaurants, and private individuals who serve or provide alcohol in a social setting.
In Texas, a provider of alcohol can be held liable for actions committed by an intoxicated driver if:
- The person being sold or provided alcohol was obviously intoxicated and presents a clear danger to themselves and others
- The person being served was a minor
If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident, our Austin car accident lawyers can help you determine responsible parties and hold them accountable.
Drunk Driving Accident Cases We Handle
We handle all types of personal injury cases involving drunk drivers. Some of the common car accidents caused by drunk drivers in Austin and throughout Texas include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Hit-and-run accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
Causes of Drunk Driving Accidents
Drivers who are drunk may cause accidents due to:
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Impaired vision
- Inability to judge distance and speed
- Inability to follow a direct line
- Driving against oncoming traffic
- Failing to see pedestrians or cyclists on crosswalks and sidewalks
Signs a Driver Might Be Intoxicated
The following are some signs that a driver may be intoxicated:
- Swerving and weaving
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way road
- Driving too slowly
- Rapid acceleration
- Sudden stops
- Near collisions with other vehicles or obstacles
- Not using headlights
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Erratic movements of the vehicle
- Slowly reacting to traffic signals
- Driving without headlights
- Driving in a location other than a designated roadway
Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers
Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol put themselves and others at risk of severe or potentially fatal harm. Common injuries caused by drunk drivers include:
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
This common car accident injury happens when the neck is snapped back and forth with force. It can result in severe pain and other complications if it is not treated in a timely manner. While whiplash is the most common neck injury in car accidents, other injuries can be more serious. The impact of a crash can crush the trachea (windpipe) or damage the larynx (voice box), which can cause long-term or permanent difficulties related to moving, breathing, and swallowing.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Car accidents are among the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can result in loss of consciousness, serious impairment, paralysis, and even death.
Back and spinal cord injuries
Back injuries can result in serious impairments, especially where the spinal cord has been damaged. Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis and cause the victim to lose their ability to work.
Scars and disfigurement
Many accident victims suffer cuts, scars, burns, and disfigurement as a result of drunk driving crashes.
Drunk driving accidents can result in burns, which can cause serious skin damage, severe pain, and permanent scarring and disfigurement. Third-degree burns, which are especially severe, may require skin grafting and surgery.
Drunk driving accidents can trigger anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims.
Explanation of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Blood alcohol content (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol that you have in your system at any given time. This is often measured through DUI testing, such as breath, blood and urine tests. In the state of Texas, it is considered to be a per se offense to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC over 0.08 percent. Not everyone, however, will reach this from the same amount of alcohol.
The amount of alcohol it takes for a person to feel impaired will depend on several factors. Things such as how many drinks you have had, the type of alcohol you are ingesting, how much you weigh and how quickly you drank will all impact your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). For example, someone who weighs 120 pounds and who drank three 12oz bottles of light beer over two hours will have an estimated BAC of 0.03 percent. If that same person, however, had been drinking Manhattans instead, it could be as high as 0.15 percent.
What are the effects of having a 0.08 percent BAC?
- Feelings become “blunted”
- Subject feels lack of inhibition
- Reasoning becomes impaired
- Depth perception is faulty
- Difficulty with peripheral vision
If it reaches the 0.10 to 0.19 percent, reflexes, reaction time and motor control could all become significantly impaired. This will create obvious difficulties for people who are behind the wheel. For this reason, if you have recently been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it is in your best interests to get the involvement of an Austin drunk driving accident attorney you can trust. Drivers who make the decision to drive while impaired deserve to be held liable for their actions – especially if they caused an injury to another.
Drunk Driving Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2010, adults in the United States got behind the wheel while intoxicated about 112 million times. This, however, does not mean that 112 million people were arrested or caused car crashes every time. In fact, the CDC also reported that the average person arrested for a DUI had driven while under the influence about 80 times previously. This is a frightening statistic when one considers that over 1.41 million people were arrested in 2010 (FBI).
This is not a minor problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that one in every three people will become involved in an accident with a drunk driver during their lifetime. Drinking and driving is a severe problem that endangers every person on the road.
Those who choose to drink and drive often do not realize just how much of a danger they are posing. The average person will only metabolize one drink per hour; still, people will mistakenly believe that if they have two or three beers and are only slightly “buzzed,” that they are good to drive. Even more will believe the myths that drinking caffeine and exercising or even taking a cold shower will help. It won’t. The only thing that will help a person become sober is time.
Texas Drunk Driving Statistics
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious problem. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that every 20 minutes, someone in the state is hurt or killed in an alcohol-related crash. In 2010, TxDOT recorded 1,184 drunk driving crashes in Austin alone. Those crashes left 481 people with serious injuries; 26 people lost their lives as a result. Across the state of Texas, 1,075 died in DUI accidents that year, 35.6% of all car accident fatalities.
Contact an Austin Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
At the Loewy Law Firm, we strongly believe in helping our clients to fight for maximum monetary compensation when it truly matters. If you would like to schedule your initial case consultation with a member of our firm, we encourage you to pick up the phone and call us today. You can also take advantage of our online case evaluation to send us a message directly. Either way, you will be taking the first step in proactively protecting your legal rights. So what are you waiting for? Contact our Austin personal injury law firm today. We look forward to hearing from you.