Resources for Victims of Drunk Driver Accidents in Houston and Texas
If you have been injured – or a loved one killed – by a drunk driver, there are various resources available to help you seek compensation and recover from your losses. Some are private, some are funded through the government and include the following:
1. Texas Crime Victim Compensation Fund. Funded by court costs collected from convicted offenders, this state-supported funds helps people who are victims of violent crime. Violent crime victims include those injured or killed in drunk driving related offenses such as:
- Failure to stop and render aid. Drunk Drivers often attempt to flee the scene of an accident to avoid arrest for DWI. If you are a victim of such a criminal driver, you may be eligible for compensation.
- DWI, Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter. Intoxication assault can be alleged when a drunk driver causes injuries in an accident and intoxication manslaughter is the crime that occurs when a drunk driver causes an accident that results in the death of an innocent person.
What Compensation can be awarded from the Crime Victim Compensation Fund?
Currently, the state provides the following awards of compensation up to a maximum of $50,000.00:
- medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care
- psychiatric care or counseling
- loss of wages due to medical treatment or participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes
- care of a child or a dependent
- loss of support
- funeral and burial expenses
- crime scene clean-up
- replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation
- attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims’ Compensation application and in obtaining benefits
- loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment
- one-time relocation expenses for family violence, human trafficking, and stalking victims or for those sexual assault victims attacked in their own residence
In the case of applications involving extraordinary pecuniary losses resulting in a total and permanent disability, the victim may be eligible for additional benefits for:
- making a home or car accessible
- job training and vocational rehabilitation
- training in the use of special appliances
- home health care
- reimbursement of loss of wages
2. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (“MADD”). The incredible organization of MADD offers personal assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can assist with emotional support, attend court, assist with preparing victim impact statements and set up group therapy.
3. District Attorney Crime Victims Division. In Harris and many other counties in Texas, the local district attorney’s office has a special office to assist victims of all crime not only deal with the court system in appearing as a witness for the prosecution of the drunk driver but also to seek compensation from the crime victims fund. Furthermore, you can discuss with the assistant district attorney assigned to you case about he possibility of forcing the defendant to make restitution – pay you for the out of pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the DWI accident. These expenses could be damage to your car or medical expenses caused by the accident.
4. Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers. If you are injured by a drunk driver in a DWI-caused accident and the perpetrator has insurance, you can and should seek compensation from their insurance. The law in Texas also allows you to seek punitive damages from the drunk without any statutory limitation. To do this, find a qualified board certified lawyer to handle your case from the start.
Michael P. Fleming is board certified as a specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call him today if you have any questions about resources available to drunk driving accident victims.