Are you one of the many people in and around the greater Houston who has to live with the consequences of a DUI crash? Did you suffer a traumatic brain injury, paralysis or another catastrophic injury? The chances of suffering a life-changing injury at the hands of a drunk driver are higher than what most Texas motorists might think. Do you have questions about your legal options to recover financial and emotional damages?
You might wonder whether the driver’s intoxication will prove negligence. Surely, the driver knew of the risk of causing injuries or death to others when he or she chose to drive while under the influence of alcohol. If a criminal court found that driver guilty of DUI before a civil suit proceeds, the guilty verdict could benefit your claim against him or her.
Factors the court will consider
Along with the severity of your injuries, the court will consider several other factors in determining the monetary compensation to you, including the following:
- Each party’s degree of fault: You will have to prove negligence on the part of the other driver, and although a criminal conviction might be adequate proof of negligence, the court will consider any fault on your part. Comparative law in Texas allows the court to deduct the percentage of your fault, if any, from the compensation awarded to you.
- Dram shop laws: If the DUI driver visited a bar, restaurant or sporting event before getting behind the wheel, and you can show that a server at that establishment over-served him or her, dram shop laws might apply. This could increase your chances of recovering damages.
- Long-term medical care: If your injuries caused a disability or a chronic condition that requires long-term medical care, the court might include those costs in a monetary award. Also, injury-related expenses such as adjustments to your living quarters to accommodate a wheelchair could be added.
- Loss of employment: If the crash caused injuries that prevent you from returning to work or drastically limit your earning capacity, lost future income could form a part of the award.
- Wrongful death: Fatalities are common results of DUI crashes, and when that happens, the surviving family members can add allegations of wrongful death to their lawsuits. If the loved one who died was the primary income earner, the award could increase considerably.
These are some of the damages you might recover if you pursue financial relief through the Texas civil justice system. However, quantifying those losses is a complicated process. The sensible thing to do from the onset is to arrange a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide the necessary support and guidance along every step of the way throughout ensuing legal proceedings.