Houston has a large population of over 2 million and a severe problem with alcohol-related accidents. In Texas, 13,138 people died in drunk driving accidents from 2003 through 2012, while many others are seriously injured on a daily basis.
Criminal and Civil Charges. A drunk driver in Houston Texas will be charged in criminal court for the DUI and in civil court for a wrongful death claim. Criminal charges will require the prosecuting counsel to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it is proven that driver was drunk at the time of the accident, the civil claim is strengthened based on the weight of the evidence proving negligence. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code @ 71.002(b) establishing liability for damages arising from another individual’s death caused by a person’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default is necessary in a wrongful death action that can be filed by a surviving spouse, a child (even those over the age of 18) or a parent of the person who died.
Successful outcome for Wrongful Death Claim Depends on.
Action taken immediately following accident. 1) ensure safety for yourself and others, attend to medical needs, and call 911 to ensure the other driver in their intoxicated state does not get back on the roadway and hurt someone else; 2) collect driver and vehicle information, including name, insurance carrier, license plate number and make and model of car; 3) collect names of witnesses and identify building or traffic cameras that may have recorded the accident; 4) take pictures of damage, crash area and road conditions as they will be evidence to support your case; 5) file a police report, get a copy to take with you after the accident; and 6) observe the actions of the other driver, officers will decide if they need to conduct field sobriety testing, pay attention to who stepped out of the driver’s seat of the car and if passengers are trying to discard any evidence of drinking such as bottles or cans.
Identify damages. Damages relating to your personal injury or wrongful death case may involve medical expenses, property damage, lost wages/income, emotional distress, loss of companionship, physical therapy costs, vocational rehabilitation, long-term disability, punitive damages and other damages.
Hire legal counsel. Seek out an attorney who can provide you with legal expertise to develop a solid case against the drunk driver proving their negligent act caused the wrongful death. A Texas personal injury attorney will work hard as a liaison between medical professionals, auto repair personnel, police officers and criminal attorneys who handle the State’s case for DUI, along with providing professional interactions with the insurance company and actuaries to guide in formulating a financial award. Seek out an initial consultation with a legal expert specializing in drunk driving related accidents such as Reich & Binstock to move forward with a wrongful death action related to drunk driving.
Reich & Binstock, Attorneys at Law
4265 San Felipe, Suite 1000
Houston, TX 77027
Toll Free: 877-643-3099