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Can I Sue the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me?

Posted on in Car Accidents

One of the most dangerous things that a driver can do is get behind the wheel after drinking. Not only does this put the driver's own life at risk, but everyone else on the road is put in jeopardy by these reckless actions.

Even knowing the risks, some people still engage in drunk driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around 29 people are killed every day in an alcohol-related vehicular accident.

There are two courses of legal action that can be taken against a drunk driver. The first involves criminal charges; prosecutors will charge the driver for illegally operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Legal punishments can include jail time, monetary fees, and license suspicion.

If you're injured by a drunk driver, the second course of legal action involves you filing a civil lawsuit against the driver who hit you.

Steps After a Drunk Driving Accident

First and foremost, you should understand what to do if you're ever injured in a car accident by a potentially drunk driver. The steps you take after the fact can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

Here are some basic steps to remember:

  • Call the police. If you are able to, always call 9-1-1 or law enforcement immediately.

  • Put safety first. Try to pull off to the side of the road and do not get out of your car if you're on a busy road. Check to see if the other driver is okay, but don't engage with the driver if they are showing signs of intoxication or aggression.

  • Give a statement. When police officers show up, tell them exactly what happened and why you believe that the other driver may be intoxicated from your evidence. This can include any alcohol bottles, their behaviors, or if they smell of alcohol.

  • Seek medical treatment. Of course, your safety and health come first. Always seek medical treatment after the accident, even if you do not believe you are injured or sustained any serious injuries.

  • Hire an attorney. An attorney can gather evidence for your case and help you file a claim following strict legal procedures.

Our Corpus Christi car accident attorneys can are here to help you pursue damages against the drunk driver that hit you. Don't hesitate to reach out to schedule a free consultation.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

Police enforcement will probably take the driver into custody and may bring criminal charges against them as well. Even if the driver is arrested and prosecuted for drunk driving, you can still file a lawsuit against the individual for damages you sustained in the accident.

Depending on your accident and injuries, here are a few different damages you can claim:

Economic Damages

These damages are awarded to compensate an injury victim for the out-of-pocket fees that they incurred as a result of the accident. These include:

  • Medical expenses

  • Hospital stays

  • Surgery costs

  • Rehabilitation costs

  • Lost wages

  • Lost earning capacity

  • Property damage to a vehicle

Non-Economic Damages

These damages include the emotional injuries that you suffered as a result of the accident, such as:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish

  • Diminished quality of life

  • PTSD or other similar conditions

  • Lifelong debilitations

These damages are a bit harder to calculate with simple addition. Instead, they will require your personal injury attorney to present evidence in court that shows exactly how much your life was impacted because of the accident.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded in Texas personal injury cases where clear evidence is present showing that the defendant acted with malice or gross negligence. These are meant to additionally punish the wrongdoer for their actions and deter them from future similar actions.

In many cases, victims of drunk driving accidents can pursue punitive damages against the drunk driver for acting with gross negligence.

Helping You on the Road to Recovery

A drunk driving accident is something that can leave lifelong physical and emotional scars. You shouldn't have to pay the price for someone else's reckless actions. If you were injured by a drunk driver, our Corpus Christi drunk driving accident attorneys can work as your legal advocates on your case.

In addition, if your loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, our attorneys can help you and your family pursue a wrongful death claim for what you have endured.

Contact The Edwards Law Firm at 361-698-7600 to get started with a free consultation.
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