Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault?
Drinking and driving is not only dangerous, but it is also a significant crime that carries harsh penalties. However, a driver being drunk at the time of an accident is not necessarily indicate that they are at fault for the crash. As a legal concept, fault can be distributed between all parties involved in a wreck. Though drunk driving is a clear indication of some form of fault and negligence, that does not always mean that the drunk driver has a larger share of the blame than the other driver. To help determine who is at fault for a serious car accident, it is always best to consult with a skilled Dallas car accident law firm.
Pintas & Mullins has experience handling drunk driving car accident claims. If you are injured in a wreck with a drunk driver, we can help you find and preserve evidence of that driver’s fault, increasing your likelihood of getting compensation. As local attorneys, we also know the tendencies of local juries, the preferences of local judges, and the willingness of opposing lawyers to negotiate for appropriate settlements. This gives us an edge in assisting you in your claim.
How Fault Works in My Accident Claim
Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means the courts use a system called proportionate responsibility when determining fault and compensation. This means that all parties involved in an accident can have a portion of the blame, and that portion will affect both which person can sue which other person and the amount for which they can sue. For example, actions like drinking and driving, speeding, following too closely, failing to yield, and running a stop sign are all elements that could affect how the court divides fault. Here are the two primary ways that this system affects your claim.
Who Can Sue Whom
First, the system allows you to sue another party for damages as long as you are no more than 50% responsible for the accident. This makes intuitive sense, as a person who has 51% of the blame is obviously the biggest reason that the accident occurred, and it would be unjust to sue a person who had less fault than them. While drinking and driving is often a significant reason to assign fault to a driver, actions taken by the non-drunk driver may put their percentage of blame over the 50% mark. In that case, they would be the responsible party instead of the drunk driver.
The Amount of My Compensation
Secondly, proportionate responsibility means that your compensation will be reduced by the same percentage as your percentage of fault. In other words, your compensation is lowered by 10% if you are 10% at fault, or lowered by 25% if you are 25% at fault, and so on. As the value of your claim increases, this percentage can represent a lot of money, so it is best to get help from a Dallas car accident law firm so that you can get the most value out of your case.
The Value of My Claim
If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, you can sue the at-fault party for several kinds of damages. The true value of your claim amounts to the sum of all the negative effects you suffer as a result of your accident.
The most easily understood forms of damage are those that have a direct economic impact on your bank account. They include items like lost wages, car repair or replacement costs, and medical bills. Though the opposing side may dispute their responsibility for these items, the value of economic damages usually is clear from receipts or bills.
Less obvious are the non-economic damages you suffer as a result of your crash. They include things like your physical pain, mental anguish, loss of companionship with your spouse, and other subjective issues. You may need to bring an expert witness into the case in order to argue for appropriate monetary values for these damages, but it is important to note that there is no legal limit to the amount you may recover for non-economic harms.
I Should Talk to an Attorney Today
Pintas & Mullins is available to consult with you on your claim for FREE. In addition to a free initial consultation, we also work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless and until we get you the compensation you are owed. We work this way because we believe that justice should not be a financial burden on injured people already dealing with the stress that comes in the aftermath of a car accident.
Put your FREE consultation on the schedule today by calling 214-305-8277 or filling in your information on the form on our contact page.
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