The fact that there are drunk drivers out there on the roads is something you probably have always kept in the back of your mind – but the reality of the problem can be brought into sharp focus when one suddenly crashes into you.
If you’re lucky, your injuries and the loss of property will be relatively minor. If they’re not, you may have to look carefully at your legal options for recovery. Here are some potential options:
1. The drunk driver who hit you
The drunk driver should have liability insurance that will pay for your injuries and other losses. However, Texas only requires a minimum coverage of $30,000 per person, up to $60,000 per claim and $25,000 for property damage. If the drunk driver has this “30/60/25” coverage, those funds could easily be wiped out by a single hospital visit.
If the driver has other assets, however, like a home or business, you may be able to pursue additional compensation through a lawsuit.
2. The owner of the vehicle the driver was using
Was the drunk driver who hit you using someone else’s vehicle with their full knowledge and consent? Normally, they wouldn’t be liable for the driver’s wreck – but there are some notable exceptions.
If the drunk driver was using a company vehicle on company time, vicarious liability could attach to their employer, who may have much deeper pockets. Vicarious liability could also attach to a private owner if they knew the drunk driver’s habits and knew they were reckless before they entrusted them with a vehicle.
3. The restaurant or bar that overserved the drunk driver
Dram shop laws require those who serve alcohol to keep an eye on their patrons. They’re expected to cut off a patron that seems inebriated. If a restaurant or bar “over served” the driver before they got on the road, that business may be liable for your losses.
If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, it’s wise to explore all your options for recovery.