Can I Sue a Drunk Driver?
Nearly 1,000 people were killed in a drunk driving accident in Texas in 2018, according to the latest data available from the Texas Department of Transportation. That accounts for more than a quarter of all traffic-related deaths for that year, and it does not include all the serious injuries that these kinds of accidents can cause. People who are injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, or families who suffer a loss because of the actions of a drunk driver, can sue that individual for compensation. Often, it is best to do so with the help of a skilled Dallas drunk driving accident law firm like our firm.
Our attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of local courtrooms, the tactics and tendencies of opposing lawyers, the tricks of reticent insurance companies, and the preferences of local judges. That means we can offer you an edge that you may not have when you go it alone or trust an out-of-town law firm to represent your interests.
When I Can Sue
There are several procedural rules that govern when you are able to sue a drunk driver. Not only does the timing have to be correct, but the driver also must shoulder most of the blame for the accident. A drunk driving accident attorney can help you collect evidence and file your claim on time.
The Statute of Limitations
First, you must make sure that you file your claim within the legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. For all personal injury claims, such as drunk driving accident injuries, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 sets this deadline at two years from the date of your injury. In other words, you must file your lawsuit against the drunk driver within two years of the wreck or risk missing out on the ability to pursue compensation from them.
Fault in Texas Drunk Driving Accident Claims
Another important factor that determines whether you can sue a drunk driver for compensation is the issue of fault. Though drinking and driving is a serious offense that is clearly evidence of negligence, not all car accidents are cut-and-dry. In some cases, such as instances in which you were speeding or ran a red light when the drunk driver collided with you, fault can be shared between the involved drivers.
Texas uses a system called proportionate responsibility to handle these situations. The main points to note are, first, that you are able to recover compensation as long as the court finds you to have no more than 50% of the blame for the wreck; and, second, that your total recovery will be reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to you.
For example, your compensation package will be lowered by 25% if the court deems you to be 25% responsible for the accident. If you suffer a grand total of $100,000 in damages as a result of the wreck, this amounts to a reduction of $25,000! That is a lot of money, so it is important to get help from a skilled Dallas drunk driving accident attorney who can work to lower your share of the blame and increase your eventual compensation.
Suing the Drunk Driver’s Bar
In some cases, you may be able to get compensation from another entity after a drunk driving accident: the bar that served the driver. Commonly known as “dram shop law,” this concept is codified in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §2. The statute allows you to sue the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol in the following situations.
- The driver was visibly inebriated when the bar kept serving them
- The driver was given alcohol while underage
Since suing a business often involves navigating stricter laws and regulations, as well as going up against parties with more resources than the average individual, it is always best to seek assistance from a drunk driving injury law firm in Dallas like our firm.
I Can Get a FREE Consultation
Dallas drunk driving accident lawyers at our firm have helped clients just like you sue the drunk driver who injured them. If you are injured and suspect that you might have a viable personal injury claim, get in touch with us today to schedule a totally FREE consultation. Remember: we do not collect a fee unless and until you get the compensation you are owed.
Schedule your appointment with our knowledgeable attorneys today by calling 214-305-8277 or filling in your information on the form on our contact page.