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DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT
Tips for Staying Safe
Unfortunately, Texas is in the top 10 states for DUI-related car accident injuries and fatalities. Every year hundreds of individuals lose their lives to drunk driving accidents and thousands more suffer injuries.
When irresponsible drivers decide to hit the road after engaging in heavy drinking, they put the lives of others – and their own – in serious danger. A drunk driving accident can change your life forever in just a single moment.
In order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents in the Rio Grande Valley, we all have a duty to follow the rules of the road and be vigilant of our surroundings. Drunk driving accidents are largely preventable, and because of this, negligent drivers need to be held accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, contact the Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC, at (956) 686-9600 for your FREE initial legal consultation. Our McAllen drunk driving accident attorney will make sure that you secure the justice and financial recovery you deserve.
How Texas Defines Drunk Driving
Texas Penal Code Section 49.01 defines a person as being intoxicated when they do “not [have] the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of 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.”
The state of Texas considers individuals as intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08. If caught behind the wheel:
- An individual with a BAC at .08 or higher can be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
- Individuals under the age of 21 cannot have any trace of alcohol in their blood.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles cannot have a BAC higher than .04.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) states that violators caught drinking and driving can face a variety of punishments depending on the number of convictions they have. It is important to note again that the severity of the penalties above is determined by how many prior convictions of driving while intoxicated the negligent party has on their record.
DWI Penalties in the State of Texas
Individuals who are caught in the act of operating a vehicle while intoxicated may be subject to a number of penalties, including:
- 1st Offense
- 3-180 days in jail
- $2,000 maximum fine
- 1-year maximum license suspension
- 2nd Offense
- 1 month to a year in jail
- $4,000 maximum fine
- 2-year maximum license suspension
- 3rd Offense
- 2-10 years in jail
- $10,000 maximum fine
- 2-year maximum license suspension
Drivers who are charged with a second or third offense are subject to having a special ignition switch placed in their vehicle to prevent another incident.
As per the “No-Drop” law in Texas, no person under the age of 21 should have a trace of detectable alcohol in their blood when operating a vehicle. Under this zero-tolerance, anyone under the age limit who has even the slightest detection of alcohol in their bloodstream is susceptible to fines, license suspension and possible jail time upon refusal of a BAC test.
Additionally, the Implied Consent Law states that every driver is subject to BAC-level testing if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence of alcohol. Those who refuse a BAC test are suspected to confirm their intoxication and will thus face a license suspension of 180 days or more.
Common Injuries Suffered in Drunk Driving Crashes
The following are common injuries suffered by individuals involved in serious DUI-related collisions:
- Lacerations and burns
- Soft tissue injuries (whiplash)
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Concussions/traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
Sadly, fatalities frequently occur in drunk driving accidents, whether it is the drunk driver themselves or an innocent victim. Know that if a loved one passes as the result of a drunk driving accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
As the severity of injuries ranges in drunk driving accidents, some victims may experience only minor injuries, while others suffer more serious, life-threatening fates. Medical expenses can quickly accumulate and sometimes long-term care is necessary. Filing a personal injury claim against those who harmed you can help you and your family to deal with any financial burdens you may be dealing with.
Texas Laws That May Apply to Your DWI-Related Accident
In the state of Texas, victims have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations.
In most cases, the incapacitation of drunk drivers is the sole cause of a collision. However, in the case that you may be partially at-fault, know that you may still be eligible for compensation. Texas is a modified comparative fault state which means you may still recover damages in an accident for which you held less than 50 percent at fault.
The total amount of damages for which you are responsible for will be deducted from your total compensation. For example, if you contributed 25 percent to the accident and received $100,000 settlement, your total compensation will be reduced by $25,000 and you will receive $75,000.
Tips for Staying Safe
It is important to remember that we are ALL responsible for our own actions. If you are going to enjoy a few drinks, please make sure to drink responsibly and have a plan in place to get home safely.
Consider taking the following steps if you are going to be drinking:
- Plan for a designated driver who will NOT be drinking.
- If necessary, use a cab or ride-share service such as Lyft or Uber.
- Never let a friend or family member drive drunk.
- If you are holding a celebration or any other type of event at home:
- Consider getting a designated driver who can get guests home safely.
- Make sure to serve non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of water.
- Plan to have guests stay the night.
Filing Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim
If you have fallen victim to a drunk driving accident caused by an intoxicated driver, consider taking the following steps to secure the best shot at recovering compensation:
- Seek medical attention immediately. If an ambulance arrives to assist the scene, seek care to assess any injuries, even if you are not badly hurt; some injuries may appear days after the incident. Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments if you undergo long-term treatment.
- Get in touch with an attorney. When you are well enough, or if you can get assistance to do so, seek consultation from a dependable McAllen drunk driving accident attorney who can offer guidance on how to pursue justice and compensation in a DWI-related crash.
- Work with your attorney to gather evidence. Evidence that is traditionally gathered for car accidents at the scene includes eye-witness accounts, photographs of the scene and police/ accident reports. Medical records, medical bills and financial documents can help to prove that the accident caused you real damages.
- Refrain from accepting a quick settlement. If the defendant’s insurance company should contact you and offer you a quick settlement, do NOT simply accept it – even if it looks good. Insurance adjusters know that you may be in need of money to cover property damages and medical bills, and thus they may offer you a lower settlement than you are entitled to. Hold off until you have consulted with an attorney to estimate your claim’s true worth.
Ryan C. Solis Can Get You the Money You Need!
Your health and financial well-being can be devastated by the reckless act of a drunk driver. By pursuing a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation for but not limited to the following:
- Property damage
- Medical costs (past, present, and future)
- Lost wages
- Long-term medical care
- Mental distress
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Putting Your Life Back Into Your Own Hands. Call Ryan Now!
Drunk driving accidents can quickly become legally complex. You need an attorney that is experienced in holding intoxicated drivers accountable for their actions. Victims deserve maximum compensation, and with the help of the experienced and knowledgeable McAllen personal injury attorney, Ryan C. Solis, you are on the right path to excellent results.