Drunk driving on Texas roads is a big problem that can lead to devastating consequences.
Thousands of Texans drive drunk every year, leading to an incredible amount of harm and suffering to innocent people. Texas drunk driving settlements are an important source of relief for victims of accidents.
If you have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you may wonder about the average settlement that you can recover in Texas.
If you have questions, please contact us today.
Who Pays in a Texas Drunk Driving Settlement?
Texas is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who was at fault is responsible for the results of the accident. Typically, this means that the drunk driver’s insurance pays for your damages.
Texas requires drivers to carry insurance for a minimum of $25,000 for property damage and $30,000 for personal injury per person.
If a driver in Texas fails to get insurance and injures you in a drunk driving accident, you may sue the uninsured driver personally (but you usually won’t be able to collect much from an uninsured driver).
Your own insurance policy probably contains a provision that can pay your expenses in the event that the driver who hurts you does not have insurance.
This is called uninsured/underinsured insurance (UM/UIM) and can be helpful because the uninsured driver who hurt you may not have money to pay.
Texas does not require bars that serve alcohol to carry insurance, but Texas law enables a victim to sue a bar that served alcohol to someone who clearly should not have been served.
What Types of Damages Can You Get in a Drunk Driving Settlement in Texas?
The dollar amount of a Texas drunk driving settlement depends on the particulars of an accident.
On the low end, settlements can be around $10,000 in cases of only property damage or soft tissue injuries. If the injuries are more serious, the award could be much higher.
Also, if the driver’s conduct was extremely irresponsible, a jury might punish the driver by giving the victim or their family a large punitive damages award.
The result can be a settlement in the millions or in the hundreds of thousands.
Settlements reflect several types of compensation, including economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages in a drunk driving settlement in Texas include:
- Car damage – this means damage to the injured party’s vehicle that was sustained during the accident;
- Medical expenses – these include hospital bills, physical therapy, and medications;
- Lost wages – this means wages the injured party has lost being out of work and recovering from their injury; and
- Lost earning capacity – this means that the injured party has been injured in such a way that they have lost the ability in the long term to perform certain functions they need to earn a living.
An easy way to think about economic damages is that they reflect clear sums of money.
For example, there is a knowable dollar amount placed on your medical care because it is what the hospital or physician charges you for their services.
Non-economic damages in a drunk driving settlement in Texas include:
- Mental or emotional distress – this means the psychological stress you felt and continue to feel as a result of the accident;
- Pain and suffering – this means the physical pain and misery you endured as a result of the accident;
- Loss of companionship and loss of consortium – these are the losses experienced by the spouse of someone injured in a Texas drunk driving accident and include the loss of emotional benefits typical of a marriage, loss of someone to help with chores, and loss of intimacy.
Non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages.
You will benefit significantly from having an experienced personal injury attorney help you in this respect so that you can recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Finally, a court in a drunk driving settlement in Texas may choose to assign punitive damages, which are meant to punish the driver and prevent future harmful conduct.
In Texas, punitive damages in a drunk driving settlement in Texas are capped at two times the amount of the economic damages plus an amount the same as the noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Learn More About What Your Case Is Worth
Because the average drunk driving settlement in Texas spans thousands to millions and every case is unique, it helps to have an experienced, award-winning trial lawyer give your case the attention it deserves.