Is the Drunk Driver Liable for My Injuries?
Drunk drivers can be held liable for any associated injuries and losses the accident victims suffer. In addition to criminal charges the drunk driver may face, victims of the accident have the right to file a civil lawsuit against them. A DUI/DWI injury lawyer will help build a strong case on your behalf.
What Compensation Can I Seek After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver?
In Texas, victims of drunk driving accidents may be entitled to a settlement, including economic and non-economic damages. They may also be eligible to seek compensation for punitive damages if the other driver acted with gross negligence or reckless disregard. In the event that a loved one was fatally injured in a drunk driving crash, surviving family members may also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Damages Available to Texas Drunk Driving Accident Victims
Economic damages represent clear and objectively quantifiable sums of money.
Economic damages in a drunk driving accident often include:
- Vehicle damage – costs to repair the injured party’s vehicle.
- Medical expenses – costs to cover associated hospital bills, therapy, and medications.
- Lost wages – costs to cover a loss of income for the injured party while not being able to work during recovery from associated injuries.
- Lost earning capacity – costs to cover any lasting effects on the injured party’s ability to earn income.
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to quantify than economic damages, as they are more subjective.
Non-economic damages in a drunk driving accident might include:
- Pain and suffering – compensation for the physical pain associated with the accident.
- Mental or emotional distress – compensation for the psychological stress associated with the accident.
- Loss of companionship and/or consortium – compensation for any losses experienced by the spouse of the injured party (emotional benefits of marriage, assistance with household chores, and/or intimacy).
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim(s), but rather to punish the wrongdoer. In cases of gross negligence, a judge may order the at-fault drunk driver to pay punitive damages in addition to standard compensation.
Texas law sets a cap on punitive damages of two times economic damages plus an amount equal to non-economic damages, up to $750,000 or $200,000.
In order for a court to grant punitive damages against a drunk driver, the accused driver must have been committing a crime at the time of the accident, and must have shown “wanton misconduct”.
What is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?
Average settlements for drunk driving accidents are typically between $50,000 to over $125,000. A personal injury attorney will be able to help calculate an accurate settlement for your unique case.