Civil Justice Warriors

Dallas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Every year, drunk driving accidents account for approximately 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. Despite ongoing awareness campaigns and stricter DUI legislation, drivers still continue to drive under the influence.  Drunk driving leads to thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries yearly.

Drunk drivers need to be held accountable for the risk they pose against others. In an instant, an innocent motorist’s life can be forever altered by the reckless behavior of a drunk motorist. Drunk driving can lead to large medical bills, severe injuries, lost wages, or in the worst scenario, wrongful deaths.

In Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers, we strongly act to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Our Dallas drunk driving lawyers are here to guide you through the steps following a drunk driver crash, represent you against lawyers and insurers, and protect your interests so that you can be compensated for the justice you deserve.

Call our Dallas car accident lawyers today for your free consultation.

What Constitutes Drunk Driving?

The legal definition of drunk driving in Texas is known as a DWI – Driving while intoxicated. A DWI is defined in Texas as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. The BAC of a driver is typically determined by police officers conducting breath, blood, or urine tests immediately following an arrest and/or crash.

Even if a driver’s BAC is less than 0.08, he or she may still be charged with DWI. A DWI conviction can be charged based on the amount of alcohol, drugs, or both that causes a person to lose normal use of his or her mental or physical faculties.

Impaired driving symptoms officers may point to in the assessment of a drunk driver include:

  • Red and glassy eyes
  • Speech that is slurred
  • Strong alcohol odor on the driver’s breath
  • Reckless driving

Furthermore, a person under the age of 21 who drives a motor vehicle on a public highway after consuming any amount of alcohol may be charged.

Texas Laws for Drunk Driving

Under Texas Penal Code §49.04, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a Class B misdemeanor. The provision states that “a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” There are two definitions for those who do or do not submit to chemical testing:

  1. not having normal use of mental or physical faculties due to 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; and
  2. having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

Recovering Damages for a Drunk Driving Accident

In an instant moment, a drunk driving accident can forever alter not only the physical stability of an innocent bystander but also create incredible financial stress. Severe accidents due to the actions of reckless motorists can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills, car repairs, and lost wages. Just compensation for these unplanned accidents are crucial to remain financially viable.

While insurance companies play important roles in our society, the reality is that these companies are still businesses. Insurance companies are known to key in on evidence that gives them the justification to reduce the amount of damages they are required to cover for a claim. An experienced lawyer who understands the intimidation tactics an opposing insurer or a lawyer might use can ensure that a slimy defense does not force into less than what you deserve. A proper of your legal claim is important, even if a lawsuit is not formally brought, because the threat of bringing a personal lawsuit for both economic and non-economic damages is what keeps the defense honest in providing a realistic settlement amount.

Economic damages are intended to compensate victims for bill payments, expenses, and property loss. Examples of economic losses include medical bills, lost wages or inability to earn future income, and vehicle damage.
Non-economic damages are monetary values assigned to non-financial pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement, or the loss of a relationship with your spouse or family members, known as loss of consortium.

Dram Shop Liability in Texas

In Texas alcohol providers can be held liable for damages caused by overserved, intoxicated patrons.  Texas dram shop law states that anyone who is licensed or permitted to serve or sell alcohol can be held responsible if:

  1. at the time the provision occurred it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others;  and
  2. the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.
  3. In situations where an intoxicated minor causes injury or damage, adults over the age of 21 may be held liable for damages under certain circumstances.

However, cases involving dram shop or social host law can be incredibly complex and difficult to win.  Even collecting evidence against an establishment may be an uphil battle.  However, an experienced attorney can help build a strong case and maximize the compensation for those injured as a result of a business overserving patrons.

Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Accidents

The legal term statute of limitations is often the starting point in assessing a personal liability claim. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit. Not only is this an important deadline, but it also sets up the framework on how much time there is to properly negotiate with the defendant before formal legal action with the courts is sought.

Texas law requires personal injury victims to file a claim within two years of the accident or discovery of a hidden injury. If the two-year time limit has passed, a plaintiff is unable to bring the claim in court, unless a lawyer can determine a legitimate legal reason that would have stopped the timing for the statute of limitations to occur. This “pause” in the statute of limitations is known as “tolling”.

What to Do Following a Drunk Driving Accident

Given the statute of limitations, there are plenty of actions that occur immediately following an accident. Here is a list of actions to follow when a drunk driving accident occurs:

  • Seek medical attention
  • Consider whether file an insurance claim
  • Assess the damage to your property
  • Consider hiring a Dallas drunk driving accident lawyer to consult with for legal issues

Driving under the influence is a criminal offense in and of itself, but things get even worse when such carelessness causes financial and physical harm to others – as it frequently does.

Contact Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers for the Compensation You Deserve

A drunk driving accident is one of the most terrifying events that can occur to an innocent bystander. Do not let anyone try to intimidate you from what you justly deserve given the financial, emotional, and physical stress for an accident you were involuntarily brought into. At Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers, we’ll be here to fight for your rights. Contact our Dallas drunk driving accident lawyers today for your free evaluation of your claim.