What Is the Difference Between DWI and DUI?
If you or a loved one sustained an injury resulting from a DUI or DWI accident, you might have many questions about your next steps. Frequently asked questions include “who may be liable for my injuries?” “How does the driver’s conviction affect my injury claim?” “How do I prove the driver was drunk?” Learn more about DUI and DWI in Houston, who else may be liable for your injuries, and how Godsey Martin, P.C. can assist you with your Houston DUI and DWI accident claim.
Driving while intoxicated, or DWI, means operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in public. Texas defines as either:
- Not having the regular use of one’s mental or physical faculties.
- Having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more.
Driving under the influence is a charge reserved for minors, those younger than age 21. A minor is determined to be driving under the influence when operating a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the individual’s system.
Who May Be Liable for Your Injuries?
Like other car accidents, the liable parties in a DWI or DUI accident may include the driver, the individual’s insurance company, the car manufacturer, and a mechanic who recently worked on the car. If your accident involved a road hazard, the city or state might also be liable.
Due to Texas Dram Shop Liability laws, a business that served an already intoxicated driver or over-served a driver can also be held liable for injuries caused by the drunk driver. An experienced and knowledgeable Houston DWI or DUI accident lawyer will be able to identify the responsible parties for your injuries.
What Types of Injuries Are Common in DWI and DUI Accidents?
The injuries sustained in DWI or DUI accidents vary depending on the circumstances, such as vehicle type, speed, and other factors. Common injuries suffered in car accidents include:
- Minor cuts, scratches, and bruises.
- Torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Sprained and strained wrists and ankles.
- Damage to internal organs.
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Head and brain injuries.
- Neck and shoulder injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
Regardless of the injury you sustained in your accident, recovery times vary considerably. The medical costs and lost wages associated with these injuries can turn an already traumatic experience into a highly stressful one.
What Types of Recovery Are Available After a DWI or DUI Accident?
In Texas, personal injury claimants, such as DWI or DUI accident victims, may be entitled to compensatory, noneconomic, and exemplary damages. The type of injuries and harm you experienced due to the incident will determine the amount of the damages you receive.
Compensatory or economic damages get awarded to compensate you for expenses you incurred and expect to incur due to the accident and your injuries. Common compensatory damages include:
- Medical care and costs.
- Short- and long-term care.
- Lost wages, including loss of future earnings.
- Damage to your property.
Noneconomic damages pertain to nonmonetary losses. These losses involve situations where an exact dollar amount may be difficult to pinpoint. Common examples of noneconomic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Mental or emotional pain or anguish.
- Loss of consortium, companionship, and society.
- Physical impairment.
Exemplary or punitive damages get awarded to punish wrongful conduct and serve as a warning to deter others.
How Does A Criminal DWI or DUI Charge Impact a DWI or DUI Injury Lawsuit?
Texas has zero tolerance for drunk driving, making driving while intoxicated a criminal offense. Those charged with DWI and DUI face criminal charges with various penalties, including incarceration and suspension of their license. The criminal charges are addressed in a criminal court and are separate from personal injury cases brought by those injured by the drunk driver.
If the driver that injured you is also facing criminal charges, you may face a delay in your civil personal injury case because the criminal case needs resolution first.
What Steps Can You Take to Stay Safe on the Road?
The Texas Department of Transportation recommends several safe driving tips to keep you safe on Houston roads:
- Always obey traffic signals, posted speed limits, signs, and markings. These actions ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
- Never drink and drive or drive while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, or medications that cause drowsiness.
- Never ride in a vehicle driven by a driver while intoxicated.
- Never let an individual drive while intoxicated.
How Can Godsey Martin, P.C. Help You After You’ve Sustained an Injury in a DWI or DUI Accident?
You receive a dedicated, professional, and personalized experience from the first day you enter our offices. Whether you sustained an injury in a DUI or DWI accident as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, our knowledgeable and experienced team of Houston personal injury attorneys will handle every aspect of your claim, including:
- Explaining your legal rights and options.
- Filing your claim with the insurance companies or the court.
- Obtaining necessary evidence for the case.
- Referring you to qualified medical professionals, including doctors and physical therapists.
- Managing all correspondence with insurance companies and their lawyers.
- Negotiating settlements with insurance companies and their lawyers.
- Getting compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages associated with the accident.
We understand how stressful and confusing being involved in a DUI or DWI accident can be for you and your loved ones. When you turn to us, we’ll take personal injury claims and cases on a contingency fee basis. We do not collect any fees unless you get paid.
Contact us online or at 800-IGOTHIT (800-446-8448) for a free consultation about your truck accident case. We also handle other personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents and slip-and-fall accidents.
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Our Team of Attorneys are Available 24/7
Our legal team, located in Dallas and Houston, understands the steps that need to be taken to help accident victims get their life back on track. We will stand by your side throughout the entire legal process, fighting the insurance companies and the negligent driver responsible in order to provide you the money and justice you deserve. Click or call us today to begin your case.
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