Choosing to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol puts everyone on the road at risk, and displays gross negligence with regard to the safety of others. A blood alcohol concentration of over .08 is considered illegal in Texas, but a smaller amount than this may still impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. In 2018 alone, over 10,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred; and, of all deaths caused by a car accident, about a third involved alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Drunk driving frequently leads to severe accidents, as impaired drivers often contribute to extremely dangerous crashes through actions such as speeding, driving the wrong way onto one-way streets, and crossing the median of an interstate. Drunk drivers can hit drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, no matter how careful they are being. A collision with a drunk driver can easily cause serious accidents like rollovers, T-bone accidents, and head on collisions, among others.
In 2014, over one million people were arrested for driving under the influence in the United States. Despite this staggering number, this accounted for only 1% of all self-reported drunk driving incidents. That means approximately 99% of drivers operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol are not caught by the police. While many drivers may think their alcohol consumption is insufficient to cause any harm, even a small amount can cause problems such as slowed reaction times, delayed ability to quickly avoid potential hazards, impaired ability to make prudent decisions, declined visual functions, reduced hand-eye coordination, and impaired memory and reasoning ability.
With this information in mind, it’s important to know the safety steps to take to avoid engaging in drunk or impaired driving. For instance, before drinking always make sure you are with someone staying sober who can be your designated driver, and don’t allow any of your friends to drive if they appear impaired. Overall, if you’ve been drinking or using substances, find a ride home, use a rideshare service, or call a taxi.
If seriously injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, the victim and/or their family may not know the best course of action. In addition to the physical and emotional difficulties associated with their injuries, victims could be shouldered with staggering medical costs. Medical treatment, medications, specialized equipment, physical rehabilitation, and a host of other necessary costs can quickly add up, including many ongoing future costs. While it may seem the drunk driver’s insurance company will provide for all costs, and it may offer a seemingly large settlement to mitigate these costs, it is important to ensure any accepted payment will fully compensate victims for all present and future costs arising from the incident.
It is important for an experienced Houston motor vehicle accident attorney to review the facts of your accident to determine what caused it and who to hold liable. Establishing negligence on the part of the driver is a crucial element in recovering compensation for victims, and a driver operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a clear display of negligence. If an accident should occur as a result of this decision, the drunk driver is likely to be held liable for the resulting damages.
Additionally, our legal team will explore where the driver obtained their alcohol. Of particular importance to these cases is The Dram Shop Act, the part of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code that covers dram shops, which is a fancy name for any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed, such as a bar, club, or restaurant. The law makes them liable for selling alcohol to people who are obviously intoxicated. A simple example is, if someone has been drinking at a bar and the establishment’s staff continues to sell them alcohol even after they are obviously inebriated, the establishment may be held liable if the inebriated patron injures someone in a traffic accident later that evening. The owners of establishments licensed to sell alcohol can only be held liable for whatever proportion of responsibility a jury assigns to them. In Texas, a jury must find the dram shop more than 50 percent responsible for the person’s injuries for the driver to be held liable for whatever portion of injury the jury determines they caused by choosing to drink and drive. An experienced attorney can evaluate the situation and see if this or other laws and statutes are applicable to the situation, to ultimately make sure the victim holds the responsible parties accountable and gets all the restitution they deserve.
Houston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car wreck involving a drunk driver, you may be able to obtain financial compensation. The Houston drunk driving accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP have helped a wide range of auto accident victims, and we know what’s important when it comes to getting you back on your feet. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique circumstances.