Whether someone is attending a party or is out for the night with friends, it’s important to be responsible when it comes to drinking and driving. It’s always best to designate a driver beforehand or have plans to get a ride when you’re ready to head home. Unfortunately, too many irresponsible drivers decide to get behind the wheel after drinking. Car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers can carry devastating consequences for the victims. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you need legal representation from the Midland drunk driving accident lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Law Firm.
Drunk Driving Rates in Midland
Midland experiences the second-highest number of annual drunk driving crashes of all the cities in Texas. A significant number of those accidents result in fatalities. For every 100,000 residents in Midland, there are 6.19 deaths related to drunk drivers every year.
One fatal accident occurred in August 2019, when a drunk driver hit another vehicle head-on while driving in the wrong lane. One fatality occurred, and the drunk driver was charged with intoxicated manslaughter. Earlier that year in March, a driver was arrested for drunk driving after he crashed into the National Weather Service building. While no injuries or fatalities were reported, the building’s exterior was damaged.
No matter the damage that comes from a drunk driving accident, it’s important to understand that the negligent driver never should have gotten behind the wheel in the first place. In order to hold the driver accountable, it’s important to file a car accident claim.
Determining Liability After an Accident in Midland
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver and plan on filing a claim, you’ll need to be able to prove the driver was intoxicated and caused the crash. In general, the claim is handled by the negligent driver’s insurance company. You’ll need to gather evidence and understand what it means in order to successfully settle your claim.
After an accident, call 911 and make note of any injuries to yourself or others. Keep an eye on the other driver. If you smell alcohol, see beer cans or bottles of alcohol, or see the driver switch places with one of their passengers, report that information to the police—as it could contribute to proving intoxication.
In the days and weeks after a crash, you’ll want to request a copy of the police report. On there, you’ll find information regarding the other driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and any actions the officer believe contributed to the wreck. Additionally, you’ll find witness statements and photographic evidence.
When you work with an attorney, they’ll compile the necessary evidence for you, so you can focus on recovering physically and emotionally. In conjunction with the evidence, your lawyer will handle conversations with the insurance company and proving negligence. The four elements of negligence include duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. A drunk driving accident lawyer can prove the other driver owed you a duty of care to be responsible behind the wheel, breached that duty, and caused your crash and injuries.
Dram Shop Laws in Texas
While the drunk driver is most likely the liable party when it comes to covering accident-related damages, there’s a chance another party is also liable. In Texas, dram shop laws affect any drinking establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed. An establishment can be held accountable if an employee continued to sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron.
Serving alcohol is a responsibility, not a right. This is why establishments have to agree to follow the rules set by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. To sue a bar or restaurant, the injured party needs to prove the driver that caused their accident was obviously intoxicated to the point of danger and were still sold alcohol. This is only a potential source of recovery. There’s no guarantee the shop will be held entirely liable.
Maximizing Your Chances for a Full Recovery
It can seem tempting to handle a drunk driving accident claim on your own, but it’s important to know that your chances of maximizing your compensation are at their highest when you work with a lawyer. We have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that could impact your case, and we’re prepared to take the necessary steps to hold the negligent driver accountable for what you were wrongfully put through. While every situation is different, you may be eligible for the following forms of compensation:
- Economic Expenses. A car accident is likely to result in medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need medical treatments in the future, or you may be unable to work. We can calculate your economic losses so you can continue to maintain your lifestyle and pay your bills.
- Noneconomic Losses. While harder to calculate, noneconomic damages take pain and suffering into consideration. If you were injured physically and are no longer able to participate in the activities you once enjoyed, you can receive compensation for what you were put through. This also includes the emotional trauma you sustained because of the crash.
- Punitive Damages. While not present in every drunk driving case, there is a chance for punitive damages. They serve to punish the negligent party for their actions to discourage them or others from acting in a similar way in the future.
Secure Your Future with Buckingham Barrera Law Firm
Learning your car accident was the result of a drunk driver can be difficult to cope with. If you’re dealing with physical injuries and the financial losses related to the accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. That’s why you need a Midland drunk driving accident lawyer.
When you work with an experienced law firm like Buckingham Barrera Law Firm, we’ll be sure to build a strong case that proves you were wronged. This includes conducting a thorough investigation to determine how and why the crash happened and how it affected you physically, emotionally, and financially.
In addition to conducting an investigation, we’ll prove the other driver was intoxicated, interview witnesses, and handle all communication with the insurance company. We will only settle outside of court if the offer covers the losses you incurred. We’re not afraid to go to trial to get the verdict you deserve.
To learn more about your legal rights and options after a drunk driving accident, schedule a consultation with our attorneys today. We’ll begin by discussing your case, so we can help you decide how best to proceed for your unique circumstances.