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A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Texans believe in working hard and playing hard. After work is over, many Texans pop a top or down a couple shots at the bar to celebrate the weekend. Or because it’s Wednesday or we won the game. “Hook ’em horns!” You get the idea. Celebrating with friends over a few cold ones is a cherished Texas tradition, but driving drunk has no place in our state’s hallowed history.

Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths

Grim statistics from one recent year don’t bear that out. In 2013, Texas had more deaths from auto accidents involving impaired drivers than any other state in the nation. In that banner year, 1,337 men, women and children died senselessly because somebody made a really, really poor decision.

According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately every 53 minutes, someone in the United States gets killed in a collision with a drunk driver. Additionally, someone suffers injuries from a wreck with an impaired driver every two minutes. The figures are sobering. But they are just abstract numbers until the day the injured person is you. You may even be left grieving over the loss of a family member taken too soon in a completely preventable accident.

All of a sudden — it’s personal. Your world has suddenly been turned upside down, and if your injuries are particularly severe, it is possible that you will never be the same as you were before colliding with a person who was in no condition to drive. Picking up the pieces of a fractured life can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s likely that you are also mad as a wet hen at the drunk driver whose negligence caused all your misery. 

5 quick facts about drunk driving in Texas

  • It’s very expensive. In a single year, Texas taxpayers were stuck with a tab of $6.2 billion to subsidize expenses related to drunk driving deaths. That will buy a lot of Budweiser.
  • A conviction is never guaranteed. Do you think that it is a foregone conclusion that the drunk driver who hit you and played havoc with your life will be convicted? Think again. In the same year, 99,195 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in the state. Only 71,030 were convicted.
  • Drunk drivers aren’t learning from their mistakes. About a third of the social ills associated with impaired drivers — the wrecks and DUI arrests, the injuries and fatalities — are caused by repeat offenders. 
  • Losing their driving privileges doesn’t keep them off the roads. The percentage of those convicted of drunk driving who continue to drive with suspended licenses may be as high as 75 percent.
  • Impaired drivers are a continuous threat. At any given moment, as many as 2 million drunk drivers with multiple convictions are tooling down our nation’s highways. 

It is apparent that the criminal penalties for drunk driving in Texas are an insufficient deterrent to keep irresponsible unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel after being convicted on DUI charges. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, it’s time to get proactive and pursue another form of justice.

Filing a claim for damages is only the first step

Immediately following your accident, you probably provided the investigating officer with your insurance information for the police report. The alleged drunken driver who hit you will have done the same. Perhaps you received a call or two from the driver’s insurance company in an attempt to get you to agree to settle the claim and allow them to close out the books on your accident.

Don’t settle for less than the amount to which you are entitled. The typical M.O. of insurance companies is to dangle a low-ball settlement check in front of often cash-starved claimants, hoping they will bite. Those who suffered serious injuries in the drunk-driving accident likely were not able to return to work immediately. Some may still be living off dwindling savings while the bills — medical and otherwise — continue to mount. This is what the insurance companies are waiting for. Just like sharks in the ocean can detect the faintest trace of blood from a wounded sea creature, so can insurance adjusters pick up on the whiff of desperation emanating from a claimant in dire financial straits.

A personal injury lawyer can fairly evaluate your case

One of the problems with settling for that quick check is that most accident victims have no real concept of what their injuries and damages are actually worth. Personal injury claim values are determined by a number of different factors, such as:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitative expenses. In legal parlance, these are known as “special damages,” and can include ambulance fees, x-rays, charges stemming from the initial ER visit and all subsequent treatment. Pharmacy bills for medication and medical equipment necessary during your convalescence also fall into this category. In some cases. future medical expenses should also be calculated.
  • Lost wages. This figure is derived from the amount of salary or wages you would have received if you hadn’t been injured in the accident with their insured. But the sum may potentially be higher if you missed out on some lucrative business opportunities during your recuperation.
  • Pain and suffering. These damages are harder to quantify due to their nebulous nature. Insurance companies typically use a simple formula to multiply the estimated value of your accident-related pain and suffering claims.
  • Severity and duration of injuries. Accidents that leave claimants with permanent disabling injuries or disfigurement are of course going to be worth more than a wreck that leaves only bruises or a sprain. 

However, unless you are armed with a great deal of information regarding the litigation of personal injury claims in Texas, chances are good that your attempts to arrive at the true value of your personal injury case will fall short of the mark.

A personal injury lawyer can offer peace of mind

In addition to the considerable courtroom experience and legal knowledge a personal injury attorney brings to the litigation table, he or she can ease your worries and uncertainties about the progress of your case. Allowing the professionals to do what they do best lets you devote your time and energy to healing and getting on with your post-accident life. Your attorney can provide you with some measure of closure by forcing the drunk driver and their insurance carrier to assume responsibility for the negligent acts that caused your injuries and damages.

When you get tired of the insurance company runaround, give the seasoned professionals at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley a call. We will arrange a free consultation with a firm associate who can review your case with no obligation.