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Drunk driving collisions are an especially traumatic type of personal injury. Beyond the high damages and serious physical injuries, accidents involving alcoholic beverage offenses are particularly terrible because they are entirely caused by the reckless behavior of others — and are therefore absolutely preventable.
Legally, these accidents are handled differently from other traffic collisions because they involve extremely dangerous criminal conduct. The law in Texas provides special rights to victims who were hurt as the result of a drunk or intoxicated driver. Understanding those rights is critical to ensure your case is handled properly and your recovery maximized.
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Because drunk driving is illegal — in Austin, Texas, it may result in a felony charge if the negligent party causes serious injury or has been previously convicted of driving while intoxicated — it can complicate the process and timeline of obtaining compensation. Typically, law enforcement and prosecutors will first initiate a criminal investigation to look into the circumstances surrounding the accident.
This begins the criminal process for a drunk driving accident, where Austin law enforcement gathers evidence to document the accident and intoxication. This information will be used to build a case so that the prosecutor, working for the government, can prove a crime was committed, such that the criminal will be subject to fines, license suspension, and possible jail time, as well as decide the impact to the individual’s criminal record.
Although the evidence discovered during the criminal investigation may be used in your injury case, the process of obtaining financial compensation for your harms and losses occurs through a separate civil action.
Until the criminal process is complete, the government can block access to that important evidence, which can lengthen the timeline for resolving your civil case. But this evidence can also help to significantly increase your financial recovery if handled properly.
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Drunk driving cases are unique from other accidents because they may involve gross negligence on the part of the intoxicated driver as well as the commission of a crime. Therefore, there are some additional things you’ll need to consider with your accident case:
You might be eligible for compensation from the Texas government. The Texas Crime Victim Compensation Fund is a form of support offered by the state government to victims of serious crimes, including those affected by drunk driving accidents. The fund pays for medical bills, lost wages, mental health treatment, and other damages and losses directly resulting from your accident.
Not all accident victims are eligible for the fund, however. An Austin drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand how likely you are to recover damages and help you with the process of filing for it.
Because drunk driving accident cases can be extraordinarily complex — with multiple legal actions and many factors to consider — it’s recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney to help you navigate your case. Although you do not necessarily need legal representation, a lawyer can help you:
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Drunk driving accidents have significantly different legal implications than other car accidents. An experienced DUI accident attorney at FVF in Austin can educate you about the proper steps you should take, starting immediately after your drunk driving accident, to put you in the best position to maximize your recovery. Here’s what we offer our clients.
Talking to an experienced Austin DUI accident attorney will help you evaluate your case so you know what needs to be done to maximize your drunk driving accident settlement. We can help, and a case evaluation is always free.
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When you’re in a car accident, your body experiences trauma from the impact. You may also experience impalement, crushing, and damaging jostling. Injuries that commonly result from car accidents include broken bones, head and neck trauma, brain or spinal cord injuries, and burns.
Some of the signs that a driver was intoxicated while driving include:
In the state of Texas, fault is a bit more complicated than in other states. As a result, Austin drunk drivers are not always found to be at fault in car accidents. An experienced lawyer can determine fault in a car accident to help you seek the recompense you need.
In Texas, those who have been victims of drunk drivers may seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of quality of life, wrongful death, and pain and suffering. An experienced drunk driving accident attorney can help victims accurately assess their losses. A drunk driving accident can be potentially life altering in many ways, so it’s important to have someone on your side who cares about ensuring you have what you need to get back on your feet.
Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Ann. §2.01, bars or retailers can be held liable if they sold, provided, or served an alcoholic beverage to a customer who was obviously intoxicated at the time the transaction took place and that customer went on to cause injuries and property damage due to his or her intoxication. Because bars are plentiful in Austin, there’s a good chance that a drunk driver originated at a bar. A lawyer can suss out such important details to determine who should be paying for your injuries and other damages.
In Texas, those who commit a first-time driving while intoxicated offense typically are charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Such a conviction carries penalties that can include between three and 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. The charges and penalties may be worse depending on the severity of the crash and the presence of aggravating factors. Accidents happen, but when alcohol is involved, life can become complicated for everyone involved. A law firm that genuinely cares about their clients can help ensure the best outcome.
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