How Do Attornies Hold Drivers Responsible for Their Negligence?

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Some car crashes on the open road are clearly accidents. Others are nothing of the sort. Drunk drivers who cause crashes that lead to injuries or death cannot claim that they made a simple mistake. They made a choice, and you have a right to hold them accountable for that choice in a civil court through a lawsuit. 

The team at Godsey Martin P.C. stands ready to help, but we recognize you probably have questions about the process at this confusing time. How do our Houston drunk driving accident attorneys hold drivers responsible for their negligence?  

We do it by applying our knowledge of Texas personal injury and wrongful death law and precedent and by becoming fierce advocates for our clients who are seeking fair compensation for their losses. Our attorneys have put together this explanation of what it takes to make drunk drivers accountable for their actions. 

How Common is Drunk Driving in Texas?

Despite decades of efforts to get the message out, people still drink and drive, and with devastating results. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone dies in a drunk driving incident every nine hours in Texas. 

In 2020, nearly 1,000 were killed and more than 2,100 suffered serious injuries because of drunk driving, the Texas DOT says. The fatality and injury rate in Texas is the fourth-highest for any state. In some years, Texas has led the nation in drunk-driving fatalities. Nationwide, more than 10,000 people are killed each year in drunk-driving incidents.

The devastating impact of drunk driving in Texas is felt most by men in their 20s and 30s, although all age groups and genders have become victims of DWI incidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Drunk driving doesn’t just happen, either in Texas or other states. It’s a conscious choice. If you have lost a loved one in a DUI fatality or have been seriously injured, you may be able to seek compensation. At Godsey Martin P.C., we will look closely at your case and work hard on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve.

Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable for Injuries

Drunk driving is illegal, so those who do drive drunk face severe criminal penalties. But you can also take steps in the legal system to hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions by filing either a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

The goal of a lawsuit is to provide you with compensation for your losses, most notably the costs of medical treatment. The longer the medical treatment takes, the more likely you may experience additional hits to income, such as lost wages resulting from missed work. You may have had to take a leave or ask for time off for doctor appointments. If the accident puts you out of work or keeps you from your chosen occupation, you may also seek damages for loss of earning capacity. The law does not include caps on amounts you may recover for economic and non-economic damages.

Under Texas law, you are entitled to seek:

  1. Economic damages, such as direct out-of-pocket costs.
  2. Non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
  3. Special damages, for uncommon costs incurred as a result of the accident, such as the need to hire a home health aide.
  4. Punitive damages, which seek to send a message by punishing the drunk driver for particularly egregious behavior.

Personal injury suits in Texas have a two-year statute of limitations.  While that may seem a long time, there is a lot to do to prepare a claim. You should consult an attorney as soon as you can after the accident. If you file after the two-year period, your claim may be dismissed.

Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable for Wrongful Death

Sometimes the worst happens, and a drunk driver claims someone’s life. In this instance, our Houston drunk-driving accident attorneys also have ways of holding drivers accountable through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Under Texas law, a person can be legally liable for damages if they cause someone’s death through a wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or other negligent action. Only surviving parents, spouses, and/or children may bring wrongful death actions in Texas. As with personal injury claims, wrongful death cases must be brought within two years.

These specific parties can sue for damages such as:

  1. Loss of earning capabilities.
  2. Losses of care, support, advice, and counsel.
  3. Pain and mental anguish.
  4. Loss of companionship, love, and comfort.
  5. Lost inheritance.

The wrongful death statute does not apply just to drunk driving car accidents. It is applied in other circumstances, such as medical malpractice.

It is possible in connection with your lawsuit to collect punitive damages from the drunk driver, but only in circumstances that involve willfulness, an omission, or great and obvious negligence. Texas law caps punitive damages. In Texas, judges or juries may award twice the amount of actual economic damages and add an amount of up to $750,000 in non-economic damages.

The attorneys at Godsey Martin P.C. will fight hard to recover every dollar possible for you, no matter whether you pursue a wrongful death or personal injury claim. 

Drunk Driving Accident Representation From Godsey Martin

The aftermath of a drunk driving accident is confusing as you shift into recovery mode and seek to find a new normal. Let Godsey Martin P.C. help so you can focus on getting better. With offices in Houston and Dallas, Godsey Martin is one of the largest personal injury firms in Texas. On average, we recover as much as $3 million each month for our clients and their families through dogged advocacy and a commitment to justice.

Our attorneys focus on accidents of all kinds, including those involving vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, and DUI/DWI. We also represent clients in slip-and-fall matters. Contact us for a free consultation. We will review your case and give you our professional assessment and recommendation for how to proceed and also guide you in collecting the evidence you need to win your case. We’re ready to fight for you. Call us or contact us online.

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