DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS: A LETHAL DANGER ON TEXAS ROADS
Drunk driving remains a grave and persistent issue on Texas roads, claiming lives and causing untold suffering to countless families. The statistics are sobering - every nine hours and six minutes, a person loses their life in drunk driving-related crashes in Texas. In 2022, 1,162 individuals lost their lives in drunk driving accidents and more suffered severe injuries because someone chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. These figures serve as a haunting reminder of the devastating consequences of impaired driving. In a recent Forbes article, Texas was listed as one of the most dangerous states to drive because of drunk drivers. Texas ranked third in the nation, behind Montana and South Dakota, for the most drunk drivers in 2022. More concerning, the report found that Texas ranked second in the United States for the most fatal accidents involving a drunk driver and second in the nation for the percentage of traffic deaths caused by drunk drivers. Recently, the Texas Department of Transportation announced that three people are killed every day in a crash with a drunk driver.
The Reckless Choice That Endangers Lives
Driving while impaired by alcohol is against the law in Texas, as it is in every other state, yet far too many people in Texas choose to ignore these laws, carelessly endangering themselves and others. The decision to drive drunk puts not only the impaired driver's life at risk but also endangers the lives of passengers, other motorists, and innocent bystanders. The wrecks caused by drunk drivers can be catastrophic, often involving high rates of speed, leading to severe injuries, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries and, tragically, death.
As an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, I have represented numerous victims of drunk driving accidents, witnessing firsthand the heart-wrenching impact it has on families and communities. Two particular cases have left an indelible mark on me, serving as stark reminders of the preventable nature of these tragedies.
Case 1: The Fallen Hero
In one case, I represented the grieving family of a young Fort Worth police officer, who tragically lost his life due to a drunk driver. The police officer had pulled off the interstate in Fort Worth to assist a motorist in changing their tire, displaying the selflessness and dedication that embodies the law enforcement community. However, a habitual drunk driver, who had already accumulated over 10 alcohol-related charges, careened into the scene, pinning the police officer between the drunk's vehicle and the motorist's car. The impact was catastrophic, severing the police officer's legs, and he tragically died at the scene. The drunk driver, however, survived and was eventually sentenced to prison for his crime. My clients, on the other hand, lost a beloved son, forever changing their lives.
Case 2: A Heartbreaking Loss
In another heart-wrenching case, my client's son, a National Guard member, was headed to duty early in the morning. Approaching an intersection with a green light in a Fort Worth suburb, he had no reason to suspect the impending tragedy. However, a single mother of three, who had spent the previous night drinking at a Fort Worth bar, ran a red light and collided with my client's son's vehicle. The impact was catastrophic, and my client lost her son in an instant. This single mother who drove drunk was later convicted by a Tarrant County jury and sentenced to prison for 20 years, leaving her children to grow up without a mother in their lives. This tragic incident left two families devastated and forever changed due to one mother's irresponsible decision to drive while intoxicated and a bar's negligence in overserving her when she was clearly intoxicated.
These cases, though deeply tragic, serve as powerful reminders that drunk driving accidents are preventable and demand continued awareness and action.
Car Accidents Involving Alcohol: A Different Ballgame
Accidents involving alcohol fundamentally differ from ordinary car accidents, both in their devastating consequences and the legal aspects. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, it is essential not to settle your case hastily. The reality is that when a drunk driver injures you, your case is likely worth significantly more in compensation. I have encountered numerous cases where insurance companies attempted to settle with victims early for paltry amounts, only to achieve substantially higher recoveries once I got involved.
A Full Investigation Needed: Uncovering Responsibility
In addition to examining the actions of the drunk driver, a thorough investigation is vital to determine if the person was drinking at a bar or other establishment just before the accident. Under Texas law, it is illegal for a bar owner to serve alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated individuals. If they do so, they can be held liable for injuries caused to those harmed by the drunk driver - a legal concept known as a Dram Shop case. Thus, drunk driving accidents need to be thoroughly investigated to ensure all responsible parties are identified and held accountable for their actions.
Criminal vs. Civil Law
Understanding the distinction between drunk driving charges is crucial. When a person drives drunk and injures someone, the police will likely arrest the drunk driver for violating a criminal statute. This constitutes a criminal charge, and if found guilty, the individual will face criminal penalties. However, these penalties do not compensate the victim for their injuries.
As an accident victim, you have the right under Texas law to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries caused by the drunk driver. To prevail in your case, you must demonstrate that the drunk driver was negligent, meaning they failed to exercise reasonable care, and that their negligence was a direct cause of your injuries. Additionally, you may also pursue punitive damages, as driving while intoxicated exceeds ordinary negligence and demonstrates a level of recklessness not found in most car accidents. Furthermore, a comprehensive investigation may reveal other responsible parties, such as bar and nightclub owners, who contributed to the collision's occurrence.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver or lost their life due to such negligence, it is crucial to consult an experienced DWI accident attorney to protect your rights and seek rightful compensation. An attorney well-versed in drunk driving victim cases will collaborate with the criminal investigation, obtaining relevant police reports, testimonies, and essential documents to establish liability and effectively prosecute your drunk driving case. Though the civil case remains separate from the criminal case, the expertise of an attorney who understands both aspects of the legal system can significantly benefit your overall case.
At our Fort Worth law firm, we offer a FREE CONSULTATION to address your questions and concerns promptly. You need not worry about upfront fees, as we operate on a contingency basis. Time is of the essence; valuable evidence and information can be lost if an investigation is not promptly initiated. Safeguard your rights, seek justice, and obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve after a tragic drunk driving accident. CALL TODAY to ensure that you receive the professional legal assistance you need.
In conclusion, drunk driving accidents remain a devastating menace on Texas roads, causing irreparable harm and trauma to victims and their families. The alarming statistics reflect the urgent need for continued efforts to combat this preventable tragedy.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a drunk driving accident, it is crucial not to settle for less than what you deserve. Engaging an experienced drunk driving accident attorney who understands the unique complexities of these cases can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. A thorough investigation is essential to uncover all responsible parties, including establishments that may have negligently contributed to the driver's impairment.
At our Fort Worth law firm, we are committed to advocating for victims of drunk driving accidents. We offer a FREE CONSULTATION to provide you with the answers and guidance you need to make informed decisions. We operate on a contingency basis, which means you do not need to worry about upfront fees. We are dedicated to helping you seek justice and holding negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Let us fight for your rights and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Call today to ensure your case is promptly and effectively pursued. Valuable information can be lost without a timely investigation, so act now to protect your rights and achieve the compensation you deserve.
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DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT RESOURCES
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving: The leading advocacy group against drunk driving with lots of resources on its website.
- Texas (MADD) Mothers Against Drunk Driving: The Texas chapter of MADD.
- North Texas (MADD) Mothers Against Drunk Driving: North Texas chapter of MADD