Austin Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Fighting for Drunk Driving Victims 24/7
Thanks to the work of organizations, volunteers, and nationwide PSAs, a majority of Americans know that it’s dangerous (and illegal) to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, that doesn’t stop people from doing it – every day, almost 30 people die in drunk driving crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA). Individuals who are caught after these types of car accidents can be arrested and face criminal charges, but this alone doesn’t help those they injured. Chris Morrow Law, PLLC is here to help victims of drunk driving accidents in Austin by filing a civil claim, also known as a personal injury claim. Our drunk driving accident lawyer can investigate your accident, collect evidence, and file your claim within the deadline to recover the compensation you need to heal. He can also be by your side if you’re filing a wrongful death claim following the death of a loved one.
Contact Chris Morrow online or call (512) 641-5232 if you were injured by a drunk driver. In addition to their criminal charges, our drunk driving accident lawyer in Austin can help you file a civil claim and pursue justice on your behalf.
On This Page:
- Texas Drunk Driving Laws
- Understanding Dram Shop Laws
- What if the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance?
- Can I Get Punitive Damages for a Drunk Driving Accident?
- Can I Still File a Claim If I Was a Passenger?
- The Dangers of Drunk Driving
As is the case with most states, in Texas you’re legally intoxicated when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08% or higher, but you’re really breaking drunk driving laws the instant that the alcohol or drugs in your system interfere with your ability to drive. Driving with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is also illegal, even if you’re not drunk, and driving drunk with children under the age of 15 in your car will result in you being charged with child endangerment.
The penalties for drunk driving in Texas are categorized based on the number of offenses and include:
- First offense: Up to $2,000 in fines, 180 days in jail, and loss of driver license up to a year
- Second offense: Up to $4,000 in fines, one month to a year in jail, and loss of driver license up to two years
- Third offense: $10,000 fine, two to 10 years in prison, and loss of driver license up to two years
Texas also honors a “zero tolerance” law that makes it illegal for underage drivers to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Our lawyer is a Texas local who is knowledgeable about our state’s various laws and can use them to your case’s advantage.
Though drunk drivers are often at fault for many car accidents and injuries, there may be instances in which another party is liable for damages. Texas abides by dram shop laws, which maintain that a bar or retailer can be at fault for damages in a car accident if it sold or served an alcoholic beverage to a customer who was obviously intoxicated at the time. Establishments have a duty to refuse service if a customer is underage or visibly drunk, and when they violate this duty, they can be found negligent in a claim.
As a result, multiple parties may be liable for your damages, which can amount to thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering. But each case varies, which is why it’s important to first call an attorney to investigate the circumstances of your accident. Chris Morrow can give your case the individual attention it deserves and hold the drunk driver or bar responsible for the damage they’ve caused.
In Texas if the drunk driver did not have insurance you have several options for pursuing compensation for your damages:
- Sue the driver directly - This course of action isn't recommended oftentimes because if the other driver did not have insurance to begin with, it's unlikely that they will have the money to provide fair compensation for your injuries.
- Pursue compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage - Most auto policies include uninsured driver coverage which covers you in the event you are hit by an uninsured driver.
Even if the drunk driver who hit you didn't have insurance, we can still help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Call today for help!
Punitive damages (also known as "exemplary damages") are intended to further punish the wrongdoer for their actions that led to your accident. Drunk driving is one of the common causes of car accidents that can often lead to punitive damages being awarded to the victim. This is because the decision to drive drunk is considered a form of "gross negligence" or malice. In Texas, punitive damages are capped at $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages plus non-economic damages up to $750,000, whichever is greater.
The short answer is "yes." If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, even if you were a passenger of the drunk driver, you may still file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Some people may be hesitant to do this even if they were injured because they are likely friends or family members of the drunk driver. However, one thing to keep in mind is that you will technically be suing the drunk driver's insurance company, not the driver themselves.
Get started filing your drunk driving accident lawsuit in Texas. Call our drunk driving accident attorney in Austin, Chris Morrow, for a free consultation in English or Spanish at (512) 641-5232. We’re available 24/7.