As you know, driving on the road can be unpredictable, especially when you come across a driver who may be intoxicated. Oftentimes, taking your measures to safeguard from drunk or drugged drivers, such as calling the police or wearing a seatbelt, may not be enough to guard yourself against an accident with the drugged driver. Even worse are the injuries and financial impact you suffer because of a car accident caused by a drugged or drunk driver.
Unfortunately, accidents caused by drunk and drugged driving – or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)— are not uncommon in Texas. In 2020, the fatal decision by intoxicated drivers in Texas to get behind the wheel led to 963 deaths and 2,114 serious injuries. Additionally, in Texas, every nine hours and six minutes, someone is killed in a DWI alcohol-related traffic accident.
After being in an Austin car accident with a drugged driver, you are likely wondering who can compensate you financially for the damages you are suffering and are continuing to suffer. For example, you may have growing medical bills because of an injury caused by the accident and/or have lost out of wages and future income due to inability to work.
What’s In This Article
- Texas Drugged Driving Accidents
- Texas Drug Testing
- Damages to be Compensated
- Compensation for Damages Caused by Drugged Driving
Texas Drugged Driving Accidents
Texas law provides that a DWI offense occurs where a driver is operating or controlling a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs that exceed the legal limit—affecting the driver’s ability to drive safely.
Specifically, intoxication is satisfied when the driver does not have the normal use of mental or physical functions because of:
- a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of .08% or higher
- a controlled substance
- a drug
- a dangerous drug
- a combination of two or more of those substances or any other substance into the body
Texas Drug Testing
Under Texas’ informed consent law, vehicle drivers—who are reasonably believed to be intoxicated—automatically agree to be tested for the detection of blood or BAC or the presence of any drugs. Note that while the drugged driver has the right to refuse drug testing, exercising this right leads to serious consequences. For example, testing refusal includes a 180-day license suspension, among other penalties.
Additional consequences for Texas DWI offenders may include an education program and jail time which may vary based on conviction history.
- Completion of a 12-hour DWI Drug and Alcohol intervention program
- Repeat offenders face a 32-hour DWI repeat offender education program
- For first offenders, jail time can range between 3 to 180 days
- Second-time offenders may face jail time between one month to one year
- Third-time offenders face 2 to 10 years of jail time
Damages to be Compensated
Some of the most common and expensive consequences after a car accident are the medical costs associated with injuries, lost wages, and a damaged vehicle. A skilled Texas-licensed auto accident attorney can best calculate and advise you on your compensation options available to you according to Texas’ modified comparative negligence rules.
Texas’ Car Crash Fault Approach
According to Texas’ modified comparative negligence rules, if you can successfully prove the other driver’s drug intoxication is the cause of the accident and your injuries, then you are likely entitled to the full and fair amount of compensation for the damages you suffered because of the accident.
On the other hand, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, then you cannot recover compensation for your losses. Where you are found to be under 50% liable, then your total award will be deducted by that percentage of fault. For example, if you were 35% responsible and you are seeking $50,000 in compensation, then that amount is lowered by 35%.
Compensation for Damages Caused by Drugged Driving
Having an experienced Texas-licensed personal injury attorney by your side will be highly beneficial for your case as they will have familiarity with Texas personal injury law, including obtaining the fair and full compensation you are owed due to a drugged driving accident.
A skilled attorney can effectively:
- build your case by collecting and analyzing evidence in support of your case against the drugged driver and others that contributed to your damages
- calculate the amount of damages (i.e., medical bills, lost income, how to show and calculate pain and suffering damages which are more complex to prove)
- identify which parties could potentially be liable for covering your injuries to maximize compensation to make you financially whole as though the accident never occurred
- defend against arguments from the other party that you were to blame
- guide you on your compensation options, including existing and additional car insurance plan options
Additional Compensation Options
It is worth discussing options with your attorney regarding adding extra protection to your existing car insurance policy. Note that in Texas, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is automatically included in your car insurance policy. While this insurance is beneficial, you are not required to keep it and can opt out in writing.
PIP covers the following:
- medical expenses (plus continuous and future medical services)
- funeral expenses
- lost income (including future lost wages)
- survivors’ loss benefits
Importantly, note that PIP does not cover:
- vehicle or property damage
- injuries sustained by people outside your car
Additionally, Collision Coverage can be used to cover damages to your personal property, i.e., your car repairs and/or replacement due to a car collision. Furthermore, rental car coverage can reimburse you for the costs of renting a vehicle while you wait for repairs. For more information, see your insurance plan’s Consumer Bill of Rights, which contains details of your coverage.
- Health Insurance Vs. Personal Injury Protection Insurance After a Austin Car Crash
- Can an Austin Driver Be Held Liable for a Crash Caused by a Poorly Maintained Vehicle?
Speak to an Experienced Austin, Texas Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident caused by a drugged driver and are suffering injuries—don’t delay! The skilled and dedicated personal injury Attorneys at the Patel Firm are prepared to stand by your side and help you navigate the complex legal aspects of holding those accountable for your injuries. The best way to get started is to call (361) 400-2036 to schedule a free evaluation where we will discuss your case and the best legal options.