If you were hit by a drunk driver, you may think that recovering fair compensation should be almost guaranteed. However, you still need to prove your claim to recover compensation.
An experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyer from Anderson & Cummings may be able to help you after an accident with a drunk driver. This may include handling communication with the insurance company, investigating the crash, helping you document your damages, and preparing your case for trial if the insurance company does not offer fair compensation. The initial consultation is free of charge.
Building a Drunk Driving Case
You or your attorney must provide evidence that the other driver was drunk and link his or her intoxication directly to the crash and the injuries you suffered. In other words, you must prove the crash would not have happened if the other driver was sober and not drunk.
It is important to report the accident to the police and tell the responding officer you suspect the other driver may have been drunk. The officer may conduct a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test to determine if the driver was over the legal limit. The accident report should note whether the other driver was drunk and whether a citation was issued.
Other people may have witnessed the collision or the driver’s erratic behavior immediately before it. Ask witnesses for contact information so your lawyer can get in touch later. If you see any nearby cameras that may have recorded the crash, be sure to mention it to your attorney, who may be able to obtain the footage.
One of the most important things that you can do after being injured in a drunk driving accident is to contact a licensed lawyer, who can determine if you have a valid case, what it may be worth and the value of damages you suffered and may suffer in the future.
Can Bars or Nightclubs Be Held Liable?
Texas’ dram shop law imposes liability on bars, clubs, restaurants and other establishments that served alcohol to someone who was clearly drunk, if that person leaves in a car and causes an accident. You must also prove the driver’s drunkenness was the cause of your accident and resulting injuries.
Establishments can also be held liable under Texas law for serving alcohol to a minor child.
Are Punitive Damages Allowed in Texas
Most damage awards are meant to compensate the victim for losses he or she suffered. Punitive damages are a special form of damages that are meant to punish negligent parties for particularly egregious behavior and to deter this type of conduct.
Texas does allow punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, but they are reserved for cases involving gross negligence or malicious behavior.
You must present clear and convincing evidence to establish your right to punitive damages. This is a stricter burden of proof than a standard personal injury claim.
In Texas, there is a cap on punitive damages of whichever amount is larger: $200,000 or twice your economic damages plus non-economic damages up to $750,000.
We Can Help with Your Claim
The experienced personal injury team at Anderson & Cummings is dedicated to helping you seek justice after being injured or losing a loved one in a drunk driving accident. We understand compensation cannot change what happened, but it can be very important as victims look to move forward and avoid a financial crisis.
Call our firm to schedule a free consultation with a licensed attorney. (817) 920-9000