Naturally, drunk driving accidents put a personal injury case in a whole new light. In Texas, drunk and intoxicated driving makes up about 40% of all accident related deaths. That is a “sobering” fact. This statistic not only includes persons operating cars and other motor vehicles, but also includes pedestrians and bicyclists who were under the influence. Under Texas law, a person in considered “intoxicated” when their blood alcohol level reaches .08 or higher. If the driver involved in an accident is suspected of being drunk, the police officer will note that fact in the accident report. Additionally, the suspected drunk driver will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer or otherwise give a blood specimen for testing. If the driver is rendered incapacitated at the accident scene, many times the hospital or emergency room personnel will administer a complete toxicology testing. The toxicology report will provide not only the driver’s blood alcohol levels, but will also detect the existence of any other drugs or substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines.
Even if the driver of a motor vehicle consumed alcohol but is not legally intoxicated, the police officer may still note whether or not the driver was “under the influence” of alcohol. Being “under the influence” means that, although your blood alcohol level is less than .08, your ability to operate a motor vehicle is still impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. If the officer believes that a driver was under the influence of alcohol, the officer will note that as a factor contributing to the accident.
If you were the victim of a drunk driver, then you may be able to demand a greater settlement amount just because jurors are generally willing to make higher awards than if the driver was not intoxicated. Insurance companies know this. As such, you can also count on the insurance companies defending these cases more vigorously in hopes of compelling you to take a settlement rather than going to trial. It is this reason that makes it even more important to hire an experienced lawyer to pursue your rights in the event you are the victim of an accident caused by a drunk or intoxicated driver.