Drunk driving accidents are some of the most serious types of accidents there are. There are a few reasons for this. First, the drunk driver has no appreciation for the risk they’re creating for others. They often exercise little to no care when it comes to the rules of the road. Second, drunk drivers don’t realize how fast they’re driving so DUI crashes often involve high rates of speed. Finally, the victim has no way to see the crash coming. A drunk driver could fall asleep at the wheel or pass out. There’s absolutely nothing the victim can do to avoid the accident.
For this reason, the Texas courts often allow punitive damages in a drunk driving lawsuit. When you file suit against a drunk driver, your goal is to get compensation for your injuries. These injuries may include any of the following:
- Medical Bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
These are the same types of damages that are included in most personal injury cases in Texas. When your accident was caused by a drunk driver, the courts allow an additional type of damages. This is called punitive damages. Unlike the types of damages outlined above, punitive damages aren’t intended to make the victim whole. Instead, they’re designed to punish the defendant. They also send a message to other people about what can happen if you cause an accident while driving drunk.
While there is no guarantee that you’ll be entitled to these sorts of damages, your Texas car accident lawyer will work hard to make that happen. This is why it’s important that you call and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.
How Do You Prove Punitive Damages in Texas?
Proving punitive damages is a lot harder than proving ordinary damages. In most car accident cases, in order to win your case, you need to prove two (2) things. First, you have to prove that the other driver was at fault. If you can prove that they caused the crash, you should be entitled to some damages. The second thing you need to prove is your damages. Your Texas car accident lawyer will submit evidence to show what your damages are. This could include any of the following things:
- Copies of your medical bills including monies paid by your primary healthcare insurance
- The money it costs to fix your vehicle or replace it if your car was totaled
- Proof that you’ve missed time from work. This could be done using a paystub or a letter from your employer.
- Proof that you are on disability as a result of your accident
To receive punitive damages, you need to go a step further. You’ll need to prove gross negligence on the part of the defendant. This means you’ll have to show that they had a conscious and extreme lack of care when it came to putting other drivers at risk. Typically, the Texas courts will accept a conviction of DUI as proof of gross negligence. If your lawyer can prove this, the only question will be how much the punitive damages will be. In DUI cases, they tend to be quite high. This is so the courts can show drunk drivers how much it’ll cost them if they drive drunk and hurt somebody else. In fact, some judges order punitive damages even if you weren’t physically injured in the accident.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Texas Today
If you or your loved one are injured in a drunk driving crash, you’re going to need help. The injuries sustained in these crashes tend to be quite serious. It could be weeks or months before you recover from your injuries. The last thing you’re going to want to do is fight with insurance companies or lawyers. If you hire a Texas accident lawyer, they can handle these things for you. That way, you can focus on getting better.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. They can review your case and answer any questions you may have. They can also give you an estimate of what your case is worth. Depending on whether the defendant has been convicted of DUI, you may be entitled to punitive damages. This is something your lawyer will have to determine on a case by case basis. The initial consultation is free and you won’t have to pay your attorney until you win or settle your case.