In August 2021, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported that somebody died in a drunk driving accident every nine hours, but by March 2022, the figure had become one person in Texas dying every eight hours and 31 minutes in an alcohol-related traffic crash.
The San Antonio Current reported in June 2022 that Texas ranked fifth in a recent study of the worst states for drunk driving, with the 1,495 drunk driving-related fatalities in 2020 being a 12.2 percent increase since 2019, and anybody who suffers injuries in a crash caused by a drunk driver will want to seek the help of an Austin personal injury attorney.
Texas had 316.8 drunk driving arrests per 100,000 drivers in 2020 as well as 8.5 drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 drivers. People who sustain injuries in drunk driving accidents are entitled to financial compensation for all of their losses, and most juries will be happy to award victims significant awards should these cases go to trial.
When an automobile accident is caused by a person driving while intoxicated (DWI), chances are good that the drunk driver will be placed under arrest and ultimately face criminal charges. While restitution to a victim could certainly be a part of the offender’s criminal penalties, chances are that a victim is going to need to file their own civil claim against the drunk driver.
There are some enormous differences between criminal and civil cases. The biggest difference concerns the burden of proof, as a prosecutor in a criminal case must prove a drunk driver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher standard than the one facing civil claimants who only need to prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence, essentially meaning more than 50 percent.
When the drunk driver is involved in a criminal case, plea negotiations will focus on trying to reduce possible jail or prison sentences and limiting fines. When a civil action commences, the drunk driver’s insurance company will usually be trying to negotiate a more favorable settlement that lessens the amount of money they have to pay.
In most cases, victims of drunk driving accidents are filing lawsuits against drunk drivers. But some drunk drivers may not have enough personal wealth or even insurance limits to pay adequate compensation, and the victims may have to seek additional parties to recover from.
Dram shop laws apply to establishments that serve alcohol, and under the Texas dram shop law, sellers of alcoholic beverages can be held liable for damages caused by an intoxicated patron when it was apparent to the seller that the patron was intoxicated to the point that they were a clear danger to themselves and others, and the intoxication of the patron was the proximate cause of a person’s injuries. Texas also imposes a concept known as social host liability, under which hosts of parties can also be held liable for providing alcohol to minors who later cause traffic accidents.
Were you recently injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver in Texas? TK Injury Lawyers are experienced drunk driving lawyers in Austin who handle all kinds of traffic accident cases and know how to help people recover the most compensation possible.
Our firm will be able to conduct our own independent investigation into your crash and secure the evidence necessary to prove your claims. You can call (512) 872-4761 or contact us online to receive a free consultation that will let us take a longer look at your case and explain everything that can be done to help you recover as much as you can.
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