McAllen Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
The Information You Need When an Intoxicated Driver Injures You
Unfortunately, thousands of people across the country die every year because of drunk drivers. Choosing to get behind a wheel while intoxicated can take seconds, but the impact of that decision can evolve into a lifetime of hardship, immense pain, and devastating effects for victims and their families. Despite McAllen’s public transportation options, such as the bus and metro, some individuals still choose to drink while intoxicated.At the Patino Law Firm, we know that victims of drunk driving are not only going through a lot physically, but that they also may feel apprehensive about the future. That is why our McAllen drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help you. By taking legal action against the drunk driver who hurt you, we can send a message that McAllen and the rest of the Rio Grande Valley does not tolerate drunk driving and that we hold irresponsible drivers accountable.
The Patino Law Firm
In McAllen, Can You Sue the Drunk Driver That Injured You?
If a drunk driver injures you in McAllen or elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley, you can bring a drunk driving accident lawsuit against that drunk driver, regardless of whether you were hurt as a motorist, a passenger, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, or even a pedestrian. However, to be successful, you need to provide relevant evidence showing that the drunk driver caused the accident that led to your injuries.Working with an experienced McAllen drunk driving accident attorney can help you gather this critical evidence, which often includes:
- Police reports
- Crash reports
- Blood test results
- Breath test results
- The driver’s record, including previous drunk driving accidents and arrests
- Any eyewitness statements
- Any social media posts
- Receipts showing where and when the at-fault driver purchased alcohol before driving
What About Third-Party Claims?
In McAllen, the drunk driver is not the only individual that you may hold responsible for your injuries. Working with a knowledgeable McAllen drunk driving accident attorney can help you identify other parties that may have played a role in your accident.These other at-fault parties may include:
- The employer: In certain situations, if drunk drivers cause accidents while acting within the scope of their employment, their employers may face liability. For instance, if a truck driver was intoxicated and crashed into you on the way to making a delivery, you could bring a suit against that driver’s trucking company.
- The vendor: Texas laws allow you to bring a claim against vendors who served or sold alcohol to intoxicated individuals or to minors, who then caused an accident. According to the Alcoholic Beverage Code, an establishment (bar, restaurant, nightclub, etc.) may face liability for selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual. However, the individual bringing the lawsuit needs to prove that the individual was obviously intoxicated to the degree that he or she posed a danger to others at the time of purchasing alcohol.
- The social host: Texas law allows plaintiffs to bring claims against “social hosts” who contribute to alcohol-related accidents if the host was over 21 and provided alcohol to a minor younger than 18. As long as the social host was not the minor’s legal guardian or spouse and knowingly provided an alcoholic beverage to the minor or allowed the minor to drink on the social host’s property, then he or she may also face liability for the accident.
As you can see, going after these third parties requires detailed evidence. With the help of a McAllen drunk driving accident attorney, you can gather the evidence needed to identify each of the potentially liable parties and go after maximum compensation.
If the Court Acquitted the Driver of a DUI/DWI, Do I Still Have a McAllen Drunk Driving Accident Case?
What Actions Should I Take If I Was in a McAllen Drunk Driving Crash?
The first thing you should do following a drunk driving accident is call 911. The responding police officers can determine who needs emergency medical treatment while also investigating the accident scene.Additionally, if it is safe for you to do so, you should try to collect as much evidence from the accident area as possible. Take photos and/or videos of the accident scene, including any visible injuries, the motor vehicles involved, any skid marks on the road or other road hazards, any traffic signs near the accident scene, and the weather conditions.
Documenting the accident immediately after the crash can help you prove your case, especially if any evidence gets lost. If you see any witnesses, also make sure to get their names and contact information. Their statements can provide you with helpful information when trying to establish fault.
Finally, even if you do not think your injuries are significant, you should still get examined by a medical professional. These doctors can verify that you do not have any hidden or undisclosed injuries, while also providing you with the necessary treatment. The doctors will also write down all of the injuries that you’ve sustained in a medical report. This report will be especially helpful if the insurance company decides to argue that you received your injuries from a superseding event rather than from the drunk driving accident.
What Damages May I Recover After a McAllen Drunk Driving Accident?
Drunk driving accidents can lead to disastrous results and devastating injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, and severe disfigurement. As a victim, you deserve compensation that can provide you with the critical medical care you need. In Texas, you may qualify to receive the following damages:
Economic damages: These are easily quantifiable damages meant to help you recover the out-of-pocket expenses that you’ve incurred due to the accident.
Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, potential economic damages include:
- Medical expenses and bills (including past and future medical costs)
- Lost wages (including past and future wages)
- Lost earning capacity
- Personal property damages
- Rehabilitative services
- Household services expenses
- Medical devices, such as a wheelchair
- At-home nursing care expenses
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These damages are not easily quantifiable. They are somewhat subjective and more difficult to calculate. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages: Texas law permits courts to award exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. These damages are only awarded in specific circumstances where a defendant’s actions were so egregious that they warrant additional punishment. These damages are also intended to deter similar actions in the future. Texas law caps these damages at the larger of $200,000 or two times the economic damages amount plus an equal amount of non-economic damages up to a max of $750,000.
Nobody can undo the damage that you suffered as a result of a drunk driving accident. However, with the help of an experienced McAllen drunk driving accident attorney, you can go after compensation to help you move on with your life.
Factors Affecting Compensation in McAllen Drunk Driving Accident Claims
Even though you may qualify for damages following a drunk driving accident, many factors will affect the amount of compensation.These factors include:
- The severity of your injury
- The permanency of your injury
- The expected recovery time
- The disruption to your daily life
- The ability to work
- The magnitude of the medical treatments and rehabilitation
- The invasiveness of the medical treatments
- The long-term pain management needs
- The duration and amount of your suffering
- The vitality before and after the accident
Drunk driving accidents can result in a lengthy legal process. During this time, emotions can run high, and finding peace may prove challenging. That is why you must get the legal help that you need. The Patino Law Firm is here to guide you during this complicated time, answer any questions you may have, and help you fight for justice and compensation.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim After a McAllen Drunk Driving Accident?
If you were injured in an accident in Texas, you generally have two years from the accident date to file a claim. However, certain circumstances may shorten or lengthen this time period.Talk to a McAllen drunk driving accident attorney as quickly as possible. An experienced attorney can help you figure out not only if you have a viable claim, but also how much time you have to file.
In general, you should not wait too long to file your McAllen drunk driving accident claim. Over time, memories of the accident can fade, witnesses may no longer be around to testify, and evidence can disappear. All of which, unfortunately, can end up hindering your case and your chance of success.