Accidents happen, but car crashes with someone driving under the influence can have devastating effects. While it may seem like a slam dunk case if the at-fault driver was on drugs or alcohol, it can actually be really helpful to hire a Houston traffic accident lawyer for your case. In this article, we will address what driving under the influence is and how a lawyer can help if you were injured by a drunk or drugged driver.
Talk to Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer If You Think the At-Fault Driver Was Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Car accidents with someone driving under the influence can get complex quickly. Therefore, it’s important to talk to a Houston accident injury attorney about your case. If you were in a car accident with an impaired driver, you should take the same steps as any other car accident, including:
- Check if anyone is hurt
- Call the police
- Exchange information with the other driver
- Take pictures if you’re able
- Get contact information for witnesses if any
Houston Has a Serious Problem with Car Accidents and Driving Under the Influence
You may not have heard, but Houston roadways are some of the most dangerous in the country. According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston is the most deadly major metropolitan area for driving in the U.S. Also, impaired driving is a common and disturbing problem here in H-town. Unfortunately, this means there’s a serious and significant risk that you may end up in a car accident with a drunk or drugged driver. In many cases, impaired drivers may cause more serious car crashes because their vision, judgement, reaction times, and other necessary driving skills are reduced by substances.
Signs to Look for That The Other Driver was Under the Influence
There are countless signs that someone is intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. Substances also tend to affect people differently. Therefore, there is no definitive way to tell if the other driver is under the influence, except a drug or alcohol test. However, there are a few common signs to look out for. Some of these include:
- Smelling of alcohol
- Slurring words
- Stumbling or uncoordinated
- Extreme drowsiness, even falling asleep
- Extreme agitation or aggression
- Red eyes
- Dilated pupils
If you notice these signs, be sure to include these details in your written explanation of the accident. We recommend writing down everything you can remember about the accident as soon as possible. Also, if the responding police officers believe the driver may be impaired, they will likely have the driver take a test for drugs or alcohol.
What Counts as Driving Under the Influence?
When we talk about car accident cases where a driver was under the influence, you might immediately think of alcohol. Driving while drunk is certainly one of the most common forms. For instance, a 2018 survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 20.5 million people 16 or older admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol within the previous year.
However, it’s also important to talk about other types of driving under the influence. It is also illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of other substances. Anything that alters your mind can affect your ability to drive. This can increase the risk for accidents and may lead to more severe accidents. Driving under the influence includes illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and hallucinogens.
However, this can also include legal drugs. There are many medicines that are legal to take but can impair your ability to drive. Frequently, prescription medications will come with a warning label not to operate heavy machinery while taking the drug. Even over-the-counter medicines can cause drowsiness and other side effects that make it difficult or dangerous to drive. For instance, many allergy and cold medicines you can buy over-the-counter have ingredients that may make you drowsy.
If you suspect that the other driver was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or impairing medications, it’s important to talk to your Houston traffic accident lawyer about your case. A lawyer can help your case in many different ways.
How Does a Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Help with a Car Accident Case with a Drunk or Drugged Driver?
It may seem like a car accident case against someone who was driving under the influence should be easy, but it is anything but. A Houston traffic accident lawyer can help your case in many ways.
Insurance May Not Pay: Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Can Fight Your Case in Court
One important thing to understand after you were hit by a drunk or drugged driver is that auto insurance policies typically won’t cover the accident. Essentially, the driver broke the contract with the insurance company. Many policies exclude coverage for these accidents. Typically, that means you will have to file a lawsuit against the other driver instead of an insurance claim. This can make your case more complicated and often means your Houston traffic accident lawyer has to fight in court for your rights for compensation. While you can still settle outside of court with the driver, you will still generally need to file a lawsuit as a first step.
Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Can Determine What Your Case is Worth
In addition, your Houston accident injury attorney can help you determine how much compensation to ask for. Many car accident victims don’t really know what their case is worth. They may ask for simply the amount of their medical bills, but that may not cover all of your accident-related expenses. For instance, if you were out of work for doctor’s appointments or because your injuries prevented you from performing your job duties, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. Also, in many cases you may be able to get compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Calculating how much your case is worth is a complex process which a legal professional can help you with.
Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Gathers Evidence
Another important way your Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you with your case is gathering evidence. Whether through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you will need to prove a few different things. First, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. You will also need to prove that the compensation you’re asking for is fair for your accident-related expenses. For a case against a drunk or drugged driver, this may involve getting toxicology reports from the police department, gathering witness statements, and assembling evidence for expenses related to the car crash.
DeSimone Law Office – Your Houston Accident Injury Attorney
Need legal help after a car accident? Our team at DeSimone Law Office offers experienced legal services for your personal injury case. We have helped settle thousands of disputes from car accidents and are here to help fight for your right to compensation. Whether you need help after Houston rear end collisions or a major accident with an impaired driver, our attorneys are here for you. Get a free case evaluation today with our attorneys.