There are two areas of law in our legal system — civil law and criminal law. Civil law and criminal law are controlled by different sets of courts, but there the two areas can share a lot of similarities. Sometimes, a case may be handled in both civil and criminal courts. One example is an accident involving drunk driving.
Drunk Driving in Texas
Drunk driving (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas is a criminal violation. Factors taken into consideration include whether or not anyone was injured in the collision. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving drunk driving, the drunk driver will almost certainly be charged with the criminal offense of Driving While Intoxicated. This can involve prosecution by the court for the crime of DWI. While the court may punish the driver for the offense, they are punishing him for the offense against the law, not the offense against you.
If you’ve been injured due to a drunk driver, you have the right to file civil charges for restitution due you. Reasons you might file civil charges include:
- Reimbursement of medical bills for injuries related to the accident
- Loss of income
- Permanent disability
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Pain and suffering
When filing a civil lawsuit, the claim is usually filed against the drunk driver’s automobile insurance company. To be successful in your case, you and your attorney must prove that the driver was negligent. In order to do this, police reports and witness statements from the criminal trial are important to solidify your case. But the timing of filing a case is important: The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove your case. You can file a civil suit even if a criminal trial is still ongoing.
If you or a loved one has injured by a drunk driver, call the Law Office of W.T. Johnson at (214) 231-0544.