I'll start with a disclaimer: I do not endorse drinking and driving. If you drink and drive, you're committing a serious, reckless and reprehensible offense. If you think you're even slightly tipsy, I urge you not to get behind the wheel.
Generally speaking, in most Fort Worth collisions that were caused by a drunk driver, it will be their insurance that is liable – other individuals injured in the wreck will make a claim against the intoxicated motorist’s auto insurance policy. However, in certain cases it may also be possible for the drunk driver to recover compensation.
Although the vast majority of car wrecks involving a drunk driver are the drunk driver's fault, there are some situations where the intoxicated driver isn't entirely to blame.
An example would be a two car wreck where both drivers were intoxicated. Another example would be a wreck where one driver was intoxicated, but the other driver was texting (or otherwise doing something to contribute to the accident).
Suppose a drunk driver had a green light at an intersection but they were hit broadside by a driver who ran a red light. In these types of cases, it would be a good idea for the intoxicated driver to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help them pursue a claim of proportional negligence. This way, they can still recover some compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
(Not sure if you need a lawyer? Read my article on how to figure it out here).
Claiming Against Your Own Insurance
If you have certain insurance coverage such as uninsured motorist coverage (UM), personal injury protection (PIP), or MedPay, you might be entitled to recover compensation after a drunk driving wreck, even if the wreck was entirely your fault.
In order to file such a claim, I'd again recommend hiring an attorney. Just because you’ve dutifully paid your insurance premiums for years doesn't matter - the insurance company will try to avoid paying you. Making a personal injury claim against your own insurance provider is always tough, especially if you were over the legal intoxication limit when you wrecked.
Dram Shop Claims
Under Texas law, bars and restaurants that have a license to serve alcohol may be held liable if they served alcohol to a patron who was visibly intoxicated.
This is known as the dram shop law and it works like this: if you were visibly and obviously drunk, but the bar's staff continued to serve you drinks, the establishment can be held liable if you leave the bar and wreck. The law is meant to dissuade bartenders from knowingly getting their customers wasted, and it allows drunk drivers to recover some kind of compensation if they're hurt as a result.
It is important to note, however, that you will not necessarily be able to claim full compensation to cover all of your accident-related damages from the negligent business. You will only be able to recover an amount proportional to the liability that a jury assigns to the business.
Free Consultation with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you got into a wreck while intoxicated and you want to know your options, contact the Anderson Law Firm. We'll discuss your situation in detail and determine if making a claim is feasible. Call 817-294-1900.
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