Being hit by a drunk driver often leads to devastating outcomes for both the driver and the person hit. That injured individual is possibly you after experiencing a drunk driving collision here in Harlingen, Texas.
Statistics show drunk driving accidents are far too common here in Harlingen. When they do happen, they often bring fatalities. Those who happen to survive, like you, are never the same again due to physical, internal, and mental injuries.
Typical Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Many drunk driving cases bring severe injuries, mainly because the drunk driver is often driving at a high speed. The high-impact nature of these crashes leads to injuries that essentially turn your life upside-down.
Take a look at a few typical injuries our firm sees all too often:
Nothing is more devastating than suffering brain damage from hitting your head in a drunk driving car accident. The drunk driver perhaps hit you head-on, causing you to fly forward. Maybe your airbag saved your life, but you still hit your head hard against the dashboard or windshield.
A traumatic brain injury also could happen when being rear-ended or broadsided by an inebriated driver. And, it can turn far worse if you were a pedestrian and a drunk driver hit you in an intersection.
Some traumatic brain injuries heal over time. Not everyone is fortunate to have this happen, leading to brain damage for life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Being paralyzed from a spinal cord injury in a drunk driving crash is just as bad or worse than brain injuries. The worst aspect is being unable to function normally ever again due to living in a wheelchair or experiencing other mobility issues.
Such a situation means possibly never being able to work again. When adding in continuous therapy for years to come, your medical bills are going to pile up.
Some who don’t initially experience pain after an accident experience internal injuries without realizing it. Never walk away from a drunk driving accident if you feel no immediate pain.
Internal injuries are sometimes very severe and can become fatal without being checked out. Always get medical care, no matter the severity level of the situation.
In most cases, you’re going to feel pain after being hit by a drunk driver. Get medical care immediately before taking any other steps.
Where Do Drunk Driving Accidents Happen in Harlingen?
Numerous dangerous intersections exist in Harlingen, though drunk driving accidents can happen on any road and in any place. It’s said the most dangerous stretch of road within Starr County is Highway 83. We’ve seen far too many car accidents there, and drunk driving accidents are always a significant amount of those.
Injuries are usually more severe from drunk driving accidents on Highway 83 because of the high rate of speed and busy traffic there 24/7.
Sometimes drunk driving accidents happen in a location as static as a parking lot, especially near areas where alcohol is served.
As much as Harlingen tries to stop accidents like this from happening, they never seem to end. That’s why Kenny Perez Law is here to hold these bad actors accountable.
Harlingen Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
The tragedy of drunk driving accidents is that they are almost entirely avoidable. However, every day, people still decide to drive while intoxicated.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a Harlingen drunk driving accident, you may feel many emotions: shock, disbelief, and even anger. Your accident-related expenses have likely started to pile up, and you may wonder if you will receive any compensation to help cover your expenses.
You shouldn’t consider this guide as a replacement for a consultation with a Harlingen personal injury attorney. However, this guide does answer some of the most frequently asked questions that people have after a drunk driving accident in Harlingen. Read on for more information.
What questions do you have if you decide to have us represent your drunk driving case? These particular questions are asked the most about the legal process we take you through:
What Does Texas Law Consider Driving Under the Influence?
The state’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws pertain not just to alcohol, but also drugs and other substances.
Texas law includes two definitions of legal intoxication:
- For adults 21 and older, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more indicates legal intoxication regardless of if the person appears sober.
- Anyone under the age of 21 breaks the law if he or she drives after drinking, regardless of the driver’s BAC level.
- The law also defines intoxication as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties” after consuming or using a substance, including alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs. This means that a person can face a DUI charge even with a BAC of below 0.08 if the individual appears intoxicated.
Does Texas DUI Law Apply to Prescription Drugs, Too?
Yes. Drivers must know their limitations and how a substance may affect their driving abilities. Certain medications affect driving. These prescription drugs cause a person to become drowsy or have delayed reactions.
The police can evaluate a person’s mental or physical condition by asking the driver to perform a field sobriety test.
Whether a doctor has prescribed the medication that causes a driver to become intoxicated has no bearing on your ability to pursue a personal injury case. Impaired is impaired, even if the driver legally took the substance that caused the impairment.
The Drunk Driver Who Hit Me Refused a Breathalyzer Test. Can I Still File a Lawsuit?
A Breathalyzer test doesn’t constitute the only method of determining someone’s level of intoxication.
Other options include:
- The police may ask the person to perform a field sobriety test.
- Evidence at the scene of the accident may indicate a driver’s intoxication, such as open bottles of alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia.
- The police or EMTs can notice if someone smells like alcohol, has slurred speech, has bloodshot eyes, or shows other signs of impairment.
- Urine and blood tests can detect the presence of alcohol and other substances.
If you sustained injuries in an accident with a drunk driver, you should contact an attorney right away. Law enforcement has a responsibility to conduct a criminal investigation. However, you must pursue a personal injury case on your own.
Most evidence fades over time, so the sooner you contact an attorney, the better.
What Happens if the State Drops the Criminal Charges Against the Drunk Driver?
All criminal charges remain separate from your right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the prosecutor decides to drop the criminal charges against the drunk driver, he or she may still bear liability for your injuries and any property damage.
Who Can I Sue if the Drunk Driver Died From Injuries Sustained in the Accident?
Historically, in Texas, around 900 people lose their lives each year due to a drunk driving accident. In some cases, the drunk drivers themselves will die after they sustain fatal injuries.
Even if the negligent driver passes away, that does not undo your injuries, pain, and expenses. You still deserve compensation to help cover the cost of your injuries.
When injured individuals file a car accident lawsuit, they usually name the negligent driver’s insurance company as the defendant rather than the driver, although some exceptions may exist. When you have a consultation with a Harlingen drunk driving accident lawyer, you can discuss the specifics of your case.
An Underage Drunk Driver Hit Me. Can I Sue the Party That Provided the Driver With Alcohol?
Many of Harlingen’s bars and restaurants are located within the 499 loop. If any of these establishments provided the young adult with alcohol, you may qualify to sue the offending establishment. If the underage drunk driver attended a house party where an adult purchased and served alcohol, you can name that adult as a defendant in your lawsuit.
Harlingen sits only 40 miles from South Padre Island, a popular spring break destination for college students. The area experiences a huge influx of tourists in March. Your odds of sustaining injuries in an accident with an underage drunk driver may increase during this time.
What Expenses Does a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement Cover?
Personal injury settlements should compensate you for the economic and non-economic damages you incurred as a result of the accident.
Economic Damages. Economic damages have a monetary cost associated with them.
Consider the following example of economic damages that you may claim in your claim:
- Medical bills: ER visits, surgery, doctor appointments, and diagnostic tests.
- Rehabilitation: physical, speech, and occupational therapy; mental health services.
- In-home assistance: help with personal care and meal prep, home maintenance, and childcare.
- Home modifications: wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, and widening of doorways.
- Lost income: lost wages while you recover, and additional compensation if you can never return to work due to your injuries.
A fair settlement will include expenses you’ve already incurred and will continue to incur in the future.
Noneconomic Damages. Noneconomic damages include the intangible, yet no less real, after-effects of an accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
Drunk driving accident victims should pursue compensation for all negative impacts of their injuries.
How Do I Select the Right Harlingen Personal Injury Lawyer?
Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, during which you can ask questions and discuss the details of your case. During your consultation, consider asking the following questions:
- How much of your practice do you devote to personal injury cases?
- Is your firm available 24/7, even on weekends and holidays, to take my phone call?
- How do you stay in touch with your clients?
- What professional organizations do you have a membership to? Have you earned any accreditations or awards?
- How can you help me specifically?
You have legal time limits to file your drunk driving accident case. Don’t wait to consult with an attorney and miss out on your chance to recover compensation.
Should I Gather Evidence?
While in the hospital recovering from your injuries, it’s perhaps impossible for you to gather evidence at the scene where the drunk driving accident occurred. If you can’t, it’s important to have us represent you as quickly as possible.
Once you agree for us to work for you, we’ll visit the site of the accident and gather any evidence available. This includes interviewing witnesses, taking photos, and obtaining traffic camera footage. Harlingen also has numerous traffic cameras we may be able to access.
Should I Negotiate with the Insurance Company?
Winning a settlement from the drunk driver’s insurance company is sometimes a challenge, but requires the most experienced legal team. One of the first things you’ll encounter while recovering from your injuries is the insurance company attempting to contact you. Don’t talk to them, since they can easily twist anything you say to them about your injury claims.
They’ll also attempt to give you a fast and overly low settlement offer. Because of your condition and financial predicament, that initial offer might look appealing. Avoid taking it right away, since it’s unlikely to cover the true extent of your damages.
We can also help if you want to seek punitive damages after you receive a settlement. Punitive damages against a drunk driver are more than justified based on the person’s reckless behavior.
What Kind of Settlement Will I Receive?
All settlements are different based on the variables of the evidence in your case.
Don’t expect an exact amount. Since every case is unique, it is impossible to guarantee a particular outcome.
Get Legal Help from a Harlingen Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Our law firm works on a contingency basis so you don’t have to worry about attorney fees. You only pay us if we obtain a settlement or judgment.
We understand the last thing you want is financial stress while recovering from your injuries. We’re here to give you peace of mind while we seek justice for the accident that altered your life.
Contact us at Kenny Perez Law immediately at (956) 544-9292 if a drunk driver injured you in Harlingen. The statute of limitations in Texas for car accidents is only two years, so time is of the essence.
Someone chose to drive while intoxicated, and now you and your family must live with the consequences. You likely qualify to pursue compensation for your losses. Contact our Harlingen drunk driving accident lawyers to learn more.
Kenny Perez Law
513 E Jackson Ave # 304,
Harlingen, TX 78550
“Definitely a law firm that you can trust! Professional, reasonable, and knowledgeable. The legal team has great customer service skills. They were able to help and guide us every step of the way after our accident.” – Cynthia Barrera
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