Former Dallas Cowboys alumnus Michael Irvin speaks out against drunk driving in the radio studio with car wreck lawyer Ryan Thompson. As the retired Dallas Cowboy and personal injury attorney Ryan Thompson discussed, drinking and driving is a catastrophically dangerous action. Every day, more than 30 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes (one person every 48 minutes in 2017). In 2016, drunk driving resulted in 10,497 fatalities (28% of all traffic-related deaths) in the United States. Texas alone saw over 1,400 fatal drunk driving accidents last year.
Being involved in a drunk driving wreck can impact your life in a variety of negative ways. As the car wreck attorney and former Cowboy discussed on the radio, if you have been hit by a drunk driver in Texas, you have the legal right to hold that person accountable for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other damages. It is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney so that you can understand your rights.
Driving under the influence is illegal and may result in more than just a fine or license revocation. Driving while intoxicated increases the likelihood of having a car accident, which may result in catastrophic injuries or even death. The first step in recovering some form of monetary compensation from a car or truck wreck involving a drunk driver is understanding the laws in the State of Texas.
In Texas, a person is considered legally intoxicated and can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08g/dL. However, a person driving a vehicle can be convicted of a DWI even if their BAC is lower than 0.08g/dL if the driver’s mental and physical faculties are impaired. If the driver is under the age of 21, Texas has a “zero tolerance” law that makes it illegal to have any amount of alcohol detected in your system while operating a vehicle.
To find out an estimate of how many drinks it takes to reach the legal BAC limit for your weight, visit the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Impaired Driving Statistics
- In 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s 1% of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults every year.
- 1 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
- On average, a convicted drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his or her first arrest.
- Drivers with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher who were involved in fatal crashes were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for DUI than drivers with no alcohol in their system.
- 31% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes on weekends were alcohol-impaired, compared to 16% of vehicle operators during weekdays.
All Car Accidents Aren’t Created Equal
If you have been in a car accident involving a drunk driver (i.e., driving while intoxicated, or DWI) or a driver that has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs (i.e., driving under the influence, or DUI), it will have a major impact on your personal injury case. Motor vehicle collisions involving intoxicated drivers set themselves apart, due to the approach taken in determining if and how much compensation is due for damages.
Drunk driving accidents share commonalities with other types of car accidents because both may involve serious injuries, an attempt to assign liability, and negotiations with insurance providers to reach a settlement. However, drunk driving accidents differ in 2 ways:
1) Proof of DWI – this constitutes negligence per se. This means that in order to assign liability a person injured in a drunk driving accident doesn’t have to prove all 4 elements of negligence:
2) The victim only has to show that the defendant caused their harm (the last 2 elements of negligence).
- The person injured in a drunk driving accident is more likely to receive punitive damages – due to the aggravating factors involved – than a person injured in a car accident involving no alcohol.
Punitive damages are designed to “punish” the individual at fault and discourage others from behaving similarly. Punitive damages will only apply if the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence. Driving while intoxicated constitutes gross negligence.
What Do I Do If I’ve Been Involved in An Accident with a Drunk Driver?
When you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver, it is crucial to obtain evidence that the driver who caused the accident has been drinking. A police report stating that the driver was intoxicated and/or had an open alcoholic container in the car at the time of the accident is critical evidence for negotiating a higher settlement, or to use at trial in personal injury cases.
A drunk driver may attempt to cover up their intoxication before a police officer arrives on the scene by, for example, dumping out alcohol or switching drivers. It is important to pay close attention to the actions of the driver after an accident, to document any relevant interaction using photo or video proof, and to report any suspicious activity of the driver and/or passenger to the police officer.
There Does Not Need to be an Arrest
Driving while intoxicated is a crime. However, if you have been involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver, an arrest is not necessary for you to make a case against them.
Texas Comparative Fault Still Applies
In the state of Texas, you may still be held liable for a drunk driving accident even if you weren’t the drunk driver.
Texas is a comparative fault state, which means that your compensation may be lowered if it’s determined you were partially responsible. For example, if you ran a light and were hit by a drunk driver, your compensation may go down in relation to the degree to which you were responsible for causing the accident. For example, if you were determined to be 25% responsible for the accident, you will only receive 75% of the compensation.
Have You Been in An Accident with an Intoxicated Driver?
If a drunk driver injured or killed your parent, spouse, child, or another relative, call a drunk driving accident lawyer at Thompson Law as soon as possible. We will thoroughly investigate the situation, evaluate your injuries, and advise you on whether you can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. We are highly experienced in personal injury law, and if you have a claim we will fight hard for you and your family to receive the compensation you deserve during this difficult time. Trust former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin’s endorsement of personal injury lawyer Ryan Thompson.
Call Ryan The Lion Thompson today – or submit our online consultation form using this link – to schedule a free consultation, discuss the circumstances of your accident, and how we can help you. As the former Cowboys states, the injury lawyers at Thompson Law work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s never a fee unless we win your case. Choose attorney Ryan Thompson to be your car wreck cowboy if you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver.