Victims of drunk drivers often suffer some of the worst injuries imaginable at the hands of people who display unconscionable negligence. With today’s focus on traffic safety, especially Texas’ “Drink, Drive, Go to Jail” television campaign, and the severe penalties for driving drunk, many wonder why anyone would drive while impaired.
But they do. And statistics say that by the time a drunk driver is caught by police for the first time, they’ve driven drunk about 80 times. The tragic impact is felt by innocent families forever harmed by the carelessness of these negligent, selfish people. The only recourse for many of these victim families is to seek help from a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.
Blood Alcohol Content Limits
The driver of a motor vehicle is viewed to be legally under the influence of alcohol if a chemical screening test of blood or urine shows a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
Field sobriety tests of any type are not considered legal evidence of intoxication, though they can be used as probable cause to administer a blood test. A driver who tests at roughly twice the minimum (0.15% or higher) faces more severe legal penalties (imprisonment and fine). Drivers under age 21 who return any level of alcohol (0.01 >) in their BAC may be charged with DUI even though it’s less than the adult 0.08 adult minimum.
Those convicted of DWI generally have little defense, and if the accidents they cause seriously injure or kill their victims, they usually face quite a few years of felony prison time. But they are also found to be in direct violation of their duty of care to others on the road and are considered negligent by definition. So in addition to paying for the crime by doing the time, they also must be held accountable for the death and destruction they cause their victims (and their families).
Identifying all Defendants and Damages
The Texas Dram Shop Law holds that a bar or restaurant which served alcohol to the drunk driver may share some responsibility for the accident if they knew or should have known that the individual was drunk.
Additionally, a vehicle’s owner may also be liable for damages to the victims of a drunk driving accident ir car to the defendant reason to believe the defendant would be (or was) drinking.
The defendant may not have insurance. Or the limits of their policy may not fully cover the amount of damages suffered by the victims. So bringing in “third-party defendants” may help victims receive the amount of total compensation they need to meet current and future expenses.
Damages to injured plaintiffs and their families typically include:
- All medical bills assumed by the injured victims
- Lost income for as long as the victim is unable to work
- Pain and suffering
- Property owned by the victim which was damaged
- Most likely, some punitive damages, which are not uncommon in civil actions against a drunk driver
- Wrongful death damages if the drunk driving accident victim died from their injuries.
The above damages cover a lot of territory. And DWI accidents usually involve noticeably higher damage awards due to severe victim injuries or wrongful death.
Injuries Suffered by DWI Accident Victims
Inebriated drivers cause crashes when they veer into other lanes or against oncoming traffic, or they disregard or cannot control their speed. Sometimes they plow through intersections while completely oblivious to traffic lights or signs. This is why DWI crashes are some of the worst possible and often leave the involved parties suffering traumatic, life-altering (and many times fatal) injuries.
High-speed DWI collisions can produce:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Traumatic organ damage, particularly to the spine and brain (TBI).
The sudden stop jars passengers violently forward, causing their head to strike the dashboard, or they otherwise experience traumatic physical force injuries. TBIs and spine injuries often leave victims paralyzed. They suffer speech or cognitive impairment, endure chronic pain, or enter a coma. It’s generally difficult, if not impossible, to fully recover from these injuries. So, ongoing medical support is often needed to protect the victim’s quality of life as much as possible.
Wrongful deaths from DWI accidents can also shatter families who must deal with the death of a loved one. In addition to their family member’s pain and suffering, paying their medical bills and replacing their lost wages, other damages such as family members’ loss of consortium and compensation for other benefits no longer provided by their lost family member, are rightfully owed to surviving family members from the negligent DWI defendant.
There’s never a good reason for anyone to get behind the wheel while inebriated. Those who do are carelessly risking other peoples’ lives, not just their own. Society demands criminal justice. And the victims of DWI accidents deserve civil justice from those who cause these tragedies. If you were injured by a drunk driver or have lost a loved one in a drunk driving crash, the injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are at your service. When you need the money to pay for a mountain of medical bills, reimburse you for all your lost income, pain and suffering, the Terry Bryant legal team helps you and your family. Serving Houston and the entire upper Texas Gulf DWI accident injury victims. Contact us anytime to arrange a free legal consultation. If you don’t collect, you pay nothing.