CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH MIDLAND DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYERS FOR FREE
Car accidents are already all too common, but drunk driving endangers every person on the road. Drunk drivers may swerve between lanes, drive in the wrong lane or direction, and may often violate many traffic laws, creating a serious risk of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you should call the experienced Midland drunk driving injury lawyers from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
TEXAS DRUNK DRIVING LAWS
Pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 49.04, intoxicated driving means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” An individual age 21 or older is guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI) if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured at .08 or higher. A driver under the age of 21 is considered driving under the influence (DUI) when any “detectable” amount of alcohol is found in his or her blood, pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 106.041. Meanwhile, individuals with commercial driver’s licenses can be charged with a DWI if their BAC is .04 or higher. If the driver who caused your accident was intoxicated at the time, it may be easier for your lawyer to prove that driver was at-fault for your accident, especially if criminal charges are filed against the driver.
TEXAS DRAM SHOP LAWS
Modern “bars” were formerly known as “dram shops” in pre-independence Texas because of the measure used to serve alcohol. Today, the term “dram shop” is used when referring to a business where alcoholic beverages can be purchased individually or in pre-measured servings. Chapter 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code governs the potential liability of retail sellers or social hosts who sell or otherwise provide alcoholic beverages to someone who then causes an accident.
According to Texas law, vendors may be held liable if an inebriated customer causes an accident if:
- The vendor served alcohol to a minor under age 18, or
- The customer was noticeably intoxicated to the point that the vendor should have known the customer was a risk to themselves as well as others, and this visible intoxication was a foreseeable cause of the injuries caused in the drunk driving accident.
Social hosts may also be liable under Texas law, even if they were not selling the alcohol. Chapter 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code provides for “social host liability” when:
- the adult host of a social event provides alcoholic beverages to a minor if the social host was not the parent, spouse, or legal guardian of the minor, and
- the host knowingly provided alcohol to the minor or allowed the minor to consume alcohol on any property owned by the host regardless of who may have provided the alcohol to the minor.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code also includes a “safe harbor” provision that may allow an alcohol retailer to avoid liability for a drunk driving accident if that retailer meets all of the following requirements:
- The retailer requires all employees to attend a seller training program approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
- The employee provides evidence that he or she attended such an approved training program.
- There is no evidence that the retailer directly or indirectly encouraged any employees to violate the law in providing alcohol to customers.
WHY IS DRUNK DRIVING SO DANGEROUS?
Drunk drivers create an unsafe driving environment for themselves and all other drivers on the road. Driving while intoxicated significantly increases the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident. Intoxication affects several cognitive and motor functions involved in operating a vehicle. Inebriation causes impaired vision and focus, which in turn can decrease a driver’s ability to see objects, people, or other vehicles near or on the road. Alcohol can slow neural and cognitive processes while adversely affecting an intoxicated driver’s judgment and reaction time, preventing him or her from reacting quickly enough to stimuli to adjust to road conditions or otherwise avoid a collision. Inebriation also affects coordination by impairing a driver’s ability to steer, brake, and accelerate appropriately. Any one of these impairments alone is hazardous to a driver. When an individual drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, each of these impairments may occur simultaneously, creating a dangerous combination and greatly increasing the risk of injury or death in a vehicle accident.
Read More: Midland Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
DRUNK DRIVING STATISTICS IN MIDLAND
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were approximately 886 people killed in drunk driving accidents in Texas in 2019, representing almost a quarter of the 3,610 Texas car accident fatalities of 2019. Meanwhile, there were 177 crashes in 2019 in Midland that involved alcohol. Of these 177 alcohol-related crashes in Midland, there were 7 fatalities with over 70 injuries of varying severity. Overall, Midland remains in the top 20 cities in Texas for alcohol-related crashes.
HOW TO FILE A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWSUIT IN MIDLAND
1. Contact A Lawyer
By contacting an experienced lawyer in Midland after your drunk driving accident, you may be able to level the playing field against the insurance company and their team of lawyers. Your lawyer may help you better understand your legal options. Your lawyer may also investigate the accident to gather evidence to support your claim against the other driver or others who may also be liable, such as the driver’s employer or the bartender who overserved the intoxicated driver. Contacting a lawyer to help you pursue your claim may help you focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney handles your case for you.
2. Gather Necessary Documentation
In addition to hiring an experienced drunk driving injury lawyer, thorough documentation of the accident may help you successfully pursue any compensation you may be entitled to. This documentation should include medical bills and records that can prove the extent of your injuries, as well as relevant witness statements, police reports, or other supporting documentation your attorney may gather while investigating your claim.
3. Negotiate A Settlement
Your lawyer may attempt to negotiate an acceptable settlement with the other party or their insurance company to avoid the expenses of a trial. To reach a drunk driving settlement in Midland, your lawyer may initiate this process by presenting an offer to the insurer by highlighting certain evidence that supports your claim. The insurer may then dispute the extent of your injuries or the evidence proving the driver was actually intoxicated at the time of the accident or that the intoxicated driver caused the accident. The insurer may also attempt to argue that you had some fault for the accident, which is why it is important to speak to a lawyer before speaking to the insurer.
If the negotiation process is unsuccessful and the insurance company refuses to agree to an acceptable settlement, your lawyer may then take your case to trial. Here, your Midland drunk driving lawsuit may require your lawyer to prove the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the wreck and the intoxicated driver caused your injuries. Finally, your lawyer may also present documentation to prove the extent of your injuries to support the amount of compensation being sought in your lawsuit.
TEXAS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Under Texas law, drunk driving accident lawsuits are generally subject to the same statute of limitations as any other personal injury claim. Texas law requires that any drunk driving injury lawsuit be filed within two years from the date of the accident. This legal time limit generally prevents any claim from being brought more than two years after the accident. You should contact a Midland drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to help you understand the applicable timeframe for your case and to make sure that you do not wait too long before pursuing your claim.
WHY YOU NEED A MIDLAND DRUNK DRIVING INJURY LAWYER
Hiring an experienced Midland personal injury lawyer may often be the difference in being able to successfully pursue any compensation you may be entitled to. Insurance companies will be using their teams of lawyers to look for any reason possible to avoid or minimize the compensation they pay you. These lawyers are experienced in looking for ways to dispute your claim. Hiring an experienced lawyer is especially important before you speak with the insurer or any adjuster as they may be attempting to obtain statements from you designed to weaken your claim. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Midland may be able to help you level this playing field and seek compensation after your accident.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP FOR A CASE EVALUATION
At Zinda Law Group, our Midland drunk driving accident attorneys may assist you with your claim. We help our clients pursue the maximum compensation they may be entitled to as a victim of a drunk driving accident.
Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. As one of our clients, you will not pay anything unless we can win your Midland drunk driving injury case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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