Houston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
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By now, most drivers have some sort of awareness that drinking and driving is very dangerous and can result in harsh penalties. Campaigns run nationally and in the city of Houston have gotten the word out that drinking and driving will not be treated lightly. However, unfortunately, this does not mean that it doesn’t happen. Many Houston drivers get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, and their decisions have far-reaching implications. After a drunk driving accident, your best bet to receive maximum compensation for your injuries may be to contact an experienced attorney
DRUNK DRIVING STATISTICS
People who have not been involved in a drunk driving accident may not be aware of how serious a problem it has become for the state of Texas and the City of Houston. If you have been in an accident, however, you have been brutally confronted with how real and damaging this problem can be. Some statistics for drunk driving accidents in the state of Texas include:
- In 2019, a total of 812 Texans died as a result of drunk driving accidents.
- The age group who comprised the highest percentage of the total drunk driving fatalities in 2019 were those aged 21-25, who accounted for 22% of the total deaths in Texas.
- In Houston, 2019 saw 2,436 crashes involving alcohol. These crashes led to a total of 73 fatalities.
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL ON DRIVERS
Though many drivers are likely aware that driving while under the influence can be dangerous, they may not understand why. There are several reasons that alcohol makes driving dangerous, and a few of the more important are listed below.
Reduced Reaction Time
Driving requires to be constantly alert and aware of their surroundings. One important component of this is the ability to react quickly to what is happening on the road. For example, when a light turns red, a driver needs to be able to quickly apply the brakes to bring their car to a stop. Alcohol can reduce this ability to make quick decisions, which could lead to accidents—for example, if the driver behind you is driving impaired, they might not be able to react in time to apply their brakes when you come to a stop.
Lack of Coordination
Because driving is a daily part of life for most of us, we can begin to take for granted the care and the coordination it requires. Driving is a complicated task. It requires the ability to use hands and feet at the same time all while paying attention to your surroundings, which are constantly in motion. Alcohol can inhibit this necessary coordination and lead to a car accident.
Obviously, a driver must be able to see when they are on the road. Large quantities of alcohol can begin to impair this critical ability. Drivers who have consumed a large amount of alcohol may notice that their vision is blurry or that they can’t control the movement of their eyes.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT
Drunk driving accidents are certainly not easy to deal with for anyone, let alone someone who may be dealing with serious physical injuries. It is impossible to give specific advice without knowing the particulars of your case, but there are a few key steps that will most likely apply to your case.
1. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon after your accident as possible. This applies even if you don’t think that you sustained any injuries or if you think that your injuries are relatively minor. This is important for a couple of different reasons. For one, certain injuries might not be immediately apparent or have their severity masked by the adrenaline of the accident. In addition, your claim will most likely depend on being able to link your accident to your injuries. This link becomes stronger the sooner after your accident you go to a doctor or hospital.
2. Document the Accident
After addressing your immediate medical needs, it is time to move on to the next step in the process, which includes gathering all of the information about your accident that you have available to you. This can include photos or video evidence of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved, contact information for all of the different parties, and medical records and receipts for all of the costs that you have incurred as a result of your accident. At this stage, you’ll be better off gathering too much information than too little.
3. Contact a Car Crash Lawyer
After their accident, many drunk driving victims feel like they are at a loss for what to do next. Apart from the stress of dealing with potentially serious injuries, you may also be dealing with invasive communications from insurance companies attempting to get you to accept a settlement offer. Hiring an experienced attorney might be your best chance at ensuring that your interests are adequately represented and that you aren’t taken advantage of during a difficult period.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
FILING A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT CLAIM
The first step in filing a drunk driving accident claim will usually be to hire an attorney to represent you. An attorney will most likely have experience handling cases similar to yours and may use that experience to guide you on how to move your case along. The rest of the process of filing a drunk driving accident claim can be largely grouped into two categories.
First, once you have hired an attorney, they may be able to begin the process of gathering all of the necessary information and analyzing it. This can include reviewing any pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles involved, reviewing medical records from your trips to the doctor, and conducting interviews and depositions of the witnesses and parties.
Settlement or Trial
Because going to trial can be costly and require a significant amount of time, most cases will end up reaching a settlement. At this stage, your attorney may be able to draw on their experience from past cases to argue on your behalf for a fair settlement. If you can’t reach a settlement with the at-fault driver, your attorney may take your case to trial.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH A DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTION?
Drunk driving accidents can be unique from other personal injury claims in that they can involve a serious criminal component. Driving while under the influence is dealt with harshly under Texas law and can lead to substantial penalties. Though the criminal aspect of a DUI is separate from your claim, it can still have an impact. If the driver in your accident has been convicted of a DUI, the insurance company may be more willing to quickly offer a fair settlement offer.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
After an accident with a drunk driver, your best bet for receiving fair compensation is likely going to be to go through the other driver’s insurance company. Even though this is the case, however, it is important to remember not to deal with insurance companies by yourself.
Insurance companies, though they may present themselves as friendly, neighborhood companies who have your best interests at heart, they are for-profit companies who exist to make money. Because this is their motivation, they want to take in the most money that they can in premiums while paying out as little as they are legally obligated to. To that end, insurance adjusters may take advantage of your lack of knowledge to attempt to get you to accept a lowball offer as quickly as possible. A drunk driving attorney may handle these communications for you and implement their experience and expertise to ensure that you do not take an offer that is less than what your case is actually worth.
DRUNK DRIVING DAMAGES
One of the most pressing issues on the mind of a drunk driving accident victim is often how much their case might be worth. Accident victims can have lots of costly expenses to deal with and may be unable to pay them without receiving a fair settlement for their injuries. It is difficult to give an accurate answer without an understanding of the details of your claim, but damages can be grouped into two main categories.
Economic damages are damages that you incur that can be tied to an objective measure, like a receipt. They can include medical bills, damage to your car and any property inside, and lost wages from being unable to work.
Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your accident. There is no exact science when it comes to determining pain and suffering damages, but generally speaking, the worse your injuries, the higher the damages of this category may be.
HOUSTON DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, having an experienced Houston attorney from the Zinda Law Group can work to your advantage. Our experience with similar cases and thorough knowledge of the Texas and Houston statutes and regulations may put you in a good position to recover a fair settlement. In addition, we believe that accident victims shouldn’t have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a drunk driver, contact the Houston drunk driving accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group by calling (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. We are also offering live virtual consultations during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure the health and safety of our clients.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.