According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 30 people die every day as victims of intoxicated driving accidents. This number is staggering and unacceptable considering that all of these deaths could have been avoided had an intoxicated individual not gotten behind the wheel. Driving with any alcohol or drugs in the system increases the risk of getting into an accident by a large margin. If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, that driver was likely arrested for a DUI and will be facing criminal penalties as well as administrative penalties such as license suspension. However, this does nothing to compensate victims and their families for damages. That is why the law allows victims to take civil action so that they can pursue compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
More than 30% of Drunk Drivers are Repeat Offenders
In many cases, victims of drunk drivers can file lawsuits against the negligent driver for the physical and emotional damage that they caused. These cases are typically the most successful when an attorney can prove that the driver got behind the wheel of their car knowing that they posed a danger to other drivers on the road, therefore showing a wanton disregard for safety. Did you know that about a third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are actually repeat offenders? This statistic comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The courts typically view the actions of repeat offenders as even more egregious than a first-time offender.
What is Dram Shop Liability?
Dram shop liability might also factor into your case. The truth is, many individuals find that they can bring claims against more than just the negligent driver. Dram shop liability is a legal principle that refers to the responsibility of bar and restaurant owners (among others) to refuse to sell alcohol to minors as well as refuse to sell or give alcohol to those who are visibly intoxicated or will soon be driving. If you were hit by a drunk driver who was sold alcohol by a bartender, for example, even though the bartender was aware that they were very intoxicated and would be driving soon, then dram shop liability would likely apply.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Attorney
Alarmingly, some statistics indicate that about 30 percent of all Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point during their lifetime. Some statistics give an even higher percentage. Either way, with the DUI offender rate being as high as it is, it is unfortunately likely that many drivers and passengers will become the victim of this type of accident. If this has happened to you, then you need to be aware of your rights as a victim. Take action and speak with a personal injury attorney about the accident you were involved in.
To learn more about drunk driving accidents and legal action that victims can take, please do not hesitate to contact Stern Law Group. Our Houston car accident lawyers are standing by to guide you through the legal process. Please call (877) 661-9900 to request your free case review.