If I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver, Can I File a Lawsuit?

If your accident was caused by adrunk driver, the at-fault driver will likely have been arrested and charged with DWI. However, this is a criminal case. The victims of the drunk driving accident may also be able to file a civil claim against the driver on the basis of negligence. The plaintiff's attorney must successfully prove that the defendant was negligent and that their negligence caused the accident and ensuing injuries. Lawsuits may also be filed against drinking establishments (i.e. bars or restaurants) for giving a person alcohol knowing that they were going to be driving or after seeing that they were excessively intoxicated per dram shop liability laws.

Also important to discuss when it comes to drunk driver accidents is punitive damages. This is typically reserved for very serious accidents in which the victim was severely injured. Punitive damages act as a penalty for the negligent party (drunk driver) and are paid to the plaintiff (victim). These damages are paid on top of the compensation that a victim should already be receiving to cover the cost of their injuries and property damage.

What about the cases involving a victim who dies as a result of a drunk driver accident? In these cases, the surviving family members of the victim can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver for their grossly negligent actions. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can cover up to a certain amount of funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of future earning capacity (if unable to work), loss of consortium and more. In Texas, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. To learn more about the wrongful death statute in Texas, view Title 4, Chapter 71, Subchapter A.

There are some cases in which a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed. According to § 71.003 of the Texas statutes, only those people who would have been able to bring a civil action against the at-fault party should they have survived the accident can have their families qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit. Even if the wrongful death occurred outside of the state of Texas, this statute can still apply.

To learn more about drunk driver accidents and what type of legal action you might be entitled to, please do not hesitate to speak with a Houston car accident lawyer from our firm. Stern Law Group's passion for victims combined with their legal effectiveness can secure the results you need.