Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas

Houston DWI Accident Injury Attorneys

Accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers are responsible for killing tens of thousands of motorists every year in the United States. Statistics from 2018 reveal in Texas, 3,398 accident fatalities were alcohol-related. In 2019, statistics from the Texas Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System revealed that 28 people were tragically killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in Houston.

It is important to note, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers an accident to be alcohol-related if at least one driver involved in a crash has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .01 gram or higher (the legal limit is .08 BAC).

Losing a loved one in a preventable drunk driving accident can forever change a family’s future. Drunk driving accident lawyers have seen the devastation, grief, and pain associated with a tragic loss and will fight tirelessly to see that the drunk driver is held accountable for his or her senseless actions.

Car vs. Pedestrian DUI Accidents

Drunk driving accidents are especially tragic because they are preventable. DUI accident victim attorneys are experienced in representing victims of alcohol and drug-related car vs. pedestrian accidents. These lawyers are able to help victims recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to. They fight aggressively to hold drunk drivers and other negligent parties responsible for their actions, and our case results are a testament to the results we have been able to achieve.

Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident. Pedestrians struck by a car are at risk of suffering numerous injuries that may be life-changing and permanently disabling. Pedestrians struck by a vehicle may suffer injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Blunt trauma injury

Injuries sustained in a DUI car vs. pedestrian accident may be significantly more serious if a driver is failing to observe posted speed limits at the time of a collision. The faster the vehicle is traveling at the time of the collision, the greater likelihood of serious injury or death. Pedestrians struck by a car traveling 45 mph have an 85% chance of death. In contrast, a pedestrian struck at a car traveling 20 mph has only a 5% chance of death. The cost of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident may be significant if injuries require ambulance transport, hospitalization, surgery, extensive rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Personal Injury Compensation

Victims of pedestrian accidents may pursue compensation for their injuries in a personal injury claim. Damages may be awarded for medical care expenses, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other accident-related expenses. How much compensation a victim may be entitled to will vary greatly depending on the type and extent of the victim’s injuries, the financial effects of an injury (i.e. lost earnings), and who was responsible. If a pedestrian is injured by an underage drunk driver, the supplier of the alcohol, whether it is an adult, or a bar, tavern, restaurant, or hotel, may also be liable for the victim’s injuries.

DUI Rollover Accidents

More than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported every year, resulting in the deaths of more than 10,000 motorists, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rollovers occur when a vehicle’s stability is compromised like in a DUI accident, causing it to roll over onto its side or roof. A rollover can happen in any vehicle, but SUVs carry the greatest risk for rolling over than any other type of vehicle. SUVs have a higher center of gravity making them less stable when hit.

DUI Passenger Injuries

The passenger of a car driven by a drunk driver can suffer serious injuries in a DUI accident. Serious DUI passenger injuries can severely affect the victim’s physical and emotional well-being, financial situation, and quality of life. If you have been injured in a DUI accident, contact a qualified personal injury lawyer. Compassionate DUI accident victim lawyers have witnessed firsthand how quickly a serious injury can change a DUI passenger’s life and have many years of experience helping our clients in the recovery process.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries, or TBI as they are also referred to, is an injuries that can result in permanent, irreversible brain damage, and death. TBI victims may experience many different symptoms including loss of consciousness, headaches, memory loss, mood swings, and vomiting. Types of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Concussion
  • Subdural and epidural hematoma
  • Hemorrhage
  • Aneurysm
  • Contusion
  • Nerve damage
  • Stroke
  • Edema.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can damage vertebrae and nerves that carry signals to and from the brain, which can result in loss of movement and feeling for the victim. Spinal cord injuries can have debilitating effects on the victim, including:

  • Paralysis
  • Quadriplegia
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Respiratory problems
  • Spasticity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Gallbladder and renal stones.

Blunt Trauma Injuries

A blunt trauma injury is a result of extreme force, like that experienced in a DUI accident, applied to the body. Blunt trauma injuries can affect any part of the body, including:

  • Head
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Abdomen
  • Bones
  • Internal organs
  • Lungs
  • Arms
  • Legs.

Broken Bone Injuries

The two most important factors in determining why a bone breaks are the energy, or force, applied to the bone and the strength of the bone. When the force applied to a bone is too strong, the bone will break. Broken bones are broadly described as:

  • Closed (simple) fractures – the broken bone has not pierced through the skin
  • Open (compound) fracture – the broken bone has pierced through the skin.

Protecting DUI Passenger Victim’s Rights

Attorneys have represented passengers injured in DUI accidents involving rollovers, head-on collisions, sideswipe collisions, rear-end collisions, and runoff collisions. Personal injury attorneys can take on insurance companies and defense counsels who may try to strip DUI passengers of their right to full and fair compensation. Our firm will aggressively fight for injured passengers’ legal rights and fight for maximum compensation for their injuries. We have obtained monetary compensation for our client’s medical bills, lost earnings, loss of benefits, and pain and suffering.

DUI Passenger Deaths

Passengers – occupants of the vehicle other than the driver – are at the mercy of their driver as well as every single other driver on the road. Unlike a driver, a passenger may have little or no time to brace or prepare for an impact. In some cases, a passenger may even be asleep when a collision occurs. Passengers in older vehicles may not have adequate airbag protection in a head-on collision; driver and passenger airbags for frontal impact protection were not required by the federal government until 1999.

Passengers, unfortunately, are frequent victims of fatal car accidents, especially when vehicles are traveling at high speeds, such as in highway head-on collisions and T-bone intersection accidents where a driver runs a red light. DUI accident passenger deaths can occur in a solo vehicle accident where a passenger is killed while riding in a vehicle with an intoxicated or impaired driver, or when a passenger is killed in a multi-vehicle collision caused by the driver of another vehicle. Regardless, the family of the passenger victim may pursue compensation in a DUI accident wrongful death claim when a passenger is killed due to a drunk driver.

Drunk Designated Drivers

When groups of people go out to have a good time at a social engagement such as a party or a football game, they often choose a “designated driver” or DD. The DD is selected (or volunteers) to abstain or refrain from alcohol, so that everyone in the group may have a sober driver to safely transport them home. A problem lies when designated drivers make the choice to limit alcohol consumption by consuming alcohol early on in the party, only drinking beer, or choosing some other questionable method of drinking but not drinking too much. Some DDs decide that as long as they are not completely drunk, they are sober enough to drive everyone in their group home. The Ad Council recently launched a campaign “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” to remind drivers that one drink too many can be disastrous. Be smart. Don’t drive while buzzed.

When DUI Accidents Kill Passengers

There is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Families experience a range of emotions from sadness and grief to anger and frustration. Another unfortunate consequence of losing a family member is the tremendous financial burden of a loved one’s death. Families may not be able to pay final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and may suffer due to the loss of earnings and other benefits, such as health insurance. When a loved one dies as a passenger in a DUI accident, families may pursue compensation from the drunk driver in a civil wrongful death claim.

Although a wrongful death claim cannot bring back a life lost, it can ease some of the financial burdens of a loved one’s death by compensating their family for all costs associated with their family member’s passing, future anticipated lifetime earnings, and benefits, as well as damages for loss of love, care, companionship, and protection. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish drunk drivers for their actions.

DUI Accident FAQ

When Should I Contact a Lawyer after a DUI Accident?

The best time to contact a lawyer is immediately after an accident, as soon as initial medical needs have been addressed. Evidence may be lost and witness recollections forgotten in the days, weeks, and months following an accident. Contacting a lawyer soon allows your attorney to begin investigating and researching your case. As a result, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you can receive compensation for your injuries. Accident injury attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss your case and answer your questions.

What Types of Damages May I Be Entitled To?

Typically, injured victims of DUI accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical care expenses, including ambulance transport, initial hospitalization, surgical procedures, doctor visits, physical therapy, occupational rehabilitation, prescription medications and medical devices. Accident victims may also be entitled to compensation for past and future lost earnings, and if applicable, loss of earning capacity.

Additionally, non-economic damages may be awarded for physical pain and emotional suffering. In some cases involving drunk driving accidents, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party. When a family member is killed in a fatal accident, loved one’s may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim for final medical expenses, funeral expenses, anticipated future lifetime earnings, and loss of love, care, affection, and companionship.

How Do I know How Much My DUI Accident Case is Worth?

Every case we handle is different and unique. Without specific facts about you, your accident, and the party responsible for your injuries (or a loved one’s death), it is impossible to accurately assess how much a case may be worth. DUI accidents in particular have unique legal issues, and compensation awarded for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering may be substantial. After an alcohol or drug-related accident, consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer – one who has successfully handled DUI accident injury claims – can give you a better idea of the type and amount of damages you may be entitled to.

What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Check?

Insurance companies frequently try to settle claims quickly, by offering accident victims what they may say is a “generous” offer. The reason insurance companies offer money so quickly is they want victims to take compensation before they understand the nature and long-term effects of their injuries. While a check for a few thousand dollars may be helpful in paying several months’A worth of bills, it may do nothing to pay lifelong medical expenses or compensate for months of future lost earnings. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney and determine if a settlement offer is fair. Often, accident victims are entitled to substantially more compensation than is initially offered.

What Does it Cost to Hire an Attorney?

All injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, also known as a no-win, no-fee arrangement. Per written fee agreements, accident attorneys are only paid in the event they recover money for your claim. In the unlikely event that they accept your case and cannot recover money for you, you will owe nothing.

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