Drunk drivers cause considerable damage on Texas roads. According to Department of Transportation statistics, over 1,000 people in Texas were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2017. Tens of thousands of other people are seriously injured by drunk drivers every year.
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you are probably wondering what compensation you can receive. Read on for more information.
If you were hit by a drunk driver, settlement negotiations will focus mostly on compensatory damages. These are the losses that you suffered as a result of the drunk driving crash.
The purpose of civil lawsuits is to put the victim in the position she would have been in had no accident took place. In other words, the drunk driver should shoulder the fallout of the accident, not the victim. To this end, you can receive compensation for economic losses, such as:
- The cost of medical care and rehabilitation
- Lost wages or lost self-employment income
- Property damage, such as damage to your vehicle
The settlement should ideally cover the entire economic loss. If your medical bills and lost wages total $30,000, then you should receive at least that much.
However, you can also receive compensation for non-economic losses that don’t have an obvious market value; things like:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
How much can you receive in non-economic losses? There is no set standard or magic formula to use. A seasoned attorney can rely on his experience to estimate an amount that seems fair. Obviously, you would like your old body back, but receiving compensation for physical and mental anguish is the next best thing. And it’s the only thing courts can give you.
In Texas, punitive damages are called “exemplary” damages. These are not meant to compensate a victim but instead focus on punishing the defendant. Exemplary damages are available when there is clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Drunk driving usually qualifies as an example of gross negligence.
However, an insurance company will not offer punitive damages in a settlement, so suing a drunk driver might be your only option. An attorney can help you bring a lawsuit in court. Texas does cap punitive damages, usually between $200,000 and $750,000.
Speak with an Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer
As a leading Houston personal injury firm, we receive questions from the public, one of which is, “A drunk driver hit me, what happens now?” Because every case is different, you should hire an attorney to help you.
At Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we have worked on many drunk driving cases and know what it takes to win. We will do everything in our power to get the maximum settlement you are entitled to under the law, and we aren’t afraid to go into court if need be.