Drunk drivers pose serious dangers to Texas drivers every single day. It's important that if you or a loved one is hit by a drunk driver, you know what steps to take in both your criminal and civil cases in Texas. Learn more about the differences between these two cases from experienced car wreck attorney Russell Button of The Button Law Firm.
Drunk Driving Legal Cases
When we get calls from clients that have been involved and hit by a drunk driver, they always want to know what is different about a DWI wreck versus a car crash. The simple thing is, every 20 minutes, someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of a drunk driver. Drunk driving cases can be complex, there can be a lot of different nuances associated with it. I always recommend that you get a lawyer whenever you've been hit by a drunk driver.
Clients need to know the difference between a DWI civil case and a DWI criminal case. The criminal case, if you've been hit by a drunk driver, the DA and detectives are going to use you as a victim to be able to testify that you got hit and that you were seriously injured or harmed in that wreck. However, there's no compensation for a victim in criminal court. There is a small amount that the DA's office will be able to allow you to get compensated for, but a civil case is vastly different, and that's where we come in.
We represent the victims of DWI wrecks in their civil case, and we help guide them through the criminal process as well. The civil case is where you get compensated for your medical bills, in the past, and if you had permanent injuries, your medical bills in the future, as well as all the non-economic, mental anguish, pain and suffering, disfigurement, if you have scars. Those are the kinds of damage in the civil case that we help you pursue through the insurance company for the drunk driver.
What to do If You Were Injured by a Drunk Driver in Texas
Whenever you've been hit by a drunk driver, the first thing that you want to do is call a lawyer, and the reason is, we want to investigate it to see where the drunk driver was coming from. Because if they were coming from a commercial restaurant or bar, there may be additional liability on the bar. They call that Dram Shop in Texas, We also call that places that sell alcohol. And the reason why we want to look at them is under the TABC regulations, they're not allowed to serve alcohol to somebody that is visibly intoxicated. And that's why we call it a Dram Shop case, meaning that the drunk driver may have hit you, but they never should have been served to get drunk at that bar or restaurant. And those are important cases that we like to pursue for the victims of DWI wrecks at our firm.
The potential damages after a DWI wreck, like I was talking about earlier, are your medical bills, not just in the past, but in the future as well, but also the things that affect you the most-the emotional damages, the mental anguish, the pain and suffering of getting up every day with a back injury or head injury. Those are the damages that we pursue, but you also have punitive damages claims in Texas for drunk drivers, because we want to deter that conduct from happening in the future. And that's what we can help take care of in the civil case.