What Happens If a Drunk Driver Hits You in Dallas, Texas?
When a drunk driver hits you in Dallas, Texas, it can seem like the laws are intended to protect the criminal defendant. The criminal defendant’s rights are protected by both the U.S. Constitution and Texas criminal laws. The car accident victim can sometimes feel like their rights aren’t nearly as important as the drunk driver who caused the incident.
What Are Your Rights When a Dallas Drunk Driver hits you?
Even a DWI conviction does not necessarily bring financial relief for the accident victim. In these cases, restitution isn’t usually enough to cover essential bills associated with the car accident. The drunk driver often does not have the resources to provide payment out of pocket. However, there are additional courses for recovering damages and seeking justice against the drunk driver who caused the Dallas car accident.
Are You Entitled to Punitive Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?
When you are injured in a Dallas car accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to punitive damages even if the drunk driver who caused the accident is not convicted. If you can prove impairment, you have the opportunity to seek punitive damages for gross negligence on the part of the drunk driver. Punitive damages are available to punish defendants and deter future dangerous behavior. In some cases, punitive damages may be greater than economic damages (i.e., medical bills, disabilities, lost wages, pain, and suffering). Thus, punitive damages can be essential for the injured party’s financial security after a car accident.
Drunk Driving Accidents: Criminal vs. Civil Cases
A drunk driver may not be convicted in criminal court, but this doesn’t mean the driver is innocent. In some cases, the prosecutor failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver caused the crash because they were impaired. (Reasonable doubt is a high standard and applies only to criminal cases). In other cases, the drunk driver may have left the scene of the accident, and by the time the driver was apprehended, he sobered up. Regardless of how criminal charges turn out, injured parties can prove impairment in their civil case. In a civil case, injured parties only need to prove that the other driver was drunk and that they caused the collision “with a preponderance of evidence.” A preponderance of evidence means the evidence shows it was more likely than not. Since the evidence standard is less stringent for civil cases, it may be sufficient to hold a driver civilly responsible even if the same evidence was not strong enough to criminally convict the driver of DWI.
If you need to file a personal injury claim because you were injured by a drunk driver, you can turn to Hudson Law Firm for experienced and knowledgeable Carrollton car accident attorneys. We put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.