Imagine you’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when a car appears out of nowhere and slams into you. It’s a terrifying experience, but then you realize something even worse—the driver who caused the accident was drunk.
Not only are you dealing with the physical and emotional fallout of the crash, but now you’re faced with the frustration of knowing that someone’s reckless decision could change your life forever—and not for the better.
In situations like this, it’s important to know what steps to take and how to move forward with legal action. In this article, we’ll share what to expect after the accident and what you can do to guarantee you get the compensation you deserve.
What is the average compensation for victims of a drunk-driver accident?
The average payment for an accident caused by a drunk driver depends on the specifics of each case. Generally, it can be between $80,000 and $125,000, but you must also consider insurance coverage. Each state differs slightly regarding the minimum insurance coverage drivers need to have.
For example, in Texas, the minimum insurance coverage of $30,000 for injuries per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 coverage for property damage is a requirement by law. Thus, the minimum amount you can receive is $30,000.
However, this is only if the person has insurance. If they don’t, you will have to claim from them directly, or you will have to look at your own insurance to see what the terms are for accidents with uninsured motorists.
This is where calculating the average gets tricky. Each case is unique and will have different injuries and damages that will be used to calculate the compensation for being hit by a drunk driver. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, reach out to a Dallas car accident lawyer to help you get the settlement you deserve.
I was rear-ended by a drunk driver. What do I do?
Rear-end accidents are always an unpleasant surprise. However, getting out of your car to find out that the other motorist is drunk can be infuriating. No matter how upset you are, you must remain calm and get all the details. It is no use arguing with someone who is drunk, nor will they be able to make sense of the situation.
These are the steps that need to occur after being rear-ended by a drunk driver.
Seek medical attention
It is imperative to seek medical attention after an accident, regardless of whether you feel any physical pain or not. The shock of the accident may be masking any symptoms, and delaying medical evaluation can cause minor injuries to escalate into more severe conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize seeking medical assistance promptly after an accident.
This is an important step and must not be skipped. If your injuries become more severe later on, you may have issues when seeking a settlement.
Call the police
When the police arrive at the accident scene, you need to tell them everything you can remember about the accident. It may be difficult if you are injured, but you must clarify what happened and what you did when the accident occurred. If you suspect the other driver was drunk, you can also inform them about your encounter with them and what led to your suspicion. Every tiny detail you saw or experienced is necessary for the police report.
It is also important to gather details from the scene if you can. These include information about the other driver and people involved in the accident, along with any witnesses. The police will have to collect their statements as well. If you can take photos of the scene or record a video that shows that the other driver was drunk, these can be used as evidence later on.
If your injuries are severe, you may not be able to figure out what has transpired. In these scenarios, you will need to collect evidence after the accident. Police reports are the first thing you will need before getting your medical reports, eyewitness reports, photos and videos of the scene. These will all help if you need to seek a DUI settlement.
Contact a lawyer
It is equally important to contact a lawyer without delay after an accident. The sooner the lawyer starts collecting information and building a strong case, the better your chances are of obtaining a favorable settlement. DUI settlements often involve lengthy legal procedures, and having legal representation early on can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Experienced professionals, like our Dallas drunk-driving accident lawyers, are familiar with what needs to be done to create a solid case.
You should never try to take on settlement negotiations on your own, nor should you accept the first offer you receive. There should always be a lawyer who understands the process and can calculate the maximum settlement you deserve based on the accident.
What will affect a DUI settlement?
Drunk-driver settlement amounts depend on a few factors, not just the fact that the other driver was intoxicated. Let’s take a closer look at these factors.
The severity of your injuries plays a significant role in your settlement amount. Your medical costs will be considered, along with the cost of future treatments and the possible loss of income if you cannot work. Furthermore, should a person succumb to their injuries after an accident, their family is well within their rights to seek a wrongful death settlement.
General, special and punitive damages are all applicable during DUI settlements. General damages refer to the pain and suffering after being hit by a drunk driver and emotional distress. Special damages are all the costs that are a result of the accident. These are your hospital bills, the cost of treatment, the loss of income and even funeral costs in the case of a death. Punitive damages are those that show that the driver at fault acted recklessly. It is usually given in DUI settlements as a punishment or to discourage drivers from driving under the influence.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. Each driver will be assigned a percentage of liability in the accident. If the plaintiff’s percentage is above 50%, they are not eligible for a settlement. However, if the percentage is below 50%, it will affect your payout. Thus, the lower your liability percentage, the higher your settlement amount.
Earlier, we went through the minimum insurance coverage necessary for Texas. If the person is uninsured, you may have difficulty receiving a settlement. Instead, you might have to pursue a lawsuit against the person to receive the compensation you deserve.
This process can get messy, and it is always better to have a car accident lawyer who can help you. They have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these cases.
Examples of drunk-driving settlements in Texas
No two car accident settlements in Texas are ever the same. One Texas drunk-driving settlement may involve a single car, while another may involve a truck driver and several cars. In addition, injuries can range from minor to severe, and unfortunately, current statistics show that more than 10,000 people die in the United States annually due to drunk drivers. Texas has a slightly higher number of drunk-driving fatalities than other US states.
Some examples of our recent settlements are:
- $900,000 for injuries as a result of a motor car accident.
- $3,000,000 from a case that went to trial regarding injuries suffered in a car accident.
- $7,250,000 settlement from a truck accident that resulted in severe injuries in three people and one death.
This will depend on the specifics of the accident. Most of the time, a settlement can be reached, which means the case does not go to trial. When hit by a drunk driver, average settlement amounts range between $80,000 and $125,000. However, you can sue if drunk drivers are uninsured and seek compensation from them directly.
First, you will have to call the police and seek medical attention. After that, you need to give a statement to the police, which should include as many details as you can remember. You will then need to secure the services of a lawyer who can help you with your settlement. Even if you were not injured in the accident, you could still claim for the damages caused to your car.
Since each settlement is dependent on the specifics of the accident, this is hard to quantify. Your lawyer will put together all the information and calculate a settlement amount based on your incurred damages. Therefore, it is not possible to give you a settlement amount to aim for before a consultation. A good settlement amount should cover all your expenses and property damage, as well as compensate for your pain and suffering along with any lost income during recovery.
No. You should never accept the first compensation offer without consulting a lawyer. In order to avoid high payouts, most insurance companies will offer you a settlement first. Therefore, you need to consult a lawyer to get your deserved settlement. Even if the settlement amount is high, you still need to ensure it covers what it is meant to. You could be entitled to much more, so it is best to speak to your lawyer first.
Finding the best car accident lawyers in Texas
Despite our best efforts to prevent them, accidents involving drunk drivers unfortunately still occur. The specific settlement amount for such accidents can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case, as well as the location in which the accident occurred.
To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a law firm that specializes in handling these types of cases. With 30 years of experience in this field, Reyes Browne Law Firm is the ideal choice to handle your drunk-driving accident case. Our skilled car accident lawyers will work diligently to secure a favorable settlement for you. Contact our team today for a free, no-obligation quote and to get the ball rolling.