Despite strict penalties and public awareness campaigns, drunk driving continues to be a serious problem in San Antonio. Every day, drunk driving accidents cause unnecessary injuries and wrongful deaths in Texas.
Texas law enforcement cannot prevent a person from making the dangerous decision to consume alcoholic beverages and then get behind the wheel of a car. But our attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. in San Antonio can help people who have been injured by drunk drivers seek full and fair compensation for their medical expenses and pain and suffering. Our drunk driving accident attorneys believe that drivers who cause injuries by drinking and driving must be held fully accountable.
Herrman & Herrman has successfully resolved more than 20,000 personal injury accident cases and our law firm is ready to put our skill and experience to work for you. Contact Herrman & Herrman in San Antonio today if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident. An initial consultation is absolutely free. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee unless we recover money for you.
San Antonio, TX Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says there were 1,873 car accidents attributable to drunk driving in San Antonio in 2019. Forty-five people died in these accidents. Across Texas in 2019, 1,332 people died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle accidents, and drunk driving accidents accounted for 37% of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Among the 30 most populated U.S. cities, San Antonio had more drunk driving arrests from 2009 to 2018 – 77,357 – than any of other city, according to an analysis of FBI crime data by legal-industry software firm SmartAdvocate. That analysis found an average of 5,181 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests a year in San Antonio, including 6,474 in 2018.
Of the 10 cities with the most drunk-driving arrests per capita, three of them—San Antonio, Austin and El Paso—are in Texas.
Texas Drunk Driving Laws
Under Texas law, a driver is legally intoxicated when his or her blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. But a driver is breaking the law as soon as drugs or alcohol affect their driving ability. A study by Texas A&M University’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies showed that even a small amount of alcohol – in many cases, as few as one or two beers – can affect judgment and driving decisions.
Criminal penalties for a first DWI offense in San Antonio are:
- Up to a $2,000 fine.
- Up to 180 days in jail upon conviction with three mandatory days.
- Loss of driver license up to a year.
A second DWI offense brings:
- Up to a $4,000 fine.
- One month to a year in jail upon conviction.
- Loss of driver license up to two years.
A third DWI offense is punishable by:
- A $10,000 fine.
- Two to 10 years in prison.
- Loss of driver license up to two years.
These fines do not include a state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 assessed upon sentencing.
But criminal fines do not go to the people who are injured in drunk driving accidents.
To recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses when a drunk driver leaves you injured or a loved one dead, you must pursue an insurance claim against the drunk driver’s insurance. In many cases, you will need an experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer to file a civil lawsuit on your behalf and seek to compel the insurance company to pay you for the harm you have suffered.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Victims After an Accident
Texas personal injury law allows the victim of another person’s negligence, recklessness or criminal misconduct to seek financial restitution for their financial losses and pain and suffering. A person injured in a car accident caused by a drunk or drinking driver may seek compensation, regardless of whether the driver has been convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) or related offenses.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by a drunk or drinking driver, our experienced San Antonio drunk driving accident lawyers can help you pursue justice.
We’ll investigate the accident and gather documentation, including police reports, any tickets issued or court judgments, as well as the results of tests for blood-alcohol concentration administered to the driver. We’ll obtain your statement and statements from witnesses, and your medical records. We will compile a full accounting of your medical bills and other costs and losses due to the accident.
We may hire consulting medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists who can help us build a strong, fact-based case and testify as experts if a case goes to trial. We work with actuaries and life care planners and medical experts when a client will need medical care and/or personal assistance in the years ahead. That helps us determine more accurately the full amount of compensation our client should receive.
To obtain a negotiated settlement or jury award, we will need to show:
- The other driver is responsible for the accident
- The accident led to your injuries
- Your injuries caused you damages that can be made right through monetary compensation
- How much you should be compensated.
Typically, evidence would show that, while under the influence of alcohol, the driver caused the accident by failing to brake, crossing the centerline, failing to yield or driving on the wrong side of the road. The driver does not have to be charged or convicted for drunk driving for you to prevail in a personal injury claim, though a conviction would be evidence in your favor.
Damages Available in a Drug Driving Accident Claim
Compensation or “damages” that a person injured in a drunk driving accident may seek include money for:
- Medical expenses. This would include the costs of emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, counseling as well as lifelong costs in cases of disability.
- Lost income. This includes wages and the value of benefits lost while injured and recuperating and any losses due to reduced earning capacity.
- Property damage. Money for the cost to repair or replace your motor vehicle.
- Pain and suffering. Compensation for the accident victim’s physical pain.
- Mental anguish. Texas law provides that a personal injury victim may be compensated for emotional distress, anxiety and depression caused by chronic pain, loss of physical abilities and/or limits on their lifestyle.
- Loss of consortium. Serious injuries may cause loss of sexual function and eligibility for compensation for loss of intimate relations and a reduction in enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages. In certain accident cases, we can ask a jury to award punitive damages to punish the defendant for outrageous behavior or misconduct that led to our client’s injury.
Dram Shop Liability in Texas Drunk Driving Accidents
Sometimes there may be more than one defendant in a drunk driving case, which means more potential for recovering compensation for your losses.
Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Ann. §2, a bar or retailer may be held legally responsible for selling, providing or serving an alcoholic beverage to a customer who was obviously intoxicated at the time the transaction took place if that customer went on to cause injuries and property damage due to his or her intoxication. This type of legal provision is sometimes referred to as a “dram shop law,” and many states have similar statutes.
An adult who provides alcohol or allows alcohol to be provided to a minor (not yet 18 years old) can be held liable for injuries and property damage due to the young person’s intoxication if the adult is not the minor’s parent, legal guardian or spouse.
To determine whether multiple parties should be held liable for the injuries you have suffered, we can track the actions of the drunk driver prior to the accident. In some cases, debit or credit card activity, printed receipts, cell phone activity or even social media posts can be used to demonstrate that an individual was intoxicated when they purchased or were served alcohol.
When appropriate, we will seek full compensation for you from a bar, club, convenience store, or parent(s) who allowed their children’s teenage friends to drink alcohol.
Contact a San Antonio, TX Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
Let the skilled lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. help you obtain justice after a drunk driving accident in San Antonio or the Bexar County area. Our law firm has deep roots in South Texas. We are committed to protecting the rights of our fellow Texans and standing up for those who have been injured. We’ll do everything we can to help you recover full compensation for your losses.
Our English- and Spanish-speaking staff at our offices in San Antonio and elsewhere in south Texas are ready to help. Don’t wait to set up your free consultation and explanation of your rights and legal options. Call us today at (361) 882-4357. Chat with us live 24/7, or fill out our online contact form.