During the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year, holiday festivities abound. From family gatherings, office parties, and reunions with old friends that are home for the holidays, this time of year is filled with celebrations that often involve cookies, gift-giving – and alcohol. As a result, there are often more drunk drivers on the roads throughout Texas during the holiday season, despite increased enforcement efforts by local and state law enforcement agencies.
Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Are Typically Entitled to Compensation under Texas Law
If you are injured in an accident with a drunk driver, there is at least some good news: there is a very strong chance that you will be entitled to compensation under Texas law. Under a legal doctrine known as negligence per se, a person who violates a law designed to protect the public safety and causes the type of harm that the law was designed to protect against is considered negligent as a matter of law – and therefore liable for the harms he or she caused. Because DUI laws are designed to protect us from accidents, drunk drivers are almost invariably liable for any injuries they cause.
How to Reduce Your Chances of Involvement in a Drunk Driving Accident this Holiday Season
Fortunately, there are certain steps that you can take to minimize your risk of a drunk driving injuring you. These include the following:
Avoiding driving at night, especially around the time that bars and restaurants are closing.
If you see a driver behaving erratically, give him or her plenty of space. Also, don’t hesitate to call your local police department if you think the driver is a danger to himself or others.
Don’t be part of the problem yourself. If you plan to drink, make alternative arrangements to get home. Even a couple drinks can impair your reaction time and judgment.
Never get in the car without someone that you know has been drinking, even if you think he or she seems “fine.”
Protecting Your Rights After an Accident with a Drunk Driver
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver this holiday season, there are certain steps that you can take to maximize the chances that you will be able to recover compensation. These include the following:
If you suspect the driver is drunk, call the police. It’s important to get drunk drivers off of the road, and if the driver is convicted of DUI, it can make your case much simpler.
Undergo a thorough medical evaluation, even if you do not think that you are seriously hurt. It’s important to have documentation of your injuries to submit to the insurance company.
Keep a detailed journal about the way in which your injuries are affecting you. Note things like pain, trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, missing out on events with friends and family, and feelings of depression or anxiety.
Call an attorney as soon as you can.