- Auto Accidents/Car Wrecks
- Civil Rights
- Insurance Disputes
- Personal Injury
In Texas as elsewhere, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a widespread problem. In 2017, DWI accidents claimed the lives of 51 pedestrians and bicyclists, 158 persons in other motor vehicles, 693 impaired drivers and 144 passengers in the vehicles of the impaired driver, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, The Bernsen Law Firm in Beaumont is prepared to help. We provide aggressive, highly professional representation focused on maximizing the compensation our clients receive.
In every car accident injury case, the victim must prove that another driver was mainly at fault However, if one driver has been convicted of DWI or DUI, that ruling gives additional weight to the victim’s claim. Under a legal doctrine known as negligence per se, an individual who violates a law or regulation designed to prevent the resulting type of harm is found to be negligent as a matter of law. Nevertheless, it’s important to seek counsel from an experienced personal injury lawyer, because there are still many impediments to a full recovery of your damages. A plaintiff still must show the extent to which the other driver’s drug or alcohol impairment was the cause of injury.
Although DWI and DUI are often used interchangeably, they mean different things in Texas. Driving while intoxicated is the charge levied against drivers age 21 and over, whether they are impaired by alcohol or drugs, while driving under the influence is charged against drivers under the age of 21.
DWI and DUI are also distinguishable by the blood alcohol level needed for a conviction. For adults, the legal threshold for DWI is a BAC of .08, or .04 for commercial drivers. For drivers under 21, DUI can be established by a BAC of .02. However, drivers who do not exceed the legal limit might still be charged if there is sufficient testimonial evidence (from the arresting officer and witnesses) that they were impaired.
Drug-related impairment has no gauge comparable to BAC. It can be established by witness testimony coupled with blood tests showing the presence of any amount of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or other illicit drugs. Even prescription or over-the-counter medication can be a cause of impairment.
In addition to the usual safety and reporting measures that should be taken after an accident — such as getting out of harm’s way and calling 911 — additional precautions are advisable when a drunk or impaired driver is involved. Such drivers may behave unpredictably, become violent or attempt to flee the scene. With this in mind, you should:
Taking these steps will not only help ensure your safety but will strengthen your personal injury claim by establishing the other driver’s negligence as a matter of law.
A drunk driving car accident can cause serious injuries with financially devastating effects. At the Bernsen Law Firm in Beaumont, we take auto accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning that we only collect legal fees if your claim is successful. To protect your rights, call us at 409-212-9994 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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