Do You Need a Lawyer When Injured by a Drunk Driver?
If you were injured by a drunk driver, then you do not technically need a lawyer. Instead, you may choose to represent yourself in a civil case against the drunk driver who caused your injuries. However, a drunk driving accident attorney can take away the stress of dealing with a personal injury case alone so that you can focus on your recovery. An experienced drunk driver accident lawyer will also maximize your chances of receiving just and fair compensation.
One of the main reasons why victims of drunk driving accidents put off securing representation is because they are concerned about the cost. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid as a percentage of your settlement if you win; if not, we will not receive anything for our work.
Most drunk driving accident victims who do secure representation end up with a higher amount in compensation than those who don’t, even after legal fees are considered. So not only could you end up with a fairer settlement, you will also be protected from navigating the legal system alone.
Remember that regardless of whether you are seeking compensation from your own insurance company or that of a drunk driver, insurance companies are always driven by profit. That means that it is in their interest to devalue your claim or even to dismiss it. When you have representation from an experienced attorney, you ensure that you cannot be taken advantage of.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer After a Drunk Driving Accident Injury
When people drive under the influence, they act chaotically and without proper judgment. As a result, if you were hit by a drunk driver, then your sustained injuries are likely to be serious.
The benefits of hiring an attorney for your drunk driving case include:
Help Establish Liability
An impaired driver who has been drinking alcohol has reduced reasoning and muscle coordination. A driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises, and their ability to drive safely is dramatically reduced.
As a result, many victims believe that liability will clearly and inevitably be placed on the drunk driver, however, this is not always the case. It is still necessary to establish a link between the driver’s actions, the accident, and your injuries.
Texas operates under modified comparative negligence. This means that more than one driver could be found to be at fault for the accident. If you were speeding or otherwise contributed to the crash, then your settlement could be reduced by the amount you were at fault. For example, if you are found to be 40% at fault for the accident and your damages are worth $100,000, you would only recover $60,000.
A DUI accident attorney will investigate your case and gather evidence. They will fight to ensure that liability is placed firmly on the other driver. Car insurance companies may try to place blame on you to limit how much they need to pay you, but with skilled representation, you will help ensure that blame is not placed upon you unfairly.
Help You Secure the Compensation You Deserve
Drunk driver injuries are often severe, and it is important that you are not left out of pocket for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Some damages are simple to calculate, such as your past medical bills or property damage. These damages have clear numbers attached to them and are easy to evidence.
However, other damages, such as the cost of your future medical bills and pain and suffering, are far more complex. In order to be properly compensated for these damages, it is helpful to have the guidance of a DUI accident attorney.
Some of the damages that you may be able to claim with the help of a drunk driving accident attorney include:
- Medical Bills – A DUI accident attorney will help you claim compensation for all of your medical expenses, including hospital bills, medication costs, physiotherapy, and more. If your injuries are ongoing, then they will also help ensure that the costs of all your future treatments are included in your settlement. To establish this, they may draw upon expert testimony.
- Lost Wages – If your injuries have resulted in time away from work, you should be able to recover your lost wages. If your injuries are ongoing and you will not be returning to work in the same capacity, then your attorney may be able to fight for a lifetime of lost earning potential.
- Property Damage – Any property damaged in the accident should be compensated for, including your vehicle.
- Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate you for your emotional trauma, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment in life. Car accidents are often very traumatic and can have a serious impact on your mental health, and so too can the resulting injuries. When you have the support of a DUI accident lawyer, pain and suffering damages are likely to make up a substantial part of your settlement, especially if your injuries are likely to prevent you from living your life in the same way you did before.
Exploring All Avenues for Compensation
Following a drunk driving accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all of your damages. Fortunately, in Texas, you may have more than one route to compensation.
Your DUI accident lawyer will help you explore all of your potential avenues to compensation to help ensure that your settlement reflects the extent of your suffering. Some potentially liable parties include:
- Drunk Drivers – The most obvious liable party after a DUI accident is the drunk driver themself. It is illegal in Texas to drive with a BAC of 0.8% or more, or if the driver is under 21 then any detectable amount of alcohol while driving is illegal. Alcohol seriously inhibits a person’s ability to drive, and so if you were in an accident with a drunk driver, then it is likely they are liable.
- A Government Agency – If a road hazard contributed to the accident, then a government agency responsible for maintaining the road should share responsibility for your injuries.
- The Venue That Served Alcohol – Texas is governed by Dram Shop Law, which places certain responsibilities on venues that serve alcohol, known as dram shops. If it can be shown that a dram shop over-served alcohol to someone who was clearly intoxicated or served alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, and that person goes on to cause a DUI accident, then the venue could be liable for the damages caused.
Relieving You of Financial Hardship
It is common for victims of DUI accidents to avoid pursuing legal action because they believe that they cannot afford to do so. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid if your claim is successful as a percentage of your settlement. If your claim is not successful, we do not receive anything. We also offer a free consultation. High-quality legal representation does not have to lead to out-of-pocket expenses.
They Will Take Over Negotiations With Insurance Companies
Whether you are claiming compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company or your own, they will both be driven by profit and not a desire to help you. Insurance companies employ legal teams who will do what they can to devalue or dismiss your claim. Anything you say to them could be used against you, which is why it is important that you never admit fault in any way or diminish your injuries.
When you hire a drunk driving accident lawyer, they will take over all negotiations with insurance companies. They will understand how to protect your right to compensation and will fight tirelessly for a good outcome in your case.
It is also worth considering that personal injury claims can take months to settle, which can be incredibly stressful. Some insurance companies may purposely drag out your case in order to try and get you to accept less than what you deserve. When you have the support of an experienced attorney, it ensures that you have the space to focus on your recover
At Chris Morrow Law PLLC, we will take over the investigation and negotiations while keeping you as informed as you want to be. We will give you options at each stage and will relieve the stress while still keeping you in control of your claim if that’s what you want.
Supporting You if Your Case Goes to Trial
Around 75% of personal injury cases result in an out-of-court settlement. This is because court cases are time-consuming and expensive, and so it is usually in everyone’s best interests not to go to court. However, when you navigate a personal injury case alone, insurance adjusters know that a court case is unlikely to be a threat, which means that they are less likely to offer you what you deserve.
Insurance defense lawyers know which attorneys are willing to go to court and which are not, and it is better for them not to lose a case in court. Therefore when you have experienced representation, they will be more likely to offer a fair settlement.
If your case does go to court, then your attorney will be prepared to fight for your rights in front of a Judge. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we are experienced trial lawyers and will have gathered plenty of evidence to support your case before it reaches this point, meaning we will be ready to advocate fiercely on your behalf in court if necessary.
Steps You Should Take After a Drunk Driving Accident
A DUI accident lawyer can do a lot for you after an accident. However, there are also steps that you can take to help protect your health and your right to compensation.
The first thing you should do after a drunk driving accident is prioritize your own safety. If you feel pain in your neck or back, then you should stay where you are and wait for help to arrive. If you feel able to, you should check other people for injuries, if anyone’s injuries seem serious, then do not move them. If it is safe to do so, you should move out of the way of any potential danger, such as oncoming traffic.
Call Emergency Services
If you suspect that someone has been driving under the influence, then you should contact the police. They will carry out a BAC test and police report, which will be important pieces of evidence in your claim. They will also ensure that they cannot continue to drive and put anyone else in danger.
If anyone’s injuries require immediate medical attention, then you may also need to call an ambulance so that paramedics can help to keep everyone safe.
If you are able to, then you should collect evidence from the scene. Any evidence you can help to protect can be used by your attorney later on to establish the facts of your case. Evidence could include:
- Information from any other drivers, including rejection plate number, name, and contact information.
- Photos from the scene, including the vehicles, condition of the road, and anything else which could be relevant.
- Witness information, including name and contact information.
- Photos of your injuries.
Seek Medical Help
If you did not receive medical care at the scene of the accident, you should seek a medical examination as soon as possible. A medical examination is necessary to establish your damages, and the sooner after the accident, the better, as it will provide clear evidence that your injuries were a direct result of the crash.
Remember, adrenaline can sometimes mask injuries, so even if you are feeling ok, it is still worth being checked over by a medical professional.
Call Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company may need you to inform them that you have been in a crash. However, you should avoid giving too many details. Simply tell them that you have been in an accident and that you plan on seeking help from an attorney who will be in touch. If you are unsure, then it might be worth seeking a free consultation with an attorney first.
Speak to One of our Car Accident Lawyers
The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the better, as they will help ensure that evidence is protected and that you have a strong personal injury claim. They will also advise you on your next steps.
Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer after a DUI Accident in Texas
Finding the right car accident attorney for your claim can make a big difference. It can help take away a lot of the stress associated with your case and can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Considering the importance of finding a high-quality law firm, making the right decision can feel like an overwhelming task.
To make it a bit easier, here are a few things to look out for:
- Experience – Fighting for fair compensation for victims of DUI accidents takes practice, so an experienced attorney could help maximize the compensation you receive. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we have been helping personal injury victims in Texas since 1994.
- Testimonials From Previous Clients – A good attorney should be able to show you testimonials from previous clients who were facing similar struggles to you. We have a long history of happy clients and are always happy to show testimonials.
- A Narrow Focus – When a law firm tries to do too many things, it can stretch its experience and resources too far. On the other hand, a narrow focus such as personal injury law in Texas ensures that they help people like you every day and that all of their professional time is spent developing skills that are relevant to you. Chris Morrow Law, PLLC is a personal injury law firm committed to victims in Austin, TX, and surrounding areas.
- Personally Available – DUI accidents can be incredibly stressful, so it is important that you have the support of an attorney who is personally available and who truly cares about your well-being. When you secure representation with us, your DUI accident lawyer will be personally available by phone and email. We truly care about you and the outcome of your case and will be a source of support as we guide you through your case.
- Experienced in the Courtroom – A car accident lawyer should be prepared to take your case to court. If they are not, then the insurance company could use this against you. At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we are fierce trial lawyers and are always prepared to advocate for our clients in the courtroom.
- Free Consultation – A free consultation is a great opportunity for you to ask your attorney some questions and to determine if they are a good fit for your case. It is also important that you like your attorney and feel comfortable speaking to them.
Do You Need a Lawyer When Injured by a Drunk Driver?
Drunk driving lawsuits are complex, and so even though you are within your rights to pursue compensation without an attorney, it may be better to secure representation. Not only will a DUI accident lawyer take away a lot of the stress associated with pursuing compensation, but their resources, skills, and experience may also prove to be invaluable to your case.
A lack of legal knowledge and experience negotiating with insurance companies could hurt your case. However, an experienced attorney will know how to protect your right to just and fair compensation.