Being hit by a drunk driver is a terrifying experience that can wreck your vehicle and leave you with severe injuries. Despite drunk driving being illegal in Texas, every 20 minutes a person is injured or killed in a car accident involving alcohol. In Texas, a person is considered intoxicated and can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) if they have a .08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration). If a person is driving while impaired by drinking alcohol, even if their BAC is not .08, they can also be considered intoxicated and can be arrested. No one should have to go through the pain and suffering of being hit by a drunk driver. If a drunk driver has unexpectedly hit you, contact our legal team today so we can guide you through the process of getting fair compensation for your injuries.
Drunk Driving Crashes
In 2019, over 10,000 Texas car crashes involved drivers under the influence. Of those accidents caused by drunk drivers, 788 were fatal. Those lives were needlessly lost because of a driver’s bad decisions and choice to break the law. Nationwide, one-third of all car accident fatalities are caused by accidents involving alcohol.
Driving while impaired by alcohol is one of the most dangerous choices a person can make. Every skill needed to drive safely is negatively impacted by alcohol’s dulling of the senses. Alcohol can slow reaction time and reflexes, impair judgement, blur vision, decrease motor function, and increase fatigue.
Drivers who are drunk commonly display the following driving behaviors:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Slowly drifting out of their lane
- Stopping too soon before an intersection
- Driving through a red light
- Driving too fast or too slowly
- Making sudden, unsafe turns
- Falling asleep at the wheel
Because drunk drivers are not able to react to sudden changes on the road, the car accidents they cause tend to involve devastating injuries or wrongful death. Drunk drivers will often not be able to stop or swerve to avoid hitting a car if traffic stops ahead. The speed of this impact will result in a more forceful collision and more severe injuries. Drunk drivers may even start driving on the wrong side of the road leading to head-on impacts with deadly consequences. If you see a driver displaying these behaviors, give them plenty of room so that you can react to any sudden changes they may make.
Drunk Driving Consequences
If a driver is charged with drunk driving, they may be given hefty fines and/or have their license taken away. Depending on how many DWI charges the drunk driver has had, they could also face jail time. If the drunk driver had a minor in their vehicle at the time of the accident, they can also be charged with child endangerment. Criminal charges do little to help victims who may be left with life-long injuries or was killed by that driver.
What to Do if You are Hit by a Drunk Driver
No matter what type of car accident you are in, the first steps to take are calling emergency services and seeking medical attention. Check yourself for injuries, if you are able to, and make sure to get medical treatment for any injuries found – even if they seem minor at first. If you cannot move, wait for emergency responders to arrive at the scene to transport you to the hospital.
After a drunk driving accident, the next steps may be more complicated – attempting to collect information from the drunk driver, including their driver’s license and insurance information. If they are being difficult because they are drunk and are threatening you or being unsafe, do not attempt to speak to them. Wait for the police to arrive and collect the needed information from a police officer, including a copy of the police report. Make sure to let the police know if the driver was swerving, if they portrayed odd behavior, and/or if you smelled something odd from the drunk driver. Making sure the police are aware the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision is extremely important.
If there are witnesses, collecting their information will be vital to proving the person who hit you was driving drunk. If able, take pictures and video of all vehicles involved in the crash as well as the surrounding scenery for future reference. Before you forget, write down any details of the accident that you can remember. It may be painful to relive so soon but noting everything that happened is important for your claim.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident can be severe and leave you with significant pain for days, weeks, and months afterward. Some injuries may require life-long therapy or medical treatment to allow victims to live a normal life. Injuries suffered after being hit by a drunk driver include concussion, traumatic brain injury, bruising, whiplash, internal bleeding, cuts, broken bones, and more. Some injuries, including whiplash and severe back and neck pain, may not appear until hours or even days after a car accident. This is very common; and, once you start experiencing pain, seek medical attention right away. You may also start to experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from your crash. Seeking professional medical attention for your emotional injuries is highly recommended to help you recover fully.
Houston Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Getting into a car accident with a drunk driver is terrifying and leaves victims wondering what to do next. By hiring an attorney who is well versed in drunk driving cases, you can have peace of mind while being guided through the legal process safely. Houstonians have a lot of road to cover, but no one should fear daily life on the road because of drunk drivers. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the Houston car accident lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. to learn more.