Texas is known for many things, including the dubious distinction of consistently being at the top of the list concerning drunk driving fatalities. Driving while under the influence can have serious ramifications for both the drunk driver and those in the vehicle they hit. The drunk driver could be facing fines and jail time, and the parties at the receiving end of the crash could experience life-altering injuries or even death.
How Texas Laws Can Impact a Drunk Driving Case
If you operate a motor vehicle in Texas, you are automatically granting the authorities your consent to test your blood alcohol level if they have reason to believe you could be under the influence. In Texas and every state across the nation, it is illegal for drivers to have BAC levels over 0.08 percent. Refusing a breathalyzer test can result in stiff penalties, especially if the driver has previous DWIs on their record.
Drunk driving accidents differ from other types of car accidents in the following ways:
- It raises the level of negligence per se. Negligence occurs when someone violates an unwritten social contract and behaves in a way that puts others in danger. Negligence per se goes beyond normal negligence, and Texas courts have deemed that acts categorized as such make it easier to prove that a defendant acted negligently. Driving under the influence is considered negligence per se.
- It can result in criminal charges against the drunk driver as well as punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically awarded at the court's discretion when they find that the defendant's behavior has been especially harmful. They are not meant as compensation for injured plaintiffs but as a punishment to the accused.
What You Should Know About Comparative Fault
Texas is a comparative fault state. This means that if the injured party is found to be more than 50 percent at fault in causing the accident, they could be held financially responsible for the accident. Although there is implied negligence when a driver has an elevated BAC, a DWI does not automatically put the drunk driver at fault. For example, if a drunk driver crashes into you while you are texting and driving, both you and the drunk driver may be found at fault.
You will have to prove the other driver was negligent in doing something to cause the crash—in this case, driving while impaired. If you cannot prove this, you might not get compensation for your injuries from the drunk driver’s insurance company.
Insurance companies use plenty of tricks to minimize their liability for an accident claim, including shifting the blame for the cause of the accident. If the insurance company can find that you were responsible for the crash, it maximizes profits by not paying your claim. With comparative fault laws, if the insurance company can find that you were liable for even a portion of the accident, it can justify paying less on your claim.
Don’t let the drunk driver’s insurance company try to underpay your claim or deny it altogether. Protect your right to receive full compensation for all damages by working with a DWI wrecks attorney in Texas who understands how to fight against allegations of comparative fault.
Contact a Texas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible After Your Wreck
Clearly, accidents involving a drunk driver are not as straightforward as you might think. This is why you need an experienced lawyer who can gather the evidence required to make a strong case for your claim. Insurance companies always have the same goal—to pay out as little as possible to maximize profits. Without an attorney on your side, you might not get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Our accident investigators can go over the details of your crash to determine whether other parties could be held liable, including the person or business that provided alcohol to the negligent driver.
Contact us as soon as possible after the crash so you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.