San Antonio Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas
Just like every other state in the U.S., Texas has laws prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Unfortunately, this does not prevent everyone from getting behind the wheel while impaired.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), 886 people in Texas died due to alcohol-involved accidents in 2019 (the latest year for which data are available). This constituted 25% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in the state that year. Additionally, thousands more were injured in alcohol-related crashes throughout Texas in 2019—a trend we see every year.
Victims of drunk driving accidents, as well as the family members of those who die in these crashes, are entitled to take legal action. By filing a civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you can not only seek fair compensation for your damages, but you can also work to hold the drunk driver accountable for the immense harm, pain, and suffering they have caused.
Texas DUI & DWI Laws
Texas recognizes both driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) as criminal offenses. As such, those who violate the state’s DUI and DWI laws face criminal penalties, ranging from jail time to fines to driver’s license revocation.
In Texas, one cannot drive with the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC):
- 0.08%: Anyone at or over the legal drinking age (21)
- 0.04%: Commercial vehicle operators, such as truck drivers
- 0.02%: Minors (anyone under the age of 21)
While criminal penalties are meant to punish drunk drivers for violating the law, they do not necessarily do anything to aid victims who are injured or who lose loved ones due to drunk drivers. As such, the state of Texas allows victims to bring civil lawsuits against drunk drivers and/or their insurance providers to recover compensation for damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, disability, and more.
How Does a Criminal Case Differ from a Civil Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit?
In contrast to a criminal DUI or DWI case, a civil drunk driving accident lawsuit is not brought by state prosecutors, nor does it result in criminal penalties, such as jail time. Rather, a civil car accident lawsuit can be brought by an eligible injured victim or the family member of someone who was wrongfully killed by a drunk driver. The purpose of such a lawsuit is to allow victims to recover financial compensation for their losses, while also holding the drunk driver accountable for the harm they have caused.
To bring a successful civil drunk driving accident lawsuit, you will need to do the following:
- Establish that the drunk driver owed you a duty of care. This typically involves nothing more than establishing that you were sharing the road at the time of the crash, as all drivers in Texas owe others on the road an implied duty of care.
- Prove that the drunk driver breached the duty of care. This usually involves proving that he or she was acting negligently and/or wrongfully by driving while under the influence of alcohol/intoxicated. This is where the outcome of a criminal case could benefit your claim.
- Prove that the drunk driver’s breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of your injuries. This generally involves proving that you were injured/harmed because of the drunk driver and, had they not acted negligently, you would not have suffered harm.
- Establish that you sustained measurable damages. You must have experienced economic and/or non-economic losses in order to bring a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Such damages can include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, P.C., our San Antonio drunk driving accident attorneys know how to aggressively pursue fair compensation on behalf of victims of drunk drivers. As the area’s oldest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm, we know the ins and outs of the legal system—and we know what it takes to win. Our personalized approach and aggressive client advocacy have helped us recover millions of dollars for our clients, including numerous seven and eight-figure results.
Texas Dram Shop & Social Host Laws
The drunk driver may not be the only one liable for your damages after an accident. Under Texas’s dram shop and social host laws, you may be able to hold a restaurant, bar, establishment, vendor, or host responsible for the harm you have suffered.
To bring a claim against a vendor under Texas’s dram shop laws, you must prove the following:
- A bar, restaurant, or another establishment/vendor provided alcohol to the defendant
- The defendant was “obviously intoxicated” when the vendor provided them with alcohol
- The defendant went on to cause injuries/damages due to being intoxicated
These elements can be very difficult to prove; it is extremely important that you work with an experienced attorney who can help you build your case.
Additionally, the state’s social host laws are even stricter. You can only bring a claim against a social host if they knowingly provided alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 18), and this contributed to the minor’s intoxication, and the minor went on to cause injury and/or damages due to being intoxicated.
Contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, P.C. for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love was injured by a drunk driver, we understand what you are going through. At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, P.C., our San Antonio drunk driving accident lawyers know how important it is that you have a trusted, skilled advocate on your side. With decades of legal experience and a proven 99% success rate, our team has what it takes to fight for you.
When you choose our firm, you receive personal attention and compassionate, client-focused support from the moment you call until the moment your case is resolved. You will meet directly with an attorney—not a paralegal, assistant, or junior associate. We are proud to be one of the area’s most established and highly respected personal injury law firms, and we are ready to fight for every penny you are owed.
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