Compensation for Dallas Drunk Driving Accident Victims
- May 9, 2013
- Car Accidents
Obviously, people who have been drinking are often seriously impaired and, as such, have absolutely no business getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, drunk drivers are the cause of many tragedies in Dallas and throughout Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 1,075 people killed on Texas roads in 2010 as a result of alcohol-related car wrecks. This accounts for roughly one-third of all Texas traffic fatalities in the year, proof that drunk driving remains a huge problem.
Since driving while intoxicated is a crime, you may be confused regarding the law surrounding drunk driving accidents. As a Dallas car accident attorney, I can assure you that just because the negligent driver is arrested and faces criminal charges, it in no way prevents you from making a civil claim for compensation against their insurance company. The difference between criminal law and civil law is that the criminal penalties are intended to punish the negligent motorist, whereas the civil claims process is designed to reimburse you for your medical expenses, loss of income and other accident-related costs.
Unfortunately, the serious extent of your injuries might mean that you face medical bills far greater than the insurance policy carried by the negligent driver. This is not uncommon in many Dallas drunk driving accidents, particularly since the state minimum liability in Texas is $30,000. When this happens, you should not hesitate to contact a DFW personal injury lawyer who will be able to help you identify whether other insurance policies exist which could help make up the difference so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
UIM and PIP Coverage
You may well have either Underinsured Motorist Coverage or Personal Injury Protection on your own insurance policy without even knowing it. Underinsured Motorist Coverage effectively serves as an extra insurance policy which you can claim against once you have already reached the limits of the negligent driver’s policy. Personal Injury Protection can be used regardless of who is at fault, so it is always worth making a claim against it if you have it.
Dram Shop Claims
Another option is to make a separate claim against the bar, restaurant or liquor store that sold alcohol to the driver who caused your wreck under Texas’ Liquor Liability law. This is called a dram shop claim and basically involves proving that the business was negligent in serving someone who already displayed signs of being intoxicated.
The best thing to do if you have been hit by a drunk driver is to consult with an experienced Dallas injury lawyer as soon as possible. We will be able to explain your legal rights and help you determine the value of the insurance policies available to make sure that we recover the fullest compensation you are entitled to. Call Guajardo & Marks today at 972.774.9800.