Houston Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Advocating for Victims of Drunk Driving Crashes in Texas & Beyond
Throughout the U.S., the "legal limit" is 0.08%. This means anyone who drives a vehicle while under the influence is subject to criminal consequences, especially due to the risk of causing severe, fatal harm to others. The result of a vehicle accident involving a drunk driver is almost always catastrophic. These cases are taken extremely seriously. If someone is injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they deserve to be compensated.
Claims for accidents caused by a drunk driver can be difficult without a DWI accident lawyer. A Houston accident attorney can provide the victim or the victim's family with the information they need, take advantage of all available resources, and investigate the accident itself. Additionally, they will be able to take your case to court if the drunk driver's insurance provider fails to comply with the settlement requested by your attorney.
Get professional help with your drunk driving accident claim. Our Houston trial lawyers are prepared to fight for your future; all you need to do is call (888) 493-1629.
Leading Cause of Death on Texas Roads: Drunk Driving Statistics
Did you know that the leading cause of death on Texas roadways in 2009 was drunk driving? These types of accidents are entirely avoidable, which makes them all the more tragic.
Unfortunately, drunk driving is not a rare occurrence, as you can see in the below facts:
- Over 1.2 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
- Males were more likely than females (15.1% vs. 7.9%) to drive drunk.
- The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25-year-old individuals (23.4%).
- About 1/3 of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
- Almost 50% of drivers killed who tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their systems.
- In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Of those children who lost their lives, 122 (54%) were riding with the drunk driver.
- Of the 3,016 traffic fatalities that occurred in Texas in 2011, 1,397 (46%) were alcohol-related, meaning the drivers had a blood alcohol content of over 0.08%, the legal limit.
Why Is Driving While Intoxicated So Dangerous?
Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including certain prescription medications, can put everyone on the road in danger. An intoxicated person will have a reduced ability to drive because of the many ways that alcohol or controlled substances affect the body.
Alcohol and drugs can affect:
- Reaction time
A drunk driver may be impaired physically and mentally. In addition to having a slower reaction time, they may have poor judgment when it comes to important choices like merging. They may get lost in their own neighborhood. They may drive extremely slowly or may speed. Their altered behavior and impaired physical capabilities put them at a distinct disadvantage where they are more likely to cause or be involved in an accident.
Drunk drivers and those who overserved them may be held accountable for causing harm and claiming lives in Houston.
Wrongful Death Cases for Drunk Driving Accidents
Our firm represents families in Houston and across Texas who have lost fathers, spouses, mothers, parents, and other loved ones in drunk driving accidents. In these cases, there is nothing we can do to bring a family member back, but we can seek answers and justice in their name. A wrongful death suit helps the family of a drunk driving accident victim by holding at-fault parties accountable and ensuring financial compensation is pursued for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of support, emotional trauma, and so much more.
This can help a family build a more stable future.
Liability for a Houston Drunk Driving Accident
Liability, or legal responsibility, for a drunk driving accident may lie with an intoxicated driver or with the establishment that served them. When we take on a case, our Houston drunk driving accident attorneys, investigators, and support staff will look at all the evidence. We will consider what happened in the time leading up to the accident and whether the bar, restaurant, or other business that served the intoxicated driver could be responsible. No two accidents are the same, and sometimes there are external factors that must be considered. We pursue every avenue of compensation to maximize our clients’ recoveries.
Helping Drunk Driving Accident Victims Fight for Fair Compensation
Those responsible for these types of accidents will likely be arrested for DUI. Aside from criminal liability, the driver may be civilly liable as well. What this means is that a DUI conviction does not necessarily benefit the victims of the accident. This is why victims can take additional actions against a drunk driver by seeking the help of an attorney. According to a 2011 study, almost half of all drivers who are killed in vehicle collisions tested positive for drugs or alcohol. A third of those who are involved in DUI-related crashes are repeat offenders. The worse the acts of negligence are, the more compensation that our firm will pursue on behalf of drunk driving accident victims.
For example, a case can rest upon factors such as the following:
- What was the driver's blood alcohol content at the time of the accident?
- Did the driver have any prior offenses?
- Were there any children in the vehicle at the time?
Drunk Driving & Texas Dram Shop Laws
Drinking and driving is a problem in America. Though they should be one of the easiest things to prevent, the Centers for Disease Control says that alcohol-related crashes kill 29 people each day in the United States. This means that one person dies every 50 minutes during a motor vehicle accident.
Who Is Responsible for Drunk Driving?
When alcohol impairment causes a car accident, most people think that the only person to blame is the person who was driving drunk. While unsafe drivers should always receive blame for decisions that kill or injure others, the state of Texas adds extra accountability to crashes caused by drunk driving.
The state of Texas does this using a law known as the Texas Dram Shop Law.
What Is a Dram Shop Law?
Dram shop laws hold establishments accountable for knowingly overserving a patron.
A dram shop is an establishment that sells alcohol. In many states, dram shops are responsible for making sure they don’t overserve patrons. Often, laws hold dram shops accountable for the destruction they could have prevented by cutting a person off from drinking or by stopping them from getting in their vehicle while intoxicated. The idea is simple: someone who is inebriated might need the judgment skills of a sober person to be safe.
Currently, 43 states have a version of a dram shop law.
Texas’ Dram Shop Law: What You Should Know
The state’s dram shop law is outlined in the second chapter of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. This section provides a set of laws that places accountability on hosts for overserving guests. Importantly, the dram shop law is applicable to vendors that sell alcohol as well as those who host events where alcohol is free.
The Texas Dram Shop Law creates penalties in three significant situations:
- Serving alcohol to minors
- Serving alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated and poses a threat to others
- A person’s intoxication could predictably cause harm to others
Who Is Liable Because of the Dram Shop Law?
Essentially, the state's dram shop law makes any party in charge of serving alcohol to others—whether free or paid—liable for accidents caused by overserving. The Texas Dram Shop Law is important because it places responsibility on those who should be able to make correct decisions for an impaired person. It saves lives by creating an extra layer of accountability for everyone involved with alcohol consumption.
For example, if a person is overserved at a bar, that establishment must make sure that person doesn’t drive while drunk. If that patron causes a serious accident, the bar might be liable for part of the damages.
Does the Texas Dram Shop Law Apply to Social Drinking?
As mentioned above, the Texas Dram Shop Law also applies to those who are serving alcohol to guests during a social setting. The law makes it illegal for any host over 21 to provide alcohol to someone under 18 if their legal guardian is not present. Additionally, the law bans adults from knowingly allowing minors to consume alcohol on their property. If a minor causes an accident because of alcohol impairment, injured individuals might be able to hold the person responsible for losses caused by the crash.
What Can Someone Recover Under the Texas Dram Shop Law?
In some instances, compensation might be possible if the other party violated Texas dram shop rules.
Damages recoverable from alcohol vendors under the dram shop law include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing therapy or care
- Loss of future wages
Additionally, the intoxicated person might be able to file a case against an establishment for their losses, including the damages they had to pay to those harmed by the accident. While rare, this can be possible because the person was impaired before their accident, and the shop had a legal responsibility to prevent them from consuming more alcohol or placing others at risk.
Can I Make a Claim for Damages Under the Texas Dram Shop Law?
Your ability to make a dram shop law claim depends on the specifics of your case. Every person’s situation is different, and a variety of factors influence their ability to pursue compensation using the Texas Dram Shop Law.
The most crucial component of a claim is how much a dram shop is responsible for a person’s accident. A jury must find a shop to be more than 50 percent liable for a person’s injuries.
If you suspect that you have a claim under this law, then you should call Arnold & Itkin immediately for a free consultation at (888) 493-1629. Our team is ready to listen to your story and help you decide your legal options at no cost. If we take your case, we’ll charge no fee unless we win results for you!
Our Houston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help
Statistics also indicate that one out of every three people in the U.S. will be involved in a drunk driving accident at least once in their lifetimes. If you or someone you know was injured, you may have the option to file a claim for your medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and more. We at Arnold & Itkin can help you learn your rights and options in a free consultation. We also charge no fees unless we win your case.
To learn more about motor vehicle accidents caused by a drunk or negligent driver, call our office today.