With the Super Bowl behind us, many people may need the help of a Houston traffic accident lawyer for a drunk driving crash. Approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths nationally involve an impaired driver. In Texas, this number is closer to 40%. Alcohol-related accidents cost an estimated $44 billion every year, and 29 people each day die in crashes with an alcohol impaired driver, according to the CDC. If you were injured by a drunk driver, it’s important to know what to do for your case to increase the likelihood of getting compensation for your damages and injuries.
Call Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer if a Drunk Driver Hits You
If you’re involved in an accident with a drunk driver, there are several things you need to do. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you through this process. After a drunk driving accident, you should take all the steps you would for any other accident. Assess whether anyone is injured, seek medical attention if you’re injured, and make sure to exchange information with the other driver. However, getting a police report is even more important when a drunk driver causes a car crash.
Get a Police Report
It’s important to remember that driving while intoxicated is a crime. Therefore, any time you suspect another driver has been drinking alcohol, you need to call law enforcement. When police arrive, they will most likely do a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test if the person appears to be intoxicated.
Some common drunk driving behaviors include:
- Driving very fast
- Driving very slow
- Inconsistent speeds while driving
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Driving in the wrong direction
In addition, you may smell alcohol on their breath or notice other signs of intoxication when talking to them after your accident. If you notice any of these signs, make sure you call the police.
A police report can help your Houston car crash attorney in many ways. If the police officer charges the other driver for driving while intoxicated, it can help provide proof of fault. In addition, a DWI conviction may significantly impact your case and settlement offer from the insurance company. In many cases, evidence of the other driver’s intoxication leads the insurance adjuster to offer a higher settlement. This is because oftentimes, the insurance company realizes that their case is weak. Therefore, they don’t want to go to court to argue compensation. However, remember to be wary of taking a settlement too soon. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you determine a fair settlement amount and when to settle or file a lawsuit.
Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer May also Recommend Going After the Establishment that Sold the Alcohol
However, legal action against the driver isn’t your only option for compensation. In some cases, you can also go after the bar, restaurant, or club that over served the person responsible for your car crash. This is called Dram Shop Law. Sometimes, your Houston traffic accident lawyer may recommend filing a Dram Shop lawsuit to help recover your damages.
What is Dram Shop Law?
Dram Shop Laws help hold establishments like bars responsible for over serving alcohol. It is illegal to serve so many alcoholic drinks to someone that they become a danger to themselves or others. If you believe the drunk driver was over served and can determine where they were drinking before your accident, then you may be able to file a civil suit against the establishment. However, it’s important to note that this law doesn’t apply to “social hosts” such as friends or family who serve someone alcohol in their home. The alcohol must be sold for Dram Shop Law to apply. The only exception is if a social host over the age of 21 serves alcohol to a minor under 18.
How will my Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Find Proof of Over Serving?
However, for a Dram Shop case, you must prove that the establishment over served the person alcohol. This means that the person was obviously or visibly intoxicated when they sold the person alcohol. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer may need to find witnesses, video footage, or other evidence to help prove this. Some indications of intoxication that we may look out for in these pieces of evidence include:
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- Their breath smells of alcohol
Also, another sign of over serving is that the person drank enough alcohol inside the establishment that would make the average person intoxicated, even if they didn’t show other signs. These types of cases can be complex, so it’s important to work with your Houston car crash attorney.
Peak Drinking Days of the Year: Drive Safely and Responsibly
We all know that the Super Bowl is a major drinking day that we just passed. In fact, on average, BAC levels on Super Bowl Sunday are similar to those on New Year’s Eve. However, that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. On Valentine’s Day, just a few days away, blood alcohol levels are also similar to those on Super Bowl Sunday. St. Patrick’s Day is another holiday with high levels of drinking and drunkenness, which is coming up in about a month. Drunk driving accidents can also happen any day of the year.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that even if you are under the legal limit of 0.08 BAC for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may still feel the effects of alcohol. For example, even at 0.02% blood alcohol concentration (which is approximately two drinks in one hour for the average person), you can start to experience loss of judgement, difficulty concentrating on the road, and a decline in your visual functions. Therefore, your Houston auto accidents attorneys urge you to remember to drink responsibly and use a designated driver or other form of transportation.
At DeSimone Law Office, we fight for your rights after a car crash. We have helped settle thousands of accident and injury disputes and will advocate on your behalf to help you receive the compensation you need. We’ll even take care of your out of pocket expenses and provide you a rental car while you wait for repairs. If we don’t win your case, we ask for no payment in return. Call us today at (713) 526-0900 to speak to one of our attorneys and request a free case evaluation. We are here for you.