One of the most basic lessons people learn in driver’s education courses involves the risk of drunk or drugged driving. There is plenty of evidence, both medical and statistical, to connect chemical impairment at the wheel to significant collisions. Even if it has been years since someone first got their license, television, radio and outdoor advertising often broadcast warnings from drunk driving awareness campaigns.
Despite how much effort goes into teaching the public about the risks of impaired driving, it is still a common practice. People get behind the wheel after a night out drinking with their friends or while under the influence of mind-altering substances, like narcotic pain relievers.
What happens if you are in a crash caused by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
The other driver might face criminal charges
Texas law is very clear about the illegality of impaired driving. The officers responding to your collision could very well arrest the other driver when they notice signs of chemical impairment. The state may prosecute that driver, potentially meaning that they face time in jail.
You can typically still make an insurance claim against the policy of a driver who was drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. You may also have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the impaired driver if they don’t have enough insurance to fully reimburse you for the damage to your vehicle and the injuries you suffered. A criminal case does not prevent you from filing a civil lawsuit under Texas personal injury statutes.
You may have a third-party liability claim
Many drunk drivers are on their way home from a restaurant, bar or social gathering. You may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against a business with a liquor license if they serve someone under the age of 21 or who is clearly drunk and then that individual went on to cause a wreck. Someone who gave or sold drugs to the driver could also have some liability for the wreck.
Identifying who may be liable for the injuries you suffered and looking into the insurance coverage carried by the other driver can minimize the long-term financial impact of a crash that was in no way your fault. Understanding your rights after getting hurt in a drunk driving wreck could help you seek justice and compensation for your losses.