When a drunk driver causes an accident that leaves one or more victims hurt or suffering or results in other damages, he or she is subject to legal consequences on both a criminal and civil level.
On a criminal level, anyone charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas faces penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines, license suspension, and even jail time, regardless of whether or not they cause an accident.
In the event that an accident does occur as a result of their DWI and victims sustain injuries or other losses, victims have a right to sue for monetary compensation in civil court.
Furthermore, the courts could consider a DWI in Houston or elsewhere in Texas to be gross negligence, thereby entitling victims to punitive damages.
Immediate steps to take
If you are in an accident with another motorist—especially if you believe him or her to be drunk or otherwise impaired—it is crucial that you take immediate action (if you are not too seriously injured). Follow the steps listed below to ensure the strongest possible basis for a court case, should you need it:
Call the police – Immediately dial 911 if no witnesses have already done so. Once an officer arrives on the scene, you can explain that you suspect the other motorist is drunk or under the influence of another substance. The officer will likely administer field sobriety tests and may even place the other driver under arrest. You should request the officer’s contact details, as well as a copy of his or her police report.
Gather information from the accident scene – Even though police will make their own observations and compile them into an official report, you should still gather as much information as possible from the scene of the accident. Take photos of the damage and of your or any other victims’ injuries, collect contact details of any other drivers and passengers involved in the accident, and request statements from any witnesses present.
Seek medical attention – If your injuries are severe, you may be taken to the emergency room out of necessity. But even if you feel relatively okay, you should still go directly to a hospital for a full evaluation. Not only can some serious injuries first present after an accident with little or no symptoms, but it’s important to begin a paper trail of your medical records that concern injuries from the accident, should you need to present evidence in court.
Call an auto accident attorney – If the driver who caused your injury was, indeed, drunk, you already have a strong basis for a civil car accident injury case. If you are unsure of the results of testing, your lawyer can help you obtain the police report and other necessary documents. And most importantly, he or she can guide you through the subsequent legal process.
Contact a Houston auto accident attorney for help after being hit by a drunk driver
Whether you were hit by a drunk driver or another negligent motorist, you are entitled to seek compensation for the undue physical, financial, and emotional trauma you suffered as a result.
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DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLCDeHoyos LawDeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC is a Personal Injury law firm in Houston, TX. We have helped countless accident and injury victims obtain the fair compensation they deserve across Texas.