A Dallas Law Firm Explains Legal Remedies for DUI/DWI Car Crash Victims

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities are a grim reality — a life is lost to drunk driving every 52 minutes, equating to over 10,000 lives lost each year across the country. And according to 2021 statistics, 2,522 Texans were seriously injured due to DUI or DWI crashes. These numbers paint a devastating picture of the toll inflicted on families and communities. But it’s important to remember that behind each statistic is a real person — someone’s parent, child, spouse, grandparent, or loved one — that was seriously harmed or even lost forever due to the choices made by another to drive while intoxicated.

If you or a loved one have been victimized by drunk driving, one of the first steps is to seek the legal counsel of an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer. In this article, we will unpack what DUI/DWI car crashes entail and what your legal rights are if you’ve been affected.

What Is the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Texas?

In the state of Texas, there are different terms used to describe impaired driving offenses: DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). It is important to note that both DUI and DWI offenses carry serious legal consequences in Texas and if you’ve been harmed by either, you may be entitled to legal recourse. Understanding the distinction between these two terms is important for legal and practical purposes:

DUI: In Texas, DUI typically refers to the offense of underage drinking and driving. It is applicable to individuals under the legal drinking age of 21. If a person under 21 is found to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle, they can be charged with DUI. Even a minimal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can lead to a DUI charge for underage drivers.

DWI: DWI, on the other hand, pertains to driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs for individuals who are 21 years of age or older. In Texas, the legal limit for intoxication is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If a person is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC above this limit or is deemed to be impaired due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, they can be charged with DWI.

Legal Recourse for DUI/DWI Car Crash Victims

When you have been victimized by a drunk driver — whether DWI or DUI — you have legal recourse under Texas law to pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible party if you were injured in the collision. By seeking legal action, you can hold the intoxicated driver accountable for their actions and potentially receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who specializes in DUI/DWI car accident cases. An experienced legal team can help you understand the legal recourse you may have as a DUI/DWI car crash victim and the process of proving liability in these cases, (more on that in the following section).

Proving Liability in DUI/DWI Accidents

If you are considering pursuing a claim against a drunk driver who has injured you in a car accident, hiring a legal team to help you gather evidence and prove liability is essential to your claim or lawsuit.

Establishing liability in DUI/DWI accidents involves demonstrating that the intoxicated driver was at fault and that their impairment directly caused the collision and resulting injuries. Here are some key factors in proving liability:

1. Establishing Driver Intoxication and Impairment:

To prove that the driver was intoxicated and impaired at the time of the accident, various forms of evidence can be utilized by your team of Dallas car accident lawyers, including:

  • Police reports: These documents often contain observations made by responding officers regarding the driver’s behavior, appearance, and possible intoxication. DUI/DWI collisions are often severe, so you may not have been able to interact with the at fault inebriated driver. A police report will help your attorney determine the sequence of events that lead to the collision.
  • Field sobriety tests and breathalyzer results: If the driver was arrested for DUI/DWI, the results of these tests can serve as evidence of their impairment.
  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests: In some cases, blood or urine tests may be conducted to measure the driver’s BAC, providing further evidence of intoxication.
  • Witness testimony: Statements from eyewitnesses who observed the driver’s erratic behavior or signs of impairment can strengthen the case. If you are able, and it is safe to do so, obtain the names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses. At some point, your attorney will want to speak with them to get firsthand testimony of what occurred. Often, responding officers will gather this information if you are unable to do so, but not always.

2. Proving Intoxication Caused Your Accident and Injuries

Drunk driving cases can be and are often complicated. Proving that the other driver was drunk driving is one thing; now your legal team has to show the connection between their negligence and your injuries. It’s not always cut and dry. The negligent driver’s insurance company and legal team will be working just as hard to show that you might have some fault in the accident (even if you did not). By working closely with your personal injury lawyer, they can gather and present the necessary evidence to prove that the other driver was intoxicated and impaired and that their actions directly caused the accident and your resulting injuries.

What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled To Receive in a Drunk Driving Case?

In Texas, victims of drunk driving accidents can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover tangible losses such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. Non-economic damages account for intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In certain cases involving gross negligence, punitive damages may also be awarded as a form of punishment. Consulting an experienced Dallas car accident attorney is essential to navigate the legal process and pursue the maximum compensation available under Texas law. Seeking legal remedies not only provides financial support but also holds responsible parties accountable, promoting safer roads and deterring drunk driving. To obtain any punitive damages award, a trial and jury verdict is necessary.

A Dallas Law Firm Explains Legal Remedies for DUI/DWI Car Crash Victims

Hit By a Drunk Driver? The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare Can Help.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a car accident caused by the reckless actions of a driver who chose to operate their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances, our compassionate Dallas car accident lawyers are ready to fight for your rights. We will gather the compelling evidence necessary to establish fault, negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and diligently work to secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.