Our Houston DUI Attorneys Can Help You
If you are injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you should know that your claim will be evaluated differently by the drunk’s insurance company than if they were not intoxicated. You have more leverage with the drunk driver’s insurance company to force a fair settlement. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyer to force them to do the right thing.
If you live in Houston, almost every morning, on any news station you see
BREAKING NEWS of yet another drunk driving accident:
- Late night and early morning fiery, tragic, serious accidents
- Wrong way drivers causing head on collisions
- People racing on the interstate after a night of drinking
…and the news story always ends with a reporter standing outside a hospital emergency room.
What Is The Fallout From Drunk Driving Accidents?
Innocent law-abiding people are injured, often seriously by Houston drunk drivers.
If you or a family member are one of these unfortunate people, here is some advice from Michael Fleming.
FIRST, if you are in the hospital AND someone you do not know solicits you and says they know a good lawyer…
DO NOT SPEAK TO THEM.
This is illegal in Texas.
Any lawyer who does this to get your case is unprofessional, inexperienced and usually the worst representation you can find.
SECOND, follow your doctor’s orders for treatment and don’t stop treating until you are feeling 100%.
THIRD, contact a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial lawyer. Michael Fleming has handled many of these cases.
It is important to act quickly, unlike other car accidents, drunk driving cases often settle quickly because insurance companies KNOW:
- Their insured party is guilty and
- They caused your injuries.
AND THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT!
- 1 Our Houston DUI Attorneys Can Help You
- 2 What Is The Fallout From Drunk Driving Accidents?
- 3 If you were injured by a drunk driver act now!
- 4 What Should You Do If You Are Hit By a Drunk Driver?
- 5 How do I know if I should file a Drunk Driving Accident Injury claim?
- 6 Understanding Impaired Driving in Texas
- 7 How Long Do We Have To Bring a Claim If You Are Hit By a Drunk Driver?
- 8 Types Of Drunk Driving Accident Cases In Houston
- 9 Drunk Driving Accidents Are a Growing Problem In Houston
- 10 Reports Show Drunk Driving Is a Serious Problem In Houston
- 11 Texas Has Some of the Worst Drivers
- 12 Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- 13 Protect your loved ones from drunk driving collisions
- 14 A drunk ran into us in Houston. What are our rights?
- 15 DWI Accident Perpetrators Face Unlimited Damages
- 16 What Our DUI Injury Attorneys Will Do For You
- 17 We will investigate.
- 18 We will listen to you.
- 19 We will advocate on your behalf.
- 20 What sets us apart
- 21 DWI Motorcycle Accidents
- 22 Is Buzzed Driving The Same as Drunk Driving?
- 23 Resources For Drunk Driving Accident Victims
- 24 If you've been injured by a drunk driver get the help you need!
Drunk driving accidents are a serious problem every day in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area. Almost every night there is another intoxication manslaughter caused by an impaired driver.
At times, DUI drivers may be so drunk that they drive the wrong way on the freeway and cause a head-on collision.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a person drunk driving, you need the former Harris County Attorney fighting for you as you are entitled to sue a drunk driver that hit you.
Car accidents caused by somebody driving over the limit result in catastrophic injuries and entitle the victims to seek damages from the drunk driver and his insurance carrier.
What Should You Do If You Are Hit By a Drunk Driver?
After a drunk driving DUI accident, we understand that your first priority will be to recover from the accident so that you can live a full quality life again.
While we want you to have a full and speedy recovery, we know that drunk drivers often cause worse auto accidents because of their erratic driving — meaning more pain and suffering for you.
If you find yourself the victim of drunk driver, or if a family member calls you from the scene, make sure you do the following:
- Call the police. It is important that the Houston police or the Harris County Sheriff come to the accident scene. That way, they can evaluate the other driver for intoxication and take them to jail if they are over the legal limit. This is important not just because they should be punished for hitting you – you need to make sure that they don’t leave the scene and injure or kill another person that night.
- Call an ambulance. If you are hurting, you need to be evaluated by EMS and taken to the hospital if necessary.
- Video the other driver. If you can safely record video of the other driver while you are holding your phone – either while you are getting his information or if he is falling down – do it. Ask if you can video while he gives you his name and insurance information.
- Take photos. Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, the other driver’s insurance information and driver’s license and the license plate of the other car.
- Don’t deal with the insurance company without a lawyer. Injury cases involving a drunk driver are more serious than a regular car accident case. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim.
The insurance company knows that victims can seek additional damages such as punitive damages. They will try to settle your case quickly before you hire a DUI drunk driver accident lawyer. They will do this to save money by paying you far less than you are entitled to receive.
Be smart, call the police, seek medical car and find a Houston DUI injury lawyer.
Once you physically recover from your auto accident, you may be unsure of what to do and overwhelmed by the entire affair.
You never thought this would happen to you; you are a careful driver and you were not at fault. Yet your car may have been totaled, your health care bills are mounting, and you may have trauma from the accident.
The accident was traumatic and you may be overwhelmed with flashes of memory about what happened.
We have successfully helped victims of drunk driving accidents in the Houston, Texas area for many years. We will continue to seek justice from those who cause needless injuries.
We also represent family members whose loved one has been killed in a drunk driving accident.
We are here to aggressively and efficiently represent you or your family members in your time of need.
Understanding Impaired Driving in Texas
According to the National Safety Council, someone in Texas is either killed or injured by a DUI accident every 29 minutes. Approximately 1,099 motor vehicle fatalities that occurred within the state during 2012 were attributable to a DUI offense. This total indicates that approximately 32.3 percent of the state’s motor vehicle fatalities involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. In addition, statistics show that 39 percent of the work-related crashes reported are attributable to alcohol.
Even though the state’s legal driving limit is .08 percent, motorists with lower blood alcohol content levels may still be impaired while operating their vehicle. This type of driving is often referred to as “buzzed driving.” Even if the driver’s blood alcohol content level is below the legal limit, an officer can still make an arrest if the driver is noticeably impaired. The NSC claims that among the fatally injured drivers who were tested for alcohol, 49.6 percent of them registered a blood alcohol content level of at least .08 percent.
Consuming drugs, alcohol and medication may affect a driver’s depth perception, judgment, reaction time and coordination and causes car accidents. Research conducted by George Washington University Medical Center indicates that the average Texas business with at least 100 employees most likely has 22 workers with a drinking problem. In addition, 31 workers and dependents may be adversely affected by the jail, arrest, depression or other issues that are associated with impaired driving and alcohol abuse.
People who are accused of impaired or drunk driving may benefit from consulting a criminal defense lawyer before answering anyone’s questions. Legal counsel may be equipped to help protect the defendant’s right to employment and privacy from overzealous investigators. Lawyers might obtain a dismissal, acquittal or reduced charges for drunk driving accidents by challenging the legality of the arrest, sobriety test or toxicology exam administered.
How Long Do We Have To Bring a Claim If You Are Hit By a Drunk Driver?
In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years, so time is limited for you to seek compensation.
Even though you may not want to confront the facts of the case, a clock is ticking.
Meanwhile, while you recover from your serious injuries, the drunk driver’s insurance company is putting together a defense strategy to undermine your claim or minimize your damages.
The drunk may not remember what happened because of intoxication and may be coached by the insurer’s attorney on a defense.
The insurance company is not resting; they’re building that case and they want to keep their costs down, which can mean trying to discredit your case. They may even contact you to try to get your victim statement, hoping that you will be distracted, confused and not recall the facts of the case.
Yet you know that the driver was drunk, as do other witnesses to the scene such as first responders or citizen witnesses or bartenders and servers at the bar where the driver got drunk.
A drunk driver accident injury lawyer that specializes in car accidents and DWI cases can help you by serving as an intermediary between you and the insurer.
Board certified drunk driving accident injury lawyers can help you sue for personal injury, hold the other party responsible for his actions and provide you with justice, financial compensation to pay for your care, and a sense of closure over the accident.
We represent family members in wrongful death cases where the drunk driver causes a fatality in the crash.
Our lawyers are experts at negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, so you don’t have to talk to insurance personnel about the stress of the accident. You can focus on regaining your life back.
The other driver made the decision to drive that ultimately lead to your injuries.
Furthermore, someone else may have been able to stop that person from getting behind the wheel by pleading with them not to drive or taking away their keys, and failed to do so.
We will sue any liable parties such as a Houston club or bar on your behalf, to hold them financially accountable as well as legally accountable for their crimes.
Types Of Drunk Driving Accident Cases In Houston
Drunk driving cases cover a broad spectrum. You may think that a DWI lawsuit does not apply to your case, but there are many types of DWI lawsuits that don’t resemble the traditional “drunk driver” format.
You may have been hit by a driver that was high on cocaine, marijuana, crack, crystal meth, prescription pills or other drugs. This driver may not have been “drunk”, but you are entitled to sue drivers who were high on drugs at the time of a crash under DWI or DUI laws. Drugged drivers are intoxicated drivers.
You may have been injured while you were on a motorcycle, bicycle, scooter or even on foot. Again, you have the right to retain car accident lawyers to sue for your injuries.
Studies have shown that driving mildly buzzed with a small amount of alcohol in your system can also increase your risk of causing an accident.
Drunk Driving Accidents Are a Growing Problem In Houston
An experienced Houston DUI injury attorney can sue for the maximum amount of liability, so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
We have successfully represented many victims of car accidents and we specialize in DWI accidents.
Often the money can help pay for your medical expenses and allow you to support yourself while fully healing. The financial impact of lost wages and mounting medical bills is often overwhelming for DWI car accident victims.
Compensation will improve your quality of life.
If you have the misfortune to be hit by a drunk driver, it’s your right to hold the individual accountable for his crimes and to receive financial compensation and a sense of closure that can bring you closer to peace of mind.
During this time of need, having the very best in personal injury attorneys on your side can make all the difference in your trial.
We have a track record of successfully obtaining compensation for the victim and holding the guilty party legally accountable for his actions.
Reports Show Drunk Driving Is a Serious Problem In Houston
Texas Has Some of the Worst Drivers
Some of the worst drivers in the country can be found in Texas, according to a recent report. The study, conducted by Car Insurance Comparison, found that Texas has the fourth worst drivers in the United States. One of the primary factors contributing to this poor rating is the frequency of drunk driving in the state – especially in Houston. Overall, Texas ranked 47th in the nation in terms of drunk driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the problem is particularly severe in Harris County, which it has dubbed the “drunk-driving capital,” as a result of the high number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers. MADD reported that 175 people lost their lives in Harris County due to a drunk driving car accident in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit in 2012.
Across the state, drunk driving is responsible for a larger percentage of deaths than the nation on average. In 2012, 1,296 people died in drunk driving collisions in Texas – accounting for 38 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In the United States as a whole, over 10,000 people were killed in such collisions in 2010 – accounting for 31 percent of all traffic deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Protect your loved ones from drunk driving collisions
While you cannot control the behavior of others on the road, there are a few steps concerned individuals can take to protect their loved ones from DUI drunk driving accidents. For instance, never agree to get into a vehicle with an individual who has been consuming alcohol.
It is a good idea for parents to speak to their teenagers about this important rule, as teens tend to have slightly skewed ideas regarding what constitutes a designated driver. According to a recent study conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance, teenagers often believe the most sober person in their group of friends is capable of acting as a designated driver. It is important for parents to stress to their teens that only an individual who has refrained from drinking should act as a designated driver.
Teenagers and students now have a safe, reliable and convenient option which is ride sharing. No matter what time it is, requesting a ride using Uber or Lyft is easy and a lot safer than getting in a car driven by a friend who has been drinking.
DWI Accident Perpetrators Face Unlimited Damages
Recently, news outlets reported that an illegal alien was being prosecuted for intoxicated assault for causing an accident while driving while intoxicated. Aside from the immigration issue, this case highlights not only the criminal ramifications of drunk driving but also the civil implications. While awards of punitive damages were limited in Texas last decade, certain conduct does not fall within those limitations. One such example includes injuries cased in DWI accidents amounting to intoxication assault under the Texas Penal Code whether in a boat or car.
When a drunk driver causes serious bodily injury their conduct subjects him to unlimited punitive damages in a civil action brought by the victims. Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyers often seek exemplary damages.
What Our DUI Injury Attorneys Will Do For You
At the Houston Michael P. Fleming & Associates law firm, a DWI injury lawyer can help you seek civil damages, including punitive damages, against a drunk driver.
We will investigate.
- We will find out how the accident happened and seek to discover the extent of the drunk’s intoxication.
- We will check the defendant’s prior criminal record to see if they are repeat offenders with a past record of drunk driving and/or drunk driving accidents.
- We will obtain the accident report and monitor the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator.
- Our law firm will talk to witnesses, examine police reports, and gather evidence of the criminal charges and administrative hearing.
- If there is another person or business responsible other than the driver, we will investigate their liability for allowing the person to drive, providing the alcohol, employing the driver and other possible areas of legal responsibility.
We will listen to you.
- We want to know all the circumstances of the accident and how your injuries have affected you.
- If a family member was in a fatal DWI accident, we want to know how the wrongful death affected you and your family.
We will advocate on your behalf.
- Insurance companies aggressively handle DWI accident cases and seek to settle the claims for less than what the victims are entitled to receive.
- Many times, insurance companies have been providing coverage to repeat offenders that should never been allowed back on the road.
- Our drunk driving accident attorneys will deal with the insurance company on your behalf and fight for the rights of the victims in the courtroom.
- If punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are warranted in your case, we will pursue the maximum amount allowed by law.
What sets us apart
A rare and proud honor among attorneys, Michael Fleming argued and won a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
As an assistant county attorney – and later as the elected Harris County Attorney, Mr. Fleming’s office served as the legal counsel for all county law enforcement agencies. These agencies include the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, all Harris County constables departments and county judges.
Mr. Fleming has personally served as the attorney for several elected Harris County sheriffs and constables and has represented individual officers in numerous lawsuits.
Michael P. Fleming will use his extensive experience as a law enforcement attorney and elected official to aggressively pursue all the damages to you or your loved one.
The drunk driver who caused the accident will likely have an insurance company defending their wrongful conduct in an attempt to reduce the amount of damages that you are entitled to receive.
Hiring an experienced lawyer such as Michael P. Fleming is necessary to protect your right to fair compensation and punish the criminal wrongdoer who caused your injuries.
Drunk driving accidents can cause terrible internal injuries and wrongful death.
The person responsible — the driver who chose to drink and drive — should be held financially accountable as well as criminally accountable.
In many cases, the owner of the car that allowed the drunk to drive the car can and should be held responsible for putting the keys in his hand. This is known as negligent entrustment.
If you or a family member has been the victim of a drunk driver, talk to a DWI accident injury lawyer. It is important for you to contact qualified lawyers immediately after an accident to make sure evidence is preserved and your rights are protected.
DWI Motorcycle Accidents
Earlier this year a rookie deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department was killed when she was ejected from a motorcycle. The deputy was apparently riding as a passenger when the operator struck a curb sending the motorcycle airborne and ejecting her. The DWI motorcycle operator was later found to have a blood alcohol concentration level of .168 and has now been charged with felony intoxication manslaughter.
Lately we’ve been writing about the instability of the motorcycle apparatus in comparison to a standard vehicle in emergency situations. Motorcycles require skillful operators to manipulate the machine in ordinary conditions and even more skill to swerve or brake safely to avoid collisions. Operating a motorcycle while intoxicated not only impairs the driver’s reaction time, it inhibits his handling skill. In the case of the young deputy, it appears her driver was operating the motorcycle while impaired and, as a consequence, lost control of the motorcycle and the deputy lost her life.
If motorcycle accidents occur because of operator negligence, harmed parties include the person killed in the accident itself, as well as a family member who survives the victim. In the case of death due to negligence, harmed parties may be entitled to bring lawsuits for wrongful death or a survival cause of action. A wrongful-death cause of action is one for damages as a result of the loss of a child or spouse or parent, and includes damages for economic losses such as funeral expenses or loss of inheritance, and possibly punitive damages. Parties who are entitled to sue for wrongful-death may also seek compensation for losing the value of the personal guidance they received from their loved one, and compensation for mental anguish and loss of companionship.
A survival cause of action is a right in the victim’s heirs, legal representatives and estate to seek recovery for personal injury of the victim. Damages recoverable in a survival cause of action include pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages. Usually, punitive damages are capped in Texas. However, no maximum limits apply in causes of action against defendants based conduct such as intoxication manslaughter.
Driving any vehicle while intoxicated is never a good idea.
Is Buzzed Driving The Same as Drunk Driving?
Texas has a blood alcohol content limit of .08 percent. This means that a person is considered to be too intoxicated to drive if his or her blood alcohol content is .08 or higher and these people are more likely to cause a DWI accident. Every state adopted this limit by 2004, when the federal government announced that states with higher BAC limits would forfeit their federal highway construction funding. Now, The National Transportation Safety Board is encouraging states to drop their limits even further – to .05 percent.
The lower BAC recommendation is controversial, as many drivers hit the .05 level after only one or two drinks. Studies show, however, that drivers greatly increase their risks of causing car accidents after consuming a minimal amount of alcohol.
One recent study, which has been published by the British Medical Journal, involved an analysis of crash data dating from 1994 to 2011. The researchers focused their work on accidents that involved drivers who had consumed alcohol, but who were within the legally acceptable BAC range.
The researchers found that drivers whose BAC measured at only .01 percent were 46 percent more likely to be deemed responsible for car accidents. The researchers concluded that “buzzed” and even “minimally buzzed” drivers cause many serious car accidents – far more so than sober drivers.
The study noted that “buzzed” drivers are not likely to face criminal consequences after causing crashes.
The lead sociologist on the study, David Phillips, explained, “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving – no point at which it is harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.” He went on to say that the data supports decreasing the BAC even lower than .05 percent.
Time will tell whether Texas will heed the calls of the NTSB and this study. For now, victims of drunk or buzzed drivers need to be aware that they may have the right to hold the drivers accountable and obtain compensation for their injuries. It can be beneficial to seek legal counsel in the aftermath of a drunk driving car accident to learn about one’s rights.
Resources For Drunk Driving Accident Victims
These government and non-profit resources can help those who have been injured in a wreck with a drunk driver – even if there is no insurance coverage:
- Victim/Witness Division of the Harris County District Attorney
- State of Texas Crime Victim Compensation Program
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) of Southeast Texas
When the legal matter you are facing is important, make sure you have experienced personal injury litigation lawyers who have the time to discuss your situation with you, explain your options, and represent you. Click here for directions.
Contact The Injury Litigation Attorneys At The Michael P. Fleming & Associates Law Firm.