Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous hazards any motorist can face. Every day, drivers trust the others around them to control their vehicles and pay attention to traffic as they go their way. Unfortunately, many people do not take this responsibility seriously and operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol. In fact, 27 people on average die every day as a result of drunk driving.
Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is a crime in every state. Motorists are required to have full control of their faculties while operating vehicles, and alcohol greatly impairs one’s ability to safely drive. This creates a serious risk for the impaired driver and everyone around him or her on the road. Typically, anyone with a blood-alcohol content over .08% is considered to be driving drunk.
ESTABLISHING A DRUNK DRIVING LAWSUIT
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, there are a few key pieces of evidence you must obtain. First, the police report of the accident will show whether or not sobriety tests were administered at the scene. Secondly, medical reports for you (or an injured love one, if you are suing on behalf of an injured loved one who is incapacitated) and the offending driver will be necessary. If you feel as though you or your loved one’s injuries were the result of a drunk driver, then retaining the services of an attorney will be critical to a successful outcome for your claim.
As with any other personal injury lawsuit, a successful claim will depend on the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant’s negligence. To do so, three key facts must be established:
- The defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care. In drunk driving cases, this means he or she had a responsibility to operate a vehicle safely and not under the influence of any illicit drugs or alcohol.
- The driver breached this duty by some action. This would mean proving that he or she was driving under the influence.
- The plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of this breach of duty. You cannot sue a drunk driver for injuries he or she did not cause.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Drunk driving accidents are typically much more injurious and deadly than other traffic collisions. Drunk drivers are operating their vehicles with distorted perception and diminished ability to make split-second judgments. This means that drunken driving accidents usually involve higher speeds and more dangerous maneuvers, causing greater injury. The types of damages that can result from this kind of collision include:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Internal damage
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions
- Spinal cord injuries, such as whiplash or direct cord injuries that have permanent effects
- Lacerations and cuts from debris and broken glass
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one has suffered these or another injury as the result of someone’s drunken driving, you are likely eligible for financial compensation. You may be able to sue for medical expenses, costs of ongoing treatments, rehabilitative procedures and surgeries, pain and suffering, lost wages from time away from work, permanent disability, and lost earning capability. If a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you may pursue a wrongful death claim.
No matter what your situation entails, a reliable and experienced attorney will make an enormous difference in the outcome of your claim. The Nielsen Law Firm in Houston, TX has over 30 years of experience with all types of personal injury cases, and we never shy away from intense litigation. Reach out to our team of professionals if you have any questions about a drunk driving accident in the Houston, TX area.