Amarillo Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Injury Claims Against Drunk Drivers in Texas
In Texas, as in all states, driving while intoxicated is a crime. However, this does not stop people from choosing to get behind the wheel of a car or motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, this can have catastrophic consequences for innocent victims.
If you or someone you love was hit by a drunk driver, you have the right to take legal action. Separate from any criminal proceedings that may (or may not) take place, victims of drunk driving accidents can file civil lawsuits against drunk drivers and seek compensation for their losses—and Wood Law Firm, LLP can help. Since 1999, we have been dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of injured individuals and the families of those wrongfully killed throughout Texas. Our Amarillo drunk driving accident attorneys understand what you have been through, the challenges you still face, and how to help you fight for the justice you deserve.
Drunk Driving Accident Claims vs. Criminal Charges
It is unlawful for anyone in the state of Texas to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Although most individuals are considered “intoxicated” when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above 0.08%, the law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle if they are impaired to the point that their driving ability is affected, regardless of BAC. Additionally, the threshold is much lower for anyone under the age of 21; under Texas’s zero-tolerance policy, no one under 21 may operate a motor vehicle with any detectable alcohol in their system.
While those who break the state’s DWI and DUI laws are subject to criminal and administrative penalties—including jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspension—they can also face civil legal action. Victims who are injured or who lose loved ones in accidents caused by drunk drivers are allowed to file personal injury or wrongful death claims against the drunk driver’s insurance provider (or another party) to recover financial compensation for their damages.
Depending on the specifics of the case, those damages may include the following:
- All medical expenses associated with treatment for accident-related injuries
- Future medical care costs, including in-home care, rehabilitation therapy, etc.
- Medications, medical equipment (wheelchairs, etc.), and medical devices
- Lost income, wages, and other employment benefits
- Lost future earnings and benefits, as well as lost earning ability (disability)
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress and trauma
- Funeral/burial expenses (in cases involving wrongful death)
- Loss of love, support, companionship, guidance, etc.
In some cases, it may also be possible to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish individuals who have displayed egregious negligence or reckless disregard for human life and can provide an additional sense of justice for victims and their families.
Who Is Liable?
In many cases, drunk drivers themselves can be held legally liable for the harm they cause. Because Texas is a fault state, victims of any car accident—including those involving drunk drivers—usually must prove that another driver (or a third party) was at least partially at fault for the accident. Then, victims typically file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.
However, in some drunk driving accident cases, there may be additional/alternative methods of recovering compensation. Under Texas’s dram shop laws, you may be able to file a claim against the person or party who provided alcohol to the intoxicated individual.
This might include the following parties:
- A bar or restaurant that overserved a patron who was “obviously intoxicated”
- An establishment that served alcohol to a minor (regardless of clear or obvious intoxication)
- An adult who allowed an underage individual who was not their child to consume alcohol on their property
- An adult who provided alcohol to an underage individual who was not their child
For example, if a person is served alcohol at a bar, even though the individual was slurring their words and stumbling when they came into the establishment, and that individual then leaves and causes a car accident, the accident victim or their surviving loved ones could have a claim against the bar. If a 17-year-old is served alcohol by an adult at a house party and then drives away, the adult who served the alcohol could be liable if the teenager causes an accident.
How Our Firm Can Help
At Wood Law Firm, LLP, we have extensive experience handling serious auto accident cases involving drunk drivers, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful deaths. We understand the immense impact these incidents have on the lives of victims and their loved ones. And, most of all, we are committed to fighting for the justice you and your family deserve.
Our Amarillo drunk driving accident lawyers are here to guide you through the process and provide the caring, personalized legal support your need. We are aggressive advocates for our clients, an approach that has helped us recover millions of dollars on behalf of the injured. When you have been injured by the negligence of a drunk driver, our team is ready to fight for you.