Drunk driving is a selfish act that can inflict harm and misery on many innocent people. Every year, thousands of people are severely injured or killed in alcohol related accidents on the roads of America. All too often, loved ones suffer severe mental anguish and physical impairment that alters the course of their lives due to the egotistical, self-centered actions of one individual. If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you need a tenacious personal injury lawyer who will fight to get you the compensation and justice that you deserve.
The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., has been handling personal injury claims involving DUI and DWI for more than thirty years. In addition to handling Houston drunk driving cases, we also deal with car accidents, truck accidents and other personal injury claims.
Texas Drunk Driving Collision Lawsuits
A Texas DUI or DWI may include alcohol, controlled substances, dangerous drugs, or any combination of the two. If a driver does not have normal and regular control of mental or physical capacities due to the introduction of alcohol or drugs, they are considered under the influence and should not be operating a motor vehicle. The blood alcohol limit in Texas is .08, and any blood alcohol concentration over that is considered drunk. Drunk drivers and drivers under the influence of drugs act selfishly and recklessly when the get behind the wheel. When they cause an auto accident that inflicts serious injuries on innocent people, the driver can face both civil and criminal charges.
DUI/DWI civil and criminal charges
When a driver causes an automobile accident due to DUI/DWI, they are considered to be exercising gross negligence. Under Texas law, they can be charged with both civil and criminal penalties. Criminal prosecution is reserved to punish the driver and protect the public. These penalties may include,but are not limited to, intoxicated assault and intoxicated manslaughter. Criminal penalties are separate from civil litigation and can be enforced even if no injuries are suffered. Civil penalties will depend on the severity of the injuries inflicted. Most civil cases involving DUI/DWI can award punitive damages, in addition to other financial compensation, to help make restitution to the victim and deter this type of behavior in the future. If you are considering pursuing a claim against a drunk driver, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate the legal process. You need an attorney who knows how your case and your compensation may be affected by a criminal case. The Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., has been aggressively investigating and fighting DUI injury cases in Texas for over three decades. We understand that this is a delicate and emotional time for you and your family so we offer extensive professional representation with the personal attention that your family needs.
What type of damages can be awarded in a DUI/DWI suit?
Every case is different and evaluated on an individual basis. There are many factors that determine the type of damages that can be awarded in a DUI/DWI suit. Some of these factors include whether the defendant was driving a personal or company vehicle, the age of the victim(s) involved in the accident, and the severity of the injuries. Some of the most common damages awarded include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Preserve your rights
So you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver and sustained some pretty substantial injuries, what happens next? Insurance companies will likely contact you, your own and the other driver’s. It is important that you do not sign anything or make any statements without consulting an attorney. Doing so could limit your rights or even significantly affect the value of your claim. You may get a phone call, a visit in the hospital, or a letter in the mail. Just politely inform them that you want to speak with your attorney before making any formal statements or signing any paperwork. They will understand because they know that they are not really looking out for your best interest.
If the driver was on drugs instead of alcohol, will that effect my claim?
No. The type of claim you are bringing is a personal injury claim based on the damages the driver caused while being impaired and carelessly operating a motor vehicle. The type of damages awarded, the way the claim is investigated, and everything else is the same.
What if I’m a passenger in a drunk driving accident?
If you were the passenger in a car that caused an accident, and you sustained injuries, you may be able to recover damages. Most often in DUI injury case, people think of “the other driver.’ Sometimes, it may be your driver. If it is discovered that the driver is impaired and you were injured, you may be able to pursue financial compensation, even if you were a passenger in the same vehicle.
How long do I have to file suit?
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations so you can file suit up to two years after the accident. It is best, however, to do this right away. It is much harder to gather evidence and conduct an investigation after so much time has passed. Witnesses move and people forget things. Sometimes, it’s harder to get records and details become vague. You’ll have better chances of recovering financial compensation if you pursue your claim immediately.
What if the other driver was under the influence, but I may have been at fault?
You may still be able to recover damages in this instance. Texas is a “comparative fault’ state, which means that the fault of both parties is taken into consideration with regards to an accident. The amount of damages that you recover may be reduced, depending on how much of the fault you take. This doesn’t mean if you think the accident is all your fault, you shouldn’t pursue a claim. You need to talk to an attorney. They can advise you of the best action to take for your particular situation.
Contact an aggressive, experienced DUI injury attorney today
If you have been injured in an accident caused by the recklessness of a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C. today. Call (713) 271-5760 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced, aggressive DUI injury attorney.
Our law firm and our world class legal team can also represent you in other matters, including family law cases and personal injury cases, which often arise following a car accident.
Our personal injury lawyers represent clients in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Call (713) 271-5760.