What to Do If You are Hit by a Drunk Driver in Houston

Ryan A Dehoyos Image | Houston Personal Injury Law Firms | DeHoyos Accident Attorneys







$20 M


What to Do If You are Hit by a Drunk Driver in Houston

Any accident injury can be difficult to come to terms with but when your injury was a result of drunk driving, it can be especially tough to bear. Unfortunately, such accidents are on the rise in Houston.

Once your injuries have received the necessary medical attention, thoughts often turn to the topic of compensation.

Anyone hit by an intoxicated driver in Houston may be entitled to several different types of compensation. It is advisable to seek legal representation so that a trained and experienced accident injury attorney can fight for your rights and claim the compensation you are due.

What constitutes drunk driving in Texas?

The official term for DUI in Texas is “driving while intoxicated” or “DWI”. The laws here make it illegal to operate a car, motorcycle, truck, boat, or any other type of motor vehicle in the following situations:

  • With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher
  • When impaired by alcohol or drugs (regardless of BAC)
  • With a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher when operating a commercial vehicle
  • With any detectable amount of alcohol for under-21-year-olds

What damages can drunk-driving accident victims claim?

It is unfortunate when innocent drivers obeying the road rules are seriously injured by people who are not.

Drink-driving accounts for a large proportion of accidents in Houston—and any accident involving a drunk driver has the potential to be catastrophic because of the impaired reactions and high speeds often involved.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, Texas personal injury laws allow for the recovery of the following types of damages:

  • Current and future medical expenses (including emergency expenses, surgery, and long-term care or ongoing rehabilitation if required)
  • Lost wages/earnings
  • Lost earning capacity in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life/quality of life
  • In-home assistance or modifications for disabilities
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement

These are the standard damages that a Texas personal injury lawsuit covers. Additionally, accident victims of impaired drivers can recover punitive damages. These are awarded by a judge to further punish the driver for misconduct and to warn other drivers against making the same choices.

What if you are hit by an uninsured drunk driver?

Generally, damages in car accident injury claims are pursued against the insurance company of the at-fault party.

If the driver who hit you was drunk and had no insurance, you must seek compensation for your injuries through other venues, such as:

  • An uninsured motorist insurance claim: uninsured driver coverage is designed for this eventuality, allowing you to file a compensation claim with your own insurance company.
  • Suing the drunk driver directly: filing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver directly is another option regardless of whether they have insurance. In most cases, however, a driver without insurance is unlikely to have the funds to cover your damages.

Texas dram shop liability

In certain circumstances, victims of drunk driving accident injuries can claim compensation from the establishment that served the driver alcohol.

Under the so-called dram shop laws, a Texas bar, restaurant, liquor store or other establishment selling alcohol can be held liable for the injuries or wrongful death caused by a drunk driver if alcohol was served to:

  • A visibly intoxicated person, who presented a clear danger to himself or herself as well as to others.
  • A minor who caused a drunk driving crash.

A dram shop liability lawsuit can be filed in addition to any other legal claims made by the accident victim or the family of the accident victim.

These laws extend to “social hosts”, who can be held liable if they knowingly provided alcohol to an individual under the age of 18 (other than their child) or allowed the minor to be served alcohol.

How does a criminal DUI case outcome affect a Houston personal injury case?

The civil claim for damages is treated separately from any criminal case involving drunk driving.

In some cases, a conviction for DUI may assist your case but it does not guarantee success because an entirely different court and judge will handle the civil claim. Likewise, an acquittal or criminal case dismissal does not negate or harm your civil claim.

Is a drunk driver always liable?

A drunk driver, even if they are held criminally liable, may not bear the full brunt of liability for a civil claim.

Usually, a drunk driver must bear some of the responsibility for an accident but if other factors were at play in the accident (such as distracted driving by the injured party), liability may need to be shared.

Your accident injury lawyer will advise you on where you stand legally after your accident and help protect your rights.

What if the drunk driver fled the scene?

A drunk driver, knowing that he or she is over the limit, sometimes chooses to leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive.

Just because no arrest was made and no proof was gathered that the driver was drunk, it is still possible to file a drunk-driving accident lawsuit against the liable party. Eyewitness testimony about the smell of alcohol and the reckless actions of the driver may be enough and video evidence can also help.

If you have suffered injuries on the road in the Houston area, contact an experienced accident injury claims attorney at DeHoyos Accident Attorneys, PLLC for a free case evaluation or call (832) 745-4878.



















A personal approach to personal injury in Houston, Texas

“As a client to this Law Firm, I found it to be rewarding base on their work ethics. With there expertise, knowledge, flexibility and being responsive to their client needs. They will see that their client receive the best outcome on there case. There are many people out there that have bad ideas about lawyers, but DeHoyos Accident Attorneys will make sure that you’re not stressed about anything pertaining to your case. I’ll recommend that you seek this Lawyer and Law Firm for any unraveling situation you might face.”


“I can’t say enough good things about DeHoyos Accident Attorneys! Mr. Ryan DeHoyos is extremely knowledgeable in his field of Personal Injury. I was injured in a motor vehicle accident last year and Mr. DeHoyos stopped at nothing to get me the compensation I deserved. He kept me updated on my case regularly and guided me to get the medical care I needed. Additionally, his staff is so kind and caring, especially Ashley… Thank you, DeHoyos Accident Attorneys for your professionalism in closing my case…and WINNING big!”


Get a Free Consultation