Five Things To Do After Being Hit By A Drunk Driver In Texas
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Being in a car accident is a horrible experience, but when you are hit by a drunk driver it can feel even worse. The steps you should take after a drunk driving accident are similar to what you do after being involved in any type of car accident. As with any sudden accident, however, what you should do next may be unclear to you.
Zinda Law Group hopes to help by providing this list of five things to do after being hit by a drunk driver in Texas. Print a copy and keep it in your glove box, for it may help you in the aftermath of any future car accident. If you or a loved one has already been injured in an accident with a drunk driver in Texas, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our drunk driving accident attorneys.
WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER
What you do immediately after an accident is important not only for your health, but for the success of your claim. Seeking medical attention immediately will help you treat minor injuries and mitigate the damage from severe injuries, leading to less disruption in your life during the days and weeks after the accident. The evidence you gather will go a long way in helping to prove the other driver was at fault for the accident and intoxicated at the time.
The following are the five things to do when you are hit by a drunk driver to ensure you have everything you need to go forward with your claim:
Call The Police and Inform Them of Suspicion
The first thing you should do after being involved in an accident is to call the police, especially if you believe the other driver is intoxicated. If you fail to contact the police, you will not have an official accident report, which could complicate your insurance claim or lawsuit. Moreover, if you fail to contact the police, the intoxicated driver may continue driving on that road or even throughout that state, depending on the damage to their car and their injuries, and that will be dangerous to other drivers on the road.
The police will investigate and document the accident in the accident report; if you suspect the other driver involved in the accident is intoxicated, you should tell the officers when they arrive on the scene. Signs of an intoxicated driver include red, glassy eyes, slurred speech, a strong smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath, and reckless driving (speeding, drifting between lanes, etc.) Be sure to get a copy of the accident report, as it will be important later for insurance claims and if you decide to bring a lawsuit against the intoxicated driver.
Seek Medical Attention
After the accident, assess yourself and any passengers for injuries; if anyone has suffered a severe injury, such as a head injury or broken bones, call emergency medical services immediately. Even if you believe yourself to be uninjured or if your injuries are minor, you should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. It is possible you suffered a latent injury masked by the adrenaline rush from being in the accident, and that injury could lead to severe consequences later.
Your doctor will treat and document your injuries. Be sure to request copies of these documents so you can give them to your lawyer. They will be used as evidence for your insurance claim and lawsuit against the intoxicated driver.
While waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Collect contact and insurance information from each driver. It is important to collect this information immediately because it can be difficult to get after the driver(s) leave the scene of the accident.
Gather Evidence at the Scene
Use your phone to take photos at the scene of the accident before you leave; photograph the damage to your vehicle, as well as any injuries you or your passengers have suffered. It is helpful to take photos of the area surrounding the accident, too, such as the road or intersection where the accident occurred and the conditions of the road, whether they were icy or slick.
Try to speak to anyone who witnessed the accident. The police will take witness statements at the scene but you should also speak with the witnesses and get their statements; get their contact information before they leave, as you might need to contact them later regarding what they saw. The photos and witness statements will be used as evidence for your claim and in your lawsuit against the intoxicated driver.
Call a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
It will help if you call a DUI attorney as soon as possible after being hit by a drunk driver in Texas, for an experienced drunk driving accident attorney in Texas will be able to provide guidance for your next steps after the accident. The attorney will use the evidence you collect, as well as evidence from their own investigation, to represent you and get you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to for your claim. Your attorney will also be able to represent you in a potential lawsuit against the intoxicated driver.
DRUNK DRIVER STATISTICS for TEXAS
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 23,157 DUI related car accidents in 2020. Of the over 3,000 fatalities from car accidents statewide, nearly 1000 of them were due to drunk drivers; the number of fatalities is nearly identical in rural and urban areas. Last year over 15,000 people were injured in some capacity due to drunk driving, with over 2,000 of the injuries suffered being incapacitating.
Most often it is the drivers who have a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.00 and those whose BAC is .08 or higher who are the victims of fatal drunk driving accidents. A majority of the fatalities in 2020 were drunk drivers, with the remaining fatalities spread out among pedestrians, cyclists, passengers in cars with DUI drivers, and drivers in other cars.
AVENUES OF ACTION UNDER TEXAS LAW
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who is responsible for causing the accident is responsible for the costs resulting from the accident, both theirs and yours. You will be able to file a claim against their insurance company and file a civil lawsuit against the intoxicated driver, but you may also be able to sue any establishments that served the driver alcohol before the accident, as discussed below.
Texas’ Dram Shop Law
Under Texas’ Dram Shop Law, the victim of a drunk driving accident is entitled to bring an action against any restaurant, bar, liquor store, or any other establishment that sold alcohol to the impaired driver. This type of action is called a dram shop liability lawsuit. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to help you determine if this course of action is applicable to your situation.
In order for an establishment to be held liable for injuries or wrongful death resulting from the accident, it must be proven that it served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who presented a clear danger to themselves or others. If the intoxicated driver involved in the accident is a minor, it must be proven that the establishment served alcohol to the minor.
Texas DUI/DWI Laws
In Texas, if a driver has a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher, they may be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI); if anyone under the age of 21 has a BAC of any level above 0, they can be convicted of a DUI. Anything above 0 and below .08 means the driver can be convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). A DWI charge can be based off the consumption of any substance aside from alcohol, including drugs or the combination of both drugs and alcohol.
Knowing what the driver involved in your accident is convicted of is important because it can impact your civil lawsuit against them. To succeed in an action against a drunk driver, you need to prove that the driver was negligent, meaning they violated a duty of care to you. If the other driver is convicted of a DUI, they could be found to be “negligent per se.”
“Negligence per se” in personal injury cases means that a person is negligent by principal of violating a law that is meant to protect the public. An experienced DUI lawyer will help use the driver’s conviction in your favor to get you the amount of just compensation you deserve.
HOW ZINDA LAW GROUP CAN HELP YOU
After being involved in a drunk driving accident, you will want to find an attorney who will provide you with guidance regarding your next steps, the insurance claims process, and potentially filing a civil lawsuit. At Zinda Law Group, our drunk driving accident lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to help guide you through the ins and outs of the insurance claim process and the legal system. They will fight tirelessly to help you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. To learn more about how our firm can help you, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with our Texas drunk driving lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.